Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.
MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Filter’s “Hey Man, Nice Shot” was about the real life suicide of Kurt Cobain.
Besides finding satanic references in various band names and songs, people like looking for pretty much any sort of odd references in the lyrics of songs.
When it came to Filter’s 1995 hit “Hey Man, Nice Shot,” though, folks did not really need much reading into the lyrics to know that the song was about a suicide.
The song, which appeared on their 1995 album Short Bus…
included the lyrics:
I wish I would’ve met you;
now it’s a little late.
What you could’ve taught me,
I could’ve saved some face.
They think that your early ending was all wrong;
for the most part they’re right,
but look how they all got strung.
That’s why I say, “Hey man, nice shot.”
“What a good shot, man.”
So it’s pretty clearly about suicide.
However, fans soon felt that the band was not just referencing a typical suicide with their song, but specifically the suicide of the prior year of Nirvana front man, Kurt Cobain (seen below)…
Cobain killed himself in the middle of 1994, so when a song pops up the very next year (just a little over a year later) talking about suicide, then people are gonna figure that you’re talking about Kurt Cobain.
However, other fans also thought that the song was about the 1987 suicide of Pennsylvania State Treasurer Budd Dwyer.
Why you would automatically think of Budd Dwyer is beyond me, but even odder is that they were RIGHT!
The song was, in fact, written in honor (if you want to use that term) of Dwyer.
Dwyer, you see, was the State Treasurer of Pennsylvania, and he was also more than a little bit…how do you say…corrupt?
He accepted roughly $300,000 in kickbacks for allowing a multi-million dollar state accounting job to go to a specific accounting firm (the conspiracy was wider than just Dwyer – the Chairman of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania also went down for the charge).
Dwyer fought the charges heavily, but he was convicted. Oddly enough, he was allowed to continue to be the State Treasurer until his actual sentencing (some weird bit of state law).
In early 1987, one day before his sentencing, Dwyer called for a press conference where he would “update” people on the situation. After a rambling speech about how he was innocent but he was certain he would be railroaded by the judge the next day, he then had his assistants take some envelopes (an organ donor card, a suicide note for his wife and a note to the incoming Governer of Pennsylvania).
Dwyer then took out a handgun.
Amid shouts from the crowd, he told the audience “Please leave the room if this will affect you.”
And as people kept shouting for him not to do it, and some tried to approach him, he warned them “Don’t, don’t, don’t, this will hurt someone.”
He then placed the gun in his mouth and shot himself. He was declared dead on the scene.
Anyhow, the guys from Filter did acknowledge in 1996 that the song was about Dwyer.
In a statement they released to the press, they said:
The song ‘Hey Man Nice Shot’ is a reaction to a well-documented public suicide. It is not a celebration or glorification of taking one’s own life. The phrase ‘hey man, nice shot’ is a reference to the final act itself, an expression of guts and determination of a person standing up for what they believe is right. We are extremely sensitive and respectful to the family and friends of Mr. Dwyer. We have both lost friends to suicide and felt nothing but sympathy and loss for the victims, and those involved in such a tragedy.
Pretty weird stuff…
The legend is…
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