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Flying Dutchman

Lyrics by Tori Amos

Hey, kid, I got a ride for you.
They say your brain is a comic book tattoo,
And you'll never be anything.
"What will you do with your life"
Oh, that's all you hear from noon 'til night.

Take a trip on a rocketship, baby,
Where the sea is the sky.
I know the guy who runs the place,
And he's out of sight.

Flying Dutchman, are you out there?
Flying Dutchman, are you out there?
Flying Dutchman...

Straight suits - they don't understand.
She tried, that one with the alligator boots,
But the other side drew her in.
Heart falling fast when she left.
Even the Milky Way was dressed in black.

Take a trip on a rocketship, baby.
The sea is the sky.
I know the guy who runs the place,
And he's out of sight.

Flying Dutchman, are you out there?
Flying Dutchman, are you out there?
Flying Dutchman...

'Cause they can't see
What you're born to be.
They can't see me.
They can't be
What they can't believe.
They can't see what you see.

They keep the boy spinning
In their own little world.
Tie him up so he won't say a word.
They keep the boy spinning
In their own little world.
So afraid he'll be what the never were.

Take a trip on a rocketship, baby.
The sea is the sky.
I know the guy who runs the place,
And he's out of sight.

Flying Dutchman, are you out there?
Flying Dutchman, are you out there?
Flying Dutchman...

'Cause they can't see
'Cause they can't see
'Cause they can't see
Are you still out there?

They can't see that I fly now
They can't see and I just lose myself


They can't see, they can't see
You know, you know, you're trying
but they'll hide your
Hide your head, hide your head
So many know, you know
'cause this they can't see


alternate lyrics at end of a live version

October 4, 2001

They can't see, they can't see
crawling in her head
and strike the woman down
Don't hide your head, hide your head
rip your soul up and apart again
They can't
They can't see, they can't see
They can't see, they can't see
A woman inside and a heart that's strong
And don't hide your head, hide your head
hide again this time, oh
they can't see
now, now, now, now, now
they can't see


Tori Quotes

A few of your songs have a kind of movement-like structure, "Flying Dutchman" for example.

Yeah, it's not the structure of your typical pop song. [laughs] [Keyboards (Germany) - June 1992]

This is "Flying Dutchman"... I wrote the song for Rantz when he was 19. [Meebo - July 23, 2008]


The story behind "Flying Dutchman"
by Rantz Hoseley
(as told in February 1996)

So, I understand that you actually had a song written about you by the famous musician, Tori Amos.

Rantz: Hmmm, well, I don't know if it's ABOUT me.... well, PARTS of it are, and it was written for me, so yeah, I guess so.

And that would be "Flying Dutchman", correct?

Rantz: Yep

So, how exactly did it all come about?

Rantz: How did it come about... cripes. OK, back in '88-'89, around there, things were not going very well for either Tori or I. We had been friends for a few years at the time, and were both... how do I say this... stifled, I guess. We were both being "Kept down by the man!" (laughs) She had just gone through the hell of Y Kant Tori Read, and I was living back in Washington State with my mom after having some very scary near-fatal experiences in Los Angeles. Tori and I spent a lot of time on the phone, talking about what we "wanted to do with our lives," as it were. Basically, giving each other support and saying "this is a shitty time, it'll pass, we deserve better."

Anyway, Tori got back on her feet a little faster than I did. And started working on a "different type of album" for Atlantic. So, she called me up during one of her bouts of writing and asked me, "Rantz, if you had to describe yourself as something, what would it be?" Now, this, in particular was a BAD time. I can't remember what was going on, but I was very depressed. I won't say suicidal, but I was about as far down as you can get. So, I told her, "Tori, I'm the Flying Dutchman."

Why the Flying Dutchman?

Rantz: That's exactly what she asked. I explained, A.) the majority of my lineage is Dutch, b.) the story fits me right now. Tori told me she wasn't familiar with the story so I went to the cupboard (while still on the phone) and found one of those Skipper's "Legends of the Sea" glasses they had as giveaways.

This one told the Cliff's notes version of the story, how Captain Van Eyck, faced with a brutal storm, implored God to save his men. There was no answer, and Van Eyck called on God twice more with the same result. Finally, fearing for the safety of his men, he called on the devil, and made a deal that if he and his men traveled to safety, the devil could have his soul. The devil agreed and the storm dissipated.

No sooner had the storm dissipated, than an angel came down from heaven, informing Van Eyck that he had betrayed God. Van Eyck protested saying God had abandoned him, but the angel would not be swayed and told Van Eyck, "For your crime against the Lord, you are cursed to sail the sea forever, to never find safe harbor, or the comfort of the shore or home." I thought that was pretty apt, considering what I was feeling at the time.

And how did Tori respond to that?

Rantz: She was quiet for a while then asked "Is that really how you feel?" and I told her yes. She and I talked for a bit longer, then hung up.

So, how did that become a song?

Rantz: Well, about a week later Tori calls and asks if I've got a minute or two, I tell her yes, and she starts playing this song over the phone, just her and the piano. It was amazing and very touching, and I would say it's by far one of the nicest things anyone's ever done for me.

So how much of it is about you?

Rantz: ABOUT me? Well, the first verse, and parts of the rest... You'd have to ask Tori about that. (pauses) I don't know if she'd remember, though. She didn't remember the "skipper's" glass 'til I reminded her about it.



photo posted by Rantz (2016)


"Flying Dutchman"
October 8, 2010 - Amsterdam, the Netherlands
with the Metropole Orchestra




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