[Track Info] [The Lyrics] [Explanation]

Assassing - Track Info

01. Album version (07:02)

02. 7" version (03:38)

03. Remix version (07:41)

04. Live (Montreal, Canada - "The Spectrum", June 19/20th '84) (07:31)

05. Live (St. Goar, Germany - "Freilichtbuhne Loreley", July 18th '87) (06:27)

Notes: 2) lacks the first 1:30 minutes of the instrumental intro, after the first couplet and 1rst refrain the instumental section is edited down and the song skips the second couplet and finishes off with the last part starting with "You were a sentimental mercenary in a free fire zone parading a Hollywood conscience". 3) is a remix version made in '92 for "A Singles Collection". It has a restored extra instrumental section (20 more bars) before the verse "Listen as the syllables...", that was edited out in the original version. Live versions follow album version: 4) has a longer central instrumental section (20 bars instead of 8); 5) has additional backing vocals by Cori Josias.

Lyrics by Derek William Dick (Fish)
Performed Live for the first Time: 16-Jun-83

Published by Marillion Music, Charisma Music Publishing Co. Ltd., Chappell Music Ltd.

Assassing - The Lyrics

I am the assassin, with tongue forged from eloquence
I am the assassin, providing your Nemesis

On the sacrificial altar to success, my friend,
Unleash a stranger from a kiss, my friend,
No incantations of remorse, my friend, Unsheathe the blade within the voice,
my friend, my friend, my friend, my friend

I am the assassin, assassin, assassin

Who decorates the scarf with the fugi knot
Who camouflaged emotion in a thousand yard stare,
Who gouged the notches from the family tree
Who hypnotised the guilt in career rhythm trance.

Assassing, assassing, assassing, assassing,
Listen to the blade, feel the blade!

Listen as the syllables of slaughter cat with calm precision
Patterned frosty phrases rape your ears
And sow the ice incision
Adjectives of annihilation
Bury the point beyond redemption
Venomous verbs of ruthless candour
Plagiarise assassins fervour
Apocalyptic alphabet casting spell
The creed of tempered diction

My friend, your friend the assassin,
My friend, your friend the assassin,
A friend in need is a friend that bleeds,
A friend in need is a friend that bleeds,
Let bitter silence infect the wound,
Let bitter silence infect the wound

I am the assassin, my friend
I am the assassin, my friend
I am the assassin, my friend
I am ... assassin!

You were a sentimental mercenary in a free fire zone parading a Hollywood conscience
You were a fashionable objector with a uniform fetish,
Pavlovian slaver at the cash till ring of success
A non com observer - I assassin the collector - defector

So you resigned yourself to failure, my friend,
And I emerged the chilling stranger, my friend,
To eradicate the problem, my friend,
Unsheathe the blade within the voice, within the voice,
Within the voice, within the voice.

And what do you call assassins who accuse assassins anyway, my friend?

In the edited version the purple coloured parts are missing.

Copyright 1997 Fraser Marshall, Matthew Anderson & Bert ter Steege.


From the liner notes of "A Singles Collection": The germ of the idea came while we were writing at Mountain studios in Wales in the summer of '83. A strange mixture of rehearsal studio and hippy commune run by amongst others "Sunshine" and "Nutkin". It had a Druids stone circle on a hill behind the house and was quite possibly the strangest place I've ever been. I'd just got my Roland guitar synthesiser and was experimenting with it, Fish had been driving us all mad by playing Islamic records he'd got from Peter Hamill at great volume all the time. We finished writing the song a months later, again in Wales, this time at Rockfield Studios in a house by the side of a river.
We recorded Assassing at the Manor Studio in Oxfordshire, a beautiful old house complete with a snooker table, a pair of Irish Wolfshounds and a ghost. Again we've remixed the track and we've also restored a section we'd edited out on the Fugazi album. Steve Rothery.

Brewer’s: The Greek goddess, daughter of Nox; a divinity of vengeance who rewarded virtue and punished the wicked and all kinds of impiety; the personification of divine retribution.

The goddess was supposedly lame, but though she was hampered, she would always catch up with her victim eventually. In one book of Horace’s Odes, (Possibly Book 5, but I’m not sure -Ed) it is said of her that you could get on a boat and row to the other side of the world, only to find that the oars(wo)man behind you was Nemesis. Sound familiar, H fans? (Cp. The Uninvited Guest)

The scarf with the fugi knot
Fugi is a corruption of Thuggee, worshipers of Kali who would strangle their victims in the name of religion. The method of strangulation was by a yellow scarf into which a one rupee had been knotted. Anyone who has seen Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom knows a little about the Thuggee, but the film distorts the reality.

Thousand yard stare
The expression noted on soldiers returning from the trenches in the first world war. It developed from straining to see if there was any signs of an attack from the opposition’s trenches, which were often 1000 yards apart (about 900 metres). The condition would eventually rectify itself.

A friend in need is a friend that bleeds
A pun on ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’, originally a Latin expression, meaning that a friend who wants something is more friendly in order to extract that s/he desires.

Free Fire Zone
An American expression from Vietnam. It is closely related to the expression ‘Free for All’, where all engage in a battle, normal rules of engagement disregarded. ‘Free fire zone’ was coined to describe areas which were going to be free of Americans or civilians. This meant that anything moving within the FFZ was therefore enemy and ripe for shooting. Astonishingly, loads of mistakes were made. A term describing these ‘accidental’ casualties appears in the song ‘Afraid of Sunrise’. (cp. That Time of The Night)

Pavlovian Slaver
Adapted from Brewer’s: Ivan Pavlov was a believer of what became known as the behaviourist school of thought, founded in 1914. The main tenet was that the relatively unscientific methodologies of Introspection and Mental States should be abandoned in favour of the more scientific study of behaviour. Pavlov developed a system of psychology that said it was possible to condition reflexes to stimulus. His famous experiment involved the ringing of bells prior to the feeding of dogs. The dogs grew to recognise that the ringing of the bell meant that feeding was imminent. Eventually, they would salivate at the ringing of the bell, even if no food were presented to them. He postulated that this was a similar thing to the way a child learns, through conditioned responses. Pavlov’s work, largely because of it’s simplicity and easy application, was embarrassed by Communist Russia and quickly became dogma. In the West it was regarded as fundamentally flawed, and is now largely ignored.

Non Com
Non-Comissioned. A term referring to an officer who has risen through the ranks due to his ability as a soldier, rather than entering at a higher level due to his education, or, even as recently as WWII, their social status.

Nick Jackson: I think "non-com observer" actually refers to "Non-Combatant" rather than N.C.O.. Non-Com in this context usually referred to combat medics, chaplains, photographers, and, more laterly, UN troops as peacekeepers after wars etc. ie, someone who watches what's going on, but doesn't get involved on either side...

And what do you friend?
From Francis Ford Copolla’s ‘Apocalypse Now’. Said by Brando to Martin Sheen. Sheen has been sent to carry out a clandestine murder of Brando’s character for carrying out unauthoriesed (but highly effective) military missions in neutral countries, much to the disturbance of the powers that be.


Last Modified: 27 Jul 2000