Paul "Bono" Hewson's mother died when he was 14 after suffering a brain aneurysm at her own father's funeral. This driving tune finds a young, angry Bono wrestling with the death of his two close family members. "My mother died that year, so did my grandad," he writes in the album booklet. "After grief comes rage…the molten lava that turns to rock if it can... this kind of fire in the belly cannot sustain. If you're lucky, it burns out before it burns you out."
The song follows another track on Songs of Innocence about Bono's loss of his mother, "Iris (Hold Me Close)."
When The Observer asked Larry Mullen if he remembers the teenage Bono as the cannonball of fury and grief portrayed in this song Volcano, the U2 drummer instantly replied: "That's the guy I know now."