a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics

For Lew (My Bodyguard)

Music/Lyrics: Anastasio

Original Artist: Trey Anastasio

Albums: One Man's Trash

Historian: Tim Wade (TheEmu)

Last Update: 2012-03-07

A moment alone can be so hard to come by. Even with no one around, with a friend to guard the door, you still have your thoughts… and perhaps temptation as well.

In the midst of the strange soundscapes on Trey’s 1998 album One Man’s Trash comes the private moment depicted in “For Lew (My Bodyguard).” Though ostensibly alone with intruders kept at bay, the speaker is joined by a sinister companion. What mischief or evil the devil represents is left to the imagination, as is the reason for the visit to the chapel. The devil, though, is “real,” both in the room and within the speaker, who, it seems, can escape everyone in the world except himself.

“For Lew (My Bodyguard)” has, by far, the most lyrics on the album, yet the instrumentation is sparse and made up of synthesized tones humming behind Trey’s overdubbed harmony. The song leaves other questions unanswered as well, including “Is it Lew? Or Maurice?” and “What is Trey’s fascination with kidney beans?” As the song has never been performed live, it seems unlikely that an answer to these queries is forthcoming.

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