You never know where inspiration will come from. The Maryland-based band Clutch recorded its 2004 album, Blast Tyrant, in Hoboken, and that led to the appearance, on the band’s next album album, 2005’s Robot Hive/Exodus, of a song titled “Pulaski Skyway.”
“I took (the Skyway) every day from the Newark Hilton into Hoboken while recording Blast Tyrant,” Clutch’s Neil Fallon said in a 2005 interview. “It is an amazing drive over swampland, loading docks, and refineries. All the while Manhattan looms in the background. When it was completed the Pulaski Skyway was considered to be a marvel of engineering. I think it still is. Seventeen men died making that iron beast.”
Some of the references in this funk-metal song are specifically about New Jersey (“fires of Elizabeth,” “Jimmy Hoffa in the Meadowlands/Weighing down that union man”), though others are more impressionistic, albeit inspired by the setting: “Oh, but to just dine on sewage, cold seagull pie/Wrestle albino alligators … Oh, that swamp full of grabbing hands.” Check it out below.
Named after Casimir Pulaski, a Polish general who fought in the Revolutionary War, the Skyway opened in 1932, and is currently undergoing a multi-billion dollar rehabilitation process.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday last year. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are marking the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until Sept. 8, 2015.
If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.