Kilroy is the Modren Man. But what is "modren"?


Kilroy is the Modren Man. But what is “modren”?

A misspelling of “modern,” perhaps?

Modern. Kilroy is the modern man. With some parts made in a small Asian country in the pacific.

This misspelling appears on about 1,300 web pages, compared to 133,000 with the correct spelling.

More on Mr. Roboto and Kilroy, the Modern Man.

It always sounded like modren to me, but I just assumed that this was just a pronounciation quirk. Sorta like when Billy Joel says “Brender and Eddie.”

All of the “lyrics” pages spell it “modren”. Even the official sites.

So I am pretty positive it was spelled (and sang) that way. Just not sure why.

it’s “modren”
not modern.
Just verified at the official web site.


I opened the CD case and read the printed lyrics.

Back to square one.

Back to answer one, too, most likely: a misspelling of “modern.” Intentional, but still.

IIRC, in the cassette liner notes, the “r” in modren was printed backwards (mirrored around the vertical axis), too.

Thanks for the update, chowhawk, and welcome to the SDMB, but the full extent of the OP’s participation here was the three posts in that thread, ten years ago. I suspect he/she won’t see your reply.

Since this is about song lyrics, let’s move it to Cafe Society.

Please note that this was started 10 years ago.

General Questions Moderator

Domo arigato.

Shouldn’t you leave a note in General Questions to acknowledge that “Kilroy was here”?

At any rate, Urbandictionary is iffy at best as a citation. That particular entry seems pretty bogus.

I’m no Rush scholar but I know the song pretty well.

I’m going to go with “modren” being an intentional mistake to reinforce the dangers and imperfections of increasingly robotic society (Machines to save our lives / machines dehumanize) that the song deals with.

Especially since it was made in 2011, a full 28 years after “Mr. Roboto” was released.

Well, it’s not Rush, it’s Styx, but anyway.

I, um, may know a bit about the Kilroy Was Here LP. The ‘Modren’ spelling - and it was pronounced that way in at least one song, was also a tip off that there was a few backward tracked things on the LP.


At least it wasn’t a song about The Lord of the Rings…

Styx is from Chicago. Modren was a common mispronunciation when spoofing the accents of aldermen, ward heelers, and Duh Mare, Richard J. Daley. The Chicago Bar Association had an annual variety show that once featured Hizzoner singing about how he was building a “thoroly* modren city now,” to the tune of “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” a popular movie of the time.

    • Col McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, attempted to simplify spelling. That one didn’t take. Catalog did.