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  #1  
Old 10-12-2011, 08:59 AM
67java89 67java89 is offline
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What is the Bob Seger song Fire Lake about?

Anyone want to take a crack at interpreting the meaning of this song? I like the song but I'm not sure I understand it. And what happened to Poor Uncle Joe anyway?
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  #2  
Old 10-12-2011, 09:38 AM
astorian astorian is offline
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There's no story or clear narrative to the song, but I think the song is about chucking your boring old life, taking chances, and doing something exciting. The song seems to start off with an invitation to put on a leather jacket, hop on a motorcycle, hit the open road, and head to Fire Lake... a place where there are bronzed, beautiful girls for the taking.

I'm not sure if Fire Lake is supposed to be a real place or just a dream of something better. Either way, Seger seems to be saying, "Quit playing it safe- take a gamble, and pursue your passions."

Uncle Joe was, I'm guessing, a timid, staid, married, middle-aged guy who got fed up with his life and decided to run off in search of the fun he's never had (who's gonna tell his wife?).

In essence, I suppose the song is a lot like Springsteen's "Hungry Heart."

Last edited by astorian; 10-12-2011 at 09:40 AM..
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  #3  
Old 10-12-2011, 10:27 AM
67java89 67java89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astorian View Post
There's no story or clear narrative to the song, but I think the song is about chucking your boring old life, taking chances, and doing something exciting. The song seems to start off with an invitation to put on a leather jacket, hop on a motorcycle, hit the open road, and head to Fire Lake... a place where there are bronzed, beautiful girls for the taking.

I'm not sure if Fire Lake is supposed to be a real place or just a dream of something better. Either way, Seger seems to be saying, "Quit playing it safe- take a gamble, and pursue your passions."

Uncle Joe was, I'm guessing, a timid, staid, married, middle-aged guy who got fed up with his life and decided to run off in search of the fun he's never had (who's gonna tell his wife?).

In essence, I suppose the song is a lot like Springsteen's "Hungry Heart."
Excellent interpretation! Now that I think about it, the lyrics seem to fit with what you said.
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  #4  
Old 10-13-2011, 09:33 AM
Merijeek Merijeek is offline
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If it's a Bob Seger song, isn't it almost guaranteed to be about either a stripper or a whore?

-Joe
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  #5  
Old 10-13-2011, 09:37 AM
astorian astorian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merijeek View Post
If it's a Bob Seger song, isn't it almost guaranteed to be about either a stripper or a whore?

-Joe
"Main Street" certainly is about a stripper.

But "Old Time Rock & Roll"? "Turn the Page"? "Night Moves"? "Feel Like a Number"? "Making Thunderbirds"?

Come on, Bob wrote about a LITTLE bit more than strippers.
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  #6  
Old 10-13-2011, 01:18 PM
panamajack panamajack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astorian View Post
But "Old Time Rock & Roll"?
Set in a future where "records" have video on them as well. Hence why he's listening to them "by myself". He doesn't like the new stripper named Tango, either.

Quote:
"Turn the Page"?
Written from the perspective of a transvestite dancer who also turns tricks. What else could "ridin' 16 hours" mean?

Quote:
"Night Moves"?
A teenager who wants to be a stripper, but has been told her body's not quite the right type learns from an older, more experienced woman. Not sure why they couldn't find a better place to practice than the back seat of a car, though.

Quote:
"Feel Like a Number"?
Imagines another dystopic future where whores have no identity, just numbers. Despite being a full citizen, he feels his life is almost similar to theirs ("work my back 'til it's wracked with pain"). Somewhat ironically he seeks comfort for himself by turning to a whore ('number' being slang for the nameless whores).

Quote:
"Making Thunderbirds"?
2055. They're sexbots.


The Fire Inside? Stripper with chlamydia.
Against the Wind? Stripper who mimes.
Her Strut? Stripper who daylights as a civil engineer.
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  #7  
Old 10-13-2011, 01:30 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astorian View Post
There's no story or clear narrative to the song, but I think the song is about chucking your boring old life, taking chances, and doing something exciting. The song seems to start off with an invitation to put on a leather jacket, hop on a motorcycle, hit the open road, and head to Fire Lake... a place where there are bronzed, beautiful girls for the taking.

I'm not sure if Fire Lake is supposed to be a real place or just a dream of something better. Either way, Seger seems to be saying, "Quit playing it safe- take a gamble, and pursue your passions."
I always tend to hear it as though he's singing about Fire Island, which puts a different spin on the narrative.
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  #8  
Old 10-13-2011, 01:32 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
I always tend to hear it as though he's singing about Fire Island, which puts a different spin on the narrative.
This is exactly what I came to say. Hilarious.
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  #9  
Old 10-13-2011, 02:04 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Now, the line about Uncle Joe being afraid to cut the cake makes no sense at all. I have to believe Seger just needed a line that ended in a word that rhymed with "Lake."
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  #10  
Old 10-13-2011, 02:06 PM
Laggard Laggard is offline
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Cleveland in the seventies?
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  #11  
Old 10-13-2011, 02:40 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astorian View Post
I'm not sure if Fire Lake is supposed to be a real place or just a dream of something better.
Well, Fire Lake IS a real place in Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula.

But yes, it might just be a metaphorical place in the song.
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  #12  
Old 08-13-2012, 12:20 PM
RedBetty RedBetty is offline
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n.

Last edited by RedBetty; 08-13-2012 at 12:23 PM.. Reason: response is listed under wrong comment
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  #13  
Old 08-13-2012, 12:24 PM
RedBetty RedBetty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panamajack View Post
Set in a future where "records" have video on them as well. Hence why he's listening to them "by myself". He doesn't like the new stripper named Tango, either.



Written from the perspective of a transvestite dancer who also turns tricks. What else could "ridin' 16 hours" mean?



A teenager who wants to be a stripper, but has been told her body's not quite the right type learns from an older, more experienced woman. Not sure why they couldn't find a better place to practice than the back seat of a car, though.


Imagines another dystopic future where whores have no identity, just numbers. Despite being a full citizen, he feels his life is almost similar to theirs ("work my back 'til it's wracked with pain"). Somewhat ironically he seeks comfort for himself by turning to a whore ('number' being slang for the nameless whores).


2055. They're sexbots.


The Fire Inside? Stripper with chlamydia.
Against the Wind? Stripper who mimes.
Her Strut? Stripper who daylights as a civil engineer.
Joking right?
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  #14  
Old 08-13-2012, 12:27 PM
Docta G Docta G is offline
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I don't know what it's about, but it did signal the end of his creative output.
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  #15  
Old 08-13-2012, 02:30 PM
Chicagojeff Chicagojeff is offline
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Originally Posted by Docta G View Post
I don't know what it's about, but it did signal the end of his creative output.
I wouldn't agree to that.. 'Roll me Away' came a couple of years after that..
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  #16  
Old 08-13-2012, 03:08 PM
Blank Slate Blank Slate is offline
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I always assumed that being "afraid to the cut the cake" described a disinclination to marry.
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  #17  
Old 08-14-2012, 08:36 AM
phungi phungi is offline
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When you guys finish with this song, can you explain Neil Young's PowderFinger?
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  #18  
Old 08-14-2012, 09:42 AM
elmwood elmwood is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laggard View Post
Cleveland in the seventies?
I get a Rust Belt blue collar cottage country vibe from the song. When I was growing up in the 1970s, it seemed like every other auto plant or steel mill worker had a small cottage out in the boonies somewhere, many on a large pond (Silver Lake, Rushford Lake, Cuba Lake, etc), Chautauqua Lake, or Lake Erie. The white collar crowd vacationed in more exotic locations, while the blue collar Joes spent weekends at the lake.

Bob Seger is from Detroit. Michigan is known for having perhaps the strongest blue collar "cottage culture" in the Great Lakes region.
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  #19  
Old 12-06-2012, 08:42 PM
Nixon7 Nixon7 is offline
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Fire Lake is death. Afraid to cut the cake is a reference to the fear of death, as per the imperative to cut your birthday cake. Who's gonna tell poor aunt Sarah is not that Joe is cheating but that Joe is dead. The bronzed beauties could be angels but they could be demons, and this fits the references to motorcycle gangs and gypsies, as both also represent this gnostic duality. They are sirens calling you to your death, but what awaits? This is the meaning of the song. I do sometimes wonder if the reference to Uncle Joe has anything to with Stalin, tho. He clearly had a strong fear of death, and Fire Lake is also a reference to the Apocalypse (this was a cold war era song, after all; where nuclear devastation was always 15 minutes away).

Last edited by Nixon7; 12-06-2012 at 08:44 PM..
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  #20  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:11 AM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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I always interpreted Fire Lake as a song about abandoning respectable middle class life for a life of gambling, whoring, drinking, drugs, motorcycle riding, lingerie football leagues and general debauchery. I don't buy the Fire Lake/Fire Island thing, but I do think Uncle Joe could be a Fire Island-ish element ... he was afraid to cut a wedding cake, in my interpretation (has elements of "Dare I eat a peach?" from Eliot's Prufrock), which might be an indicator that he was not all that hetero, and thus that Uncle Joe might be cavorting with young men rather than young women, which adds poignancy to "Who's gonna tell poor Aunt Sarah?" (Answer: every last gossip and busybody in town will be wrassling and fighting and tussling about to be the one to tell poor Aunt Sarah.)

Now the death interpretation ties in nicely with the title of the song, after all, one of our popular Flying Spaghetti Monster mytholigizers (Milton) assures us that a lake of fire awaits many of us after death.

However, Fire Lake also has echoes of the Vietnamese symbol for "conflict" and "war" which is the symbol for fire floating above the symbol for water. And that ties in with the names. When I heard "Uncle Joe" I thought of Uncle Joe from the Petticoat Junction TV series, not Joseph Stalin. I see Uncle Joe moving kind of slow, clearing out the savings account, getting a ring put in his ear, and buying a chopper and buzzing down to Vegas in his leathers to meet one of those long-legged beauties hes' been fantasizing about for so long, having three of them buzzing about at the Junction.

But of course, Uncle Joe is not the one who can save us from the horrible conflict symbolized by Fire Lake, that can only be Uncle Arnold. Not the pig from Petticoat Junction, that's just silly. I mean Arnold Schwarzenegger, the king of imaginary conflicts. And that can only mean that "Aunt Sarah" is ... Sarah Conner!

Q.E.D., baby. Q-E-fucking-D.
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  #21  
Old 12-07-2012, 11:46 AM
Kimballkid Kimballkid is offline
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Minor nitpick with your astute synopsis Evil Captor , Arnold the Pig was on 'Green Acres', not 'Petticoat Junction'.
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  #22  
Old 11-12-2013, 02:52 PM
CRidder CRidder is offline
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Why so deep (or shallow)

Why does everyone think this needs to be some metaphor for hell or homosexuality. Seger never wrote anything so complicated, and that's the beauty of his songs. They are straightforward and honest.

from songfacts.com - For years, Seger never publicly commented on the actual place this song was written about. There were theories that it is symbolic of the biblical Lake of Fire, and it was noted there is an actual Fire Lake in Iron County, Michigan (the state where Seger grew up), as well.

Seger eventually stated that it is about a lake in Michigan called Silver Lake. He told Toledo Free Press in March 2011: "It was written about Silver Lake in Dexter, about being in the Pinckney-Hell-Dexter area."
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  #23  
Old 11-12-2013, 04:24 PM
August West August West is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRidder View Post
Why does everyone think this needs to be some metaphor for hell or homosexuality. Seger never wrote anything so complicated, and that's the beauty of his songs. They are straightforward and honest...

Seger eventually stated that it is about a lake in Michigan called Silver Lake. He told Toledo Free Press in March 2011: "It was written about Silver Lake in Dexter, about being in the Pinckney-Hell-Dexter area."
Ahem.
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  #24  
Old 11-13-2013, 01:27 PM
misling misling is offline
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There's a Fire Lake a few miles outside Anchorage, Alaska too. Not that I think he was singing about that one, but it's what I always think of when I hear the song. It has a float plane airport on the far side, and the near side's where the teenagers back in the day (1970s) used to go to swim, drink beers, and party on the beach...
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  #25  
Old 11-14-2013, 05:49 AM
CRidder CRidder is offline
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Reaching

Quote:
Originally Posted by August West View Post
Ahem.
You are reaching so much. Are you really that superstitious?
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