Release The Bats
By: Beck Hansen

Written by: Beck Hansen

Release The Bats [Version (a)]:

[From August 22, 2002]

I'd like to do something right now. I'm sure you're wondering what that is. What the hell am I doing up here? I'm just doing whatever the fuck I want actually.

[starts a little acoustic guitar noodling]

This sounds very auspicious.
You know what this is, I just realized. This is called "Release the Bats (From Under the Bridge)." I waited for three hours for those damned bats. And then I went to go make a phone call, and they came out. And people were all, "Those were so majestic! I've never seen anything so spiritual."

Nobody knows when the bats are gonna come out
They fuckin' come out whenever they feel like it
Ohh the bats! Ahh the bats! Ohh the bats!

And then they come out and they fly over the trees and they look kind of omenous.

Weaving through the sky at night
Black bats!

Actually I know when the bats are released because I am the one who sits on the bridge.

I am the one who sits on the bridge!
I am the one who says, "Go forth bats!!"
"Release the baaaaaaaaats!" "No, don't." "Stay, bats." "Larry, get back in there."
They're gettin' all excited. Not yet.
Because the magic perfect second is about to arrive
Ohhhh the sun-spackled clouds turning a hue of magenta and turquoise
The sky, oh I fashioned the sky a perfect canvas... for the baaaats!
Release them now! I implore you, go forth bats!

[From November 12, 2002]

The bats...release the bats!
Release the bats... and it was just Halloween too.
The batsssss.
Nobody knows when the bats will emerge from the bridge.
Nobody except for I, the keeper of the bats.
Only I say when the bats can be released.
Phillip, get back in there, you dirty bastard.
Release the bats!
The Song:

Beck kind of sing-speaks this story about watching bats be released from a bridge. I am not quite sure what spurred this story, or really exactly what he's talking about. But it's kind of funny, listening to Beck sing it in his comedic cartoony voice. "Releeeeease the baaaats!"

Showing his sense of humor, and memory, Beck played a bit of "Release the Bats" on his return to Austin a few months later!

A nice Austin-er wrote me to explain the song: "[Beck] was referring to the South Congress Bridge. The bridge holds the largest urban population of bats in the entire world. In the summer, the bats fly out nightly by the millions. It's quite a sight." Wow!

Played live 2 times:
Earliest known live version: August 22, 2002
Latest known live version: November 12, 2002