Dave Matthews Band: Tripping Billies Meaning
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Song Released: 1996
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Tripping Billies Lyrics
You were standing underneath us
We were not yet lovers
Dragons were smoked
Bumblebees were stinging us
I was soon to be crazy
Eat, drink and be merry
For tomorrow we'll die
cause were tripping billies
anonymous Apr 8th, 2017 4:31am report
Can someone please reference any of their assumptions/ notes on this.. Eg "here is a quote and link with Dave in an interview saying.." Otherwise, we are all still mystified and uninformed. Thankyou. (some noble assumptions above, thou)
anonymous Jun 26th, 2014 6:56pm report
It is also where the "Firedancer" was born...my yellow flame she dances.
anonymous Feb 12th, 2011 2:46pm report
Some of you are close ,but not so much. In Africa the term "billies" is referred as the police. This is about the first time he took acid .. he was on a beach with friends and when he took the acid he decided he did not want to "trip" .. but the acid got him and he decided to just go with it. They had a blast sitting around a camp fire and the next thing he knows he is talking to the cops. This song is about all the fun he had and the fact he did not want it to end .. "EAT DRINK AND BE MERRY FOR TOMORROW WE"LL DIE"
anonymous Jan 29th, 2011 1:21pm report
Interesting. I always remembered the "eat drink...." line from Kurt Vonnegut's book Cat's Cradle" about ice 9. Interesting to see where both artists may have gotten their inspiration.
lookupattheskyxx Jan 23rd, 2009 1:41pm report
I believe, that even though everybody says this song is about Dave doing drugs in Africa, which probably is right, but I believe he got the motivation to do this song from John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, which was written in 1689.
In a sentence, John Locke wrote, "For if there be no Prospect beyond the Grave, the inference is certainly right, Let us eat and drink, les us enjoy what we delight in, for to morrow we shall die."
In the song Tripping Billies, Dave goes, "Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we'll die."
Therefore, if you read the Human Understanding essay, you can notice and sense more of what Dave had been motivated by when he wrote that phrase.
anonymous Jun 8th, 2008 6:58am report
This song is about an early review of the band that they sounded like hillbillies tripping on acid when they played.
anonymous Feb 15th, 2008 2:10pm report
Yes the last interpretation is the correct one and a Billy is what a cop is called in England and in some places in Africa the countries were at one time under British Authority. If I remember right I read something about Dave saying they were tripping on the beach naked. this could be wrong but I am about 85% sure that this last part is right also.
anonymous Nov 7th, 2007 11:10pm report
Only one of these interpretations was correct. It's about Dave doing acid back in Africa and then he was talking to cops."Dragons were smoked/Bumblebees were stinging us", "Out on the beaches we wore/Pineapple grass bracelets". That would make absolutely no sense at all unless you were on acid.
anonymous Apr 19th, 2007 4:37pm report
This song is about the best time that Dave ever had. He was back in Africa and it was the first time he had ever dropped acid, and the colors and sounds were so vibrant and he said it was the best moment in his life....the Billies come in because the people he was tripping with were police officers and in Africa police are called billies
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous Sep 4th, 2006 9:56pm report
"Eat drink and be merry
for tomorrow we die
eat drink and be merry
for tomorrow we die" is also what was commonly said by people during the black death.
anonymous Jul 3rd, 2006 7:29pm report
I was told by someone that is song was about hillbillies tripping on acid, hence the name tripping billies.
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