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Calistan Lyrics

Artist: Frank Black
Album: Teenager Of The Year

I took three days to drive down one street
The radio on, tuned to the big fleet
Invisible planes are cracking the concrete
That's just what some people say

I put down my blanket on Cigarette Butt Beach
I saw the old man, he was doing OK
He's making his last stand
On old bottles and cans
'Round there, Calistan way

Used to be sixteen lanes
Used to be Nuevo Spain
Used to be Juan Wayne
Used to be Mexico
Used to be Navajo
Used to be yippy-ay-I-don't know

Went in from the weather when I got wheezy
I play some pachinko I play pachisi
And St. Anne is still making it breezy
In the valley of tar that once was L.A.

And my best friend he's the king of karaoke
He struck up a chord and he took it away
Out of the pan
And into Japan
'Round there, Calistan way

Used to be sixteen lanes
Used to be Juan Wayne
Used to Mexican
Used to be Espano Nuevo
Used to Navajo
Used to be yippie-ay-I-don't know


by master of the obvious on 7/17/2008 7:35pm
The song is clearly about Los Angeles and the changes in the population. It "used to be Nuevo Spain" not it's "out of the pan into Japan". The "stan" is clearly a reference to the immigrants from Muslim countries.
by Rua on 8/28/2009 2:29am
No way man, you're reading it too literally. Calistan defines itself.
by bobo on 7/20/2011 10:15am
he's just stating a fact. noone is targeted, just the growing population in general (with humour!) besides he acknowledges that it was once mexico and accepts that.
by J on 5/24/2014 1:59pm
Its not "Juan Wayne" but "one way" in the second couplet.
by AC on 3/13/2017 4:27pm
Calistan is about El Camino Real (the Kings Highway) in California.

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