Insult and an Elbow

Album: Black Sheep (2015)
Play Video


  • The first track on Yonder Mountain String Band's Black Sheep album, "Insult and an Elbow" has lyrics composed by their lead singer, Ben Kaufmann. The song is based on his younger years when he did a lot of ill-advised smoking and drinking, but finds him ready to move on to a new phase in his life. The title came to him one day, and eventually he hashed out an autobiographical song around it where he sings about getting "stoned as rock and roll." As we've learned from many famous songs, getting "stoned" had many interpretations.
  • When we spoke with YMSB banjo player Dave Johnston, he explained that he has his own interpretation of this song. "I think it's about a guy who is trying to apply some real world escapism to his particular surroundings," he said. "For me, that feels like the theme - the guy wants to get as stoned as he imagines his rock n' roll idols get. He wants to be out of it, and not dealing with the real world."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

The Evolution of "Ophelia"

The Evolution of "Ophelia"Song Writing

How four songs portray Shakespeare's character Ophelia.

Charles Fox

Charles FoxSongwriter Interviews

After studying in Paris with a famous composition teacher, Charles became the most successful writer of TV theme songs.

The Punk Photography of Chris Stein

The Punk Photography of Chris SteinSong Writing

Chris Stein of Blondie shares photos and stories from his book about the New York City punk scene.

Elton John

Elton JohnFact or Fiction

Does he have beef with Gaga? Is he Sean Lennon's godfather? See if you can tell fact from fiction in the Elton John edition.


PrinceFact or Fiction

Prince is shrouded in mystery, making him an excellent candidate for Fact or Fiction. Is he really a Scientologist? Does he own an exotic animal?

Don Brewer of Grand Funk

Don Brewer of Grand FunkSongwriter Interviews

The drummer and one of the primary songwriters in Grand Funk talks rock stardom and Todd Rundgren.