How Many Six Packs Does It Take To Screw In A Light

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"How Many Six Packs Does It Take To Screw In A Light"
AMC-SF.jpg
San Francisco cover
Song by American Music Club from the album San Francisco
Released October 1994
Format LP / CD / CS
Length 4:15
Label Reprise Records (US) / Virgin Records (UK)
Writer(s) Mark Eitzel
Producer(s) Joe Chicarelli / American Music Club
San Francisco track listing
  1. "Fearless"
  2. "It's Your Birthday"
  3. "Can You Help Me"
  4. "Love Doesn't Belong"
  5. "Wish The World Away"
  6. "How Many Six Packs Does It Take To Screw In A Light"
  7. "Cape Canaveral"
  8. "Hello Amsterdam"
  9. "The Revolving Door"
  10. "In The Shadow Of The Valley"
  11. "What Holds The World Together"
  12. "I Broke My Promise"
  13. "The Thorn In My Side Is Gone"
  14. "I'll Be Gone"
  15. "Fearless (Reprise)"
  16. "California Dreamin'"
  17. "I Just Took My Two Sleeping Pills And Now I'm Like A Bridegroom Standing At The Altar"

"How Many Six Packs Does It Take To Screw In A Light" is the 6th song on American Music Club's seventh album, 1994’s San Francisco.

Background

In a 1994 interview with Melody Maker, Eitzel states that the last line of the first verse was originally, "If I was empty inside, no bullet would ever reach me." "But we had an argument in the studio and I changed the last line to 'Like Peckinpah with a bouquet of poison ivy'. I really wish I hadn't. That line sucks."[1] He elaborated in a 1997 interview with The Big Takeover, stating, "One of the members didn't like the lyrics. I wrote these words like, I was in love with this guy, who was a sailor, and we had this weekend with his girlfriend. And I wrote words like that, and at first they thought, 'Great!' But then everybody heard the song, and they were like, 'No. We can't do that on an album.' And I said, 'Yeah, it was a great time. We've got to do it on the album.' But they said no. And I insisted. I forced the band to do the song. In the studio the drummer was bitching the whole time because I made him play this groove beat; it was the very last thing we recorded, on the very last day of recording before the b-sides, and it was the least important song. I ended up having to change the lyrics because there was more bitching, 'Um, we're not sure about this...' And I felt terrible! I said, 'Oh God...fine, I'll just change them!' (to what they are now on the LP) And then later we were done with the song, and I thought it was the best song on the record! And I had to force them to play that funny synthesizer part in the middle - which I love, but everybody else disliked. And that made me really upset, to have to change lyrics."[2]

In the 1994 Melody Maker interview, Eitzel states that the song is about "A heroin addict. I feel that those people are empty inside - that nothing can reach them. And that's a beautiful state to be in. But it's also very selfish. It's gotten to the point now that I can recognize addicts on the phone. They have over-weening confidence that all their demands should be met, and they get very pissy when they're not."[1]

A 1995 article in Alternative Press states that the song song about heroin and "a sleazy weekend in a hotel room."[3]

Lyrics

I never had a lot to bring to the party
But a self-importance far beyond vanity
And a manic depression that just wouldn't go away
Like Peckinpah with a bouquet of poison ivy

How many six packs does it take to screw in a light
It's good to be alive baby, sometimes it's alright

Nothing like a little vacation once in awhile
At the Cable Car Hotel, San Francisco style
For three nights and three days
Jesus hung on a boom box while it played
Every single song ever sung by Billie Holiday

How many six packs does it take to screw in a light
It's good to be alive baby, sometimes it's alright

Afterwards I'm on California Street looking at the sky
The sun is going down pouring salt into my eyes
Like he said: When the light goes out so does fear
And you only see beauty as it begins to disappear

How many six packs does it take to screw in a light
It's good to be alive baby, sometimes it's alright

Video

Personnel

Also appears on

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Nicholls, Phil (September 3, 1994). "I'm An Ant". Melody Maker. London: IPC Media. Retrieved January 16, 2018. 
  2. Jack Rabid (1997). "Death Of A Band". The Big Takeover. Retrieved March 27, 2018. 
  3. Wiederhorn, Jon (February 1995). "Affairs Of The Heart". Alternative Press. Cleveland, OH: Alternative Press Magazine, Inc. Retrieved January 16, 2018.