Interpretations:Stomp Box

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On the literal level, "stomp box" is another name for an effects pedal. It is used to alter (often distort) the otherwise clean sound signal of an electric guitar or other electrified instrument.


In this song, the singer seems to want the stomp box to help him create the wild sounds he needs in order to wordlessly express his feelings.

Did anyone think this was a send up of punk music? Sort of Dig My Grave. They seem to like dabbling in other genres, so I thought that is what this was about. Did anybody else think this would make a great punk song, except for the vocab. I never heard a punk say, "Missive."

I got the impression that "Stomp Box" pokes fun at the more distortion-pedal-abusive songs in which the musician is trying to create an angsty, artsy, or otherwise expressive sound - however, the product just sounds messy and "pour[s] the poison in my ear." - Rhinoceros Rex

^That's what i was thinking when i listened to it today. i never thought about it much, but i'm thinking that might be what they're doing. -Manda

Not sure if this has any particular relevance, but IIRC Hamlet's father in Shakespeare's play was killed by having poison poured in his ear.

You remembered correctly. Unless, of course, all my sources are incorrect...:P ~Anna Ng hears your words. 09:07, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, definitely a Hamlet reference. — Miles 02:30, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

This had "punk" written all over it. --33marzi

I admit the song is very "punkish"...the song makes me want to pogo like mad, but the lyrics are quite creepy. Freakish. Scary. If the first interpreter got it right, then the message the music is sending is probably a lot darker than that of a TMBG's almost satanic in form, what with the mentioning of demons and "voices from the dark." I'm not completely sure of the meaning, but I am sure of one thing: John Linnell is a freak. - Overjoy

Oh, come on, Overjoy. We all know that Linnell is a freak. And we all love him for it.
On topic, I don't really know what it's about. It's definitely a dark, dark song, though--that's undeniable. ~Anna Ng hears your words. 09:07, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Now now, let's not say that a punk song can't include a word like "missive." I mean, c'mon: "Phantasmal myriads of sane bucholic birth." C'mon. Direct Bad Religion quote, right there. -- Fugitoid

I think the song goes back and forth between two points of view. The first set of lyrics seem to say that the person likes useing a stomp box to help show his emotions while playing. The second set is like someone who came to see this musician but doesn't like stomp boxes and when the musician starts to use it they compare it to having poison being poured down their ear and wants to die to get away from it. David Wyatt

I would say the whole song is about Hamlet. The play is about the main characters conflict. I liken a lot more to teenage angst, which goes hand in hand with punk music. The whole play within a play in there is him trying to "tell the world what's screaming".

[Not to mention the whole pouring-poison-in-ears thing.]


One interpretation I've repeatedly heard is that the song's lyrics are about the evils of television. Sounds plausible.

Play on "squeeze box"[edit]

  I always thought that "stomp box" was an intensified version version of "squeeze box", which I for some reason thought was a jargon term for accordion. That is, I thought it was a punk/hard rock ode to the writer's instrument.


Personally, I always saw this song as someone whose only outlet for their dark emotions (likely depression) is their music ("Stomp Box speak my thought/Vent these voices from the dark", "Free the demon"), but it only makes them worse ("Pour the poison in my ear"). In my opinion I saw the term "Stomp Box" simply as music (especially punk, metal, etc.) that encouraged the person's depression.

Grunge I always thought this was a song about Grunge. It's about the effects pedal but with the monotonous tune you need better lyrics and the lack of any organic emotion makes it half work. In their mid to later periods the Giants went through stages of trying to prove they were not poppy and nice. This was a reaction to Grunge and later as a why of distancing themselves from their kids LPs. They can do those kind of songs - Rest Awhile is the best one - but in this case its a failure and not a good or interesting song. (Mr Tuck)

My wrong interpretation might be right?[edit]

I never knew what a stomp box was in the electronic sense. I (and all my friends when this song came out) assumed that "Stomp Box" was an intensifier of the idea of a musical "squeeze" box, aka the accordion. Like, John doesn't squeeze the notes out,he stomps them out. Though our interpretation is clearly wrong, I still firmly stand behind it. Death of the author. But seriously, Johns, please never die.