Soul Suckin Jerk
By: Beck Hansen, Karl Stephenson

Written by: Beck Hansen, Karl Stephenson

Versions:
  1. Soul Suckin Jerk (3:55)
    Available on Mellow Gold.
    Credits
    Rob Schnapf: Mix, Producer
    Tom Rothrock: Mix, Producer
    Beck Hansen: Producer, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
    Karl Stephenson: Producer
  2. Soul Suckin Jerk (Reject) (5:53)
    Available on Loser.
    Credits
    Beck Hansen: Producer, Vocals
    Tom Grimley: Producer
 
Lyrics:
Soul Suckin Jerk [Version (a)]:

I got a job making money for the man
Throwing chicken in a bucket with a soda pop can
Puke-green uniform on my back
I had to set it on fire in a vat of chicken fat
I leaped on the counter like a bird with no hair
Running through the minimall in my underwear
I got lost downtown, couldn't find a ride home
Sun went down, I got frozen to the bone
'Til a hooker let me share her fake fur coat
As I took a little nap, the cops picked up us both
I tried to explain I was only trying to get warm
I knew I never ever should have burned my uniform
He said, "Too bad, better bite the bullet hard, son."
I didn't have no teeth, so I stole his gun
And I crawled out the window with my shadow on the spoon
Dancing on the roof, shooting holes in the moon (gettin' busy)
'Cause I ain't gonna work for no soul-suckin jerk
I'm gonna take it all back and I ain't sayin' jack
I ain't gonna work for no soul-suckin jerk
I'm gonna take it all back and I ain't sayin' jack

I'm standing right here with a beer in my hand
And my mouth is full of sand and I don't understand
Fourteen days, I been sleeping in a barn
Better get a paycheck tattooed on my arm [beck.com: headache and a paycheck]
Whistling Dixie with the Dixie cup filled
With the barbecue sauce and the dental floss chill
Big fat veins pointing into my face
Telling me to get busy cleaning up this place
I got bent like a wet cigarette
And she's coming after me with a butterfly net
Riding on a bloodhound, ringing a bell
Black cat wrapped and I'm rolling out to hell
Pencil on my leg and I'm trying not to beg
Taking turns baking worms with the bacon and eggs
Now they got me in a birdcage flapping my jaw
Like a parcel of stars just waiting to fall [beck.com: pretzel in the stars]
So give me what I got to get so I can go
'Cause I ain't washing dishes in a ditch no more
I ain't gonna work for no soul-suckin jerk
I'm gonna take it all back and I ain't sayin' jack
I ain't gonna work for no soul-suckin jerk
I'm gonna take it all back and I ain't sayin' jack

No no no no, soul sucking jerk, soul sucking jerk
No soul sucking jerk, soul sucking jerk
I ain't gonna work for no soul-suckin jerk
I'm gonna take it all back and I ain't sayin' jack
Ain't gonna work for no soul-suckin jerk
Ain't gonna work for no soul-suckin jerk
Soul Suckin Jerk (Reject) [Version (b)]:

I'm standing right here with a beer in my hand
And my mouth is full of sand and I don't understand
Big fat fingers pointing into my face
Telling me to get busy cleaning up this place
Fourteen days, I been sleeping in a barn
Better get a paycheck tattooed on my arm
Whistling Dixie with the Dixie cup filled
With the barbecue sauce and the dental floss chilled
I got bent like a wet cigarette
And she's coming after me with a butterfly net
Riding on a bloodhound, ringing a bell
Black cat wrapped and I'm rolling up a hill
Pencil in my leg and I'm trying not to beg
Taking turns breaking words with the bacon and eggs
Now they got me in a birdcage flapping my jaw
Like a pretzel in the stars just waiting to fall
So give me what I got to get so I can go
'Cause I ain't washing dishes in a ditch no more
'Cause I ain't gonna work for no soul-suckin jerk
I'm gonna take it all back and I ain't sayin' jack
'Cause I ain't gonna work for no soul-suckin jerk
I'm gonna take it all back and I ain't sayin' jack
You know it! That's right
Rockin' the town like a moldy crouton
Flying through the air with grease


I got a job making money for the man
Throwing chicken in a bucket with a soda pop can
Puke-green uniform on my back
I had to set it on fire in a vat of chicken fat
I leaped on the counter like a bird with no hair
Running through the minimall in my underwear
I got lost downtown, couldn't find a ride home
The sun went down, I got frozen to the bone
'Til a hooker let me share her fake fur coat
As I took a little nap, the cops picked up this fool
I tried to explain I was only trying to get warm
I knew I never ever should have burned my uniform
He said, "Too bad, better bite the bullet hard, son."
I didn't have no teeth, so I stole his gun
And I crawled out the window with my shadow and a spoon
Dancing on the roof, shooting holes in the moon

Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah
 
The Song:

Like "Loser," this song was a collaboration with Carl Stephenson and can be found on Mellow Gold. Beck brought the song to his sessions with Karl, and the two turned it into a funky, rocking track that is easily one of the major recordings of all of Beck's early work.

Interestingly, Beck released as a b-side another take of the song called "Soul Suckin Jerk (Reject)".

Beck's story revolves around a character who is working at a mini-mall, before getting completely fed up and going on a little adventure starring cops and hookers. It is a very entertaining tale, mixing broad autobiographical experiences with specific fiction.
 
Live:

Played live 19 times:
Earliest known live version: March 30, 1994
Latest known live version: December 18, 1994

Despite being one of the centerpieces of Mellow Gold, the song never quite hit that status during the live shows. The live performances are a pretty cool mix of psychedelia, rock, and rap, though they often also tended to be sloppy.

The version on March 30 1994, was almost unrecognizable at the beginning. Beck tries to rap over a thumping beat, but gets lost in the lyrics, and ends up adlibbing some stuff. (Unfortunately, it's hard to make it all out.) The chorus is done falsetto, before picking up intensity for the second verse. Beck nails that verse, and the song has sort of fallen into shape. The song ends in a strange breakdown.

A few months later, Beck had taken his tour over to Australia, Japan, and China. I don't know of too many boots from this trip, but on September 6 in Tokyo, "Soul Suckin Jerk" starts the set. These versions are much more together than the one on March 30. It is a fuller arrangement now, with keyboards and effects and guitars. Beck still tends to stumble through the lyrics most of the time though.

One strong version is from October 21 1994. The music seems to have a bit of muscle and venom to it, which suits the frustration in the lyrics nicely. My personal favorite version is the brilliant performance on December 1 1994. Beck nails his lyrics, for once, and the band is tight. A few nights later, on December 4, 1994, the band plays "Soul Suckin Jerk," but Beck is singing something else entirely! The first verse is a little difficult to understand due to the way he sings:
All my days...???
You went down, shot in the ass, scores of grey
TV white... your bison coat, black crow diagonal
When you jump in to, beyond the reach, you're never here
??? slice and dice, a tupper player's in ??
And I got the blues and I can't be satisfied by you
And I took my claim, took my dump down the line
With my suitcase grind and a shiny light
Diamonds on the dash in my car
After that first verse, he reverts to the "Soul Suckin Jerk" chorus. He does a proper "Soul Suckin Jerk" verse after that though for the end, so the song returns to normal.

It has not been played live in quite awhile, probably not at all since the end of 1994.