All I Want To Do Is Rock

Album: Good Feeling (1996)

Songfacts®:

  • This upbeat rock number is the debut single from Scottish alt-rock band Travis. According to lead singer Fran Healy, the song's inspiration came from Niko Bolas, a producer who showed up to one of their gigs in Scotland and tore them to pieces for their lackluster performance. Yet Bolas, who produced records for Neil Young and Keith Richards, saw potential in the band and agreed to help them make a demo. His advice transformed Healy's approach to songwriting.

    "He kept talking about AC/DC and this idea of rocking - what it is to rock, to nail someone to the back wall with the kick drum, and don't get fancy, just keep it simple," Healy told Jaxsta in 2020. "I carried that whole mantra out of the studio. And that's where 'All I Want To Do Is Rock' [originated], based on this thing he was trying to teach us, trying to keep it simple. And it was like, this is what I want to do, I want to be in a band, I want to take it to the top, I want to go all the way. And this idea of rocking, it's a metaphor for that."
  • The romantic angle was inspired by Healy's frustrating love life - or lack thereof - with a girl who was never around. "It's about my ex-girlfriend. She was working, doing her A-levels at college. And as soon as she got a bit of time off, she went and got this fucking job at a hospice. I never got to see her. I was like, 'COME ON, I WANNA...' So, all I wanna do is rock? All I wanna do is f--k," he recalled on the band's website. "As time goes by, the meaning's changed, but even then, it was about far more than shagging. It's about so many things now. All I wanna do is be with these three guys, in this van. 'Rock' being the word that rhymes with 'sock.' It could be anything - all I wanna do is crochet. All I wanna do is be an athlete. All I wanna do is feel passionate about something. All I wanna do is smoke."
  • While Bolas' advice was integral to the then-unsigned band, he didn't go on to produce their debut album, Good Feeling. Once they landed a record deal with Andy MacDonald, founder of Independiente Records, Travis hooked up with Steve Lillywhite, the producer behind U2's first three albums.
  • In the music video, Travis performs this in the middle of the street, stopping a pretty girl who isn't able to drive around them. Soon, traffic builds up and people emerge from their vehicles to hear the band. Eventually, the girl is fed up with the whole ordeal and drives away. But not before a somewhat anti-climactic excursion with a fire hydrant. "With the hydrant, we were all waiting for this enormous explosion, and it was like an elephant having a piss," Healy recalled. "We thought, 'So that was the great orgasmic climax?!' After that, she f--ks off. And then I have a cigarette. Story of my life."
  • This was used in the 2008 movie Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

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