"Of Course" was thought to be the only song written specifically for Ritual. [All the others were conceived from '86 to '88.] But it seems even "Of Course" was born in Jane's early days, originally as a rejected section of "1%" (see quote below).
It's been said that Perry alone wrote this song. Eric doesn't even play on the album version (Ronnie S. Champagne is credited on bass).
Jane's first came up with it while working on "1%" in early 1986. Forgotten about until late 1989 / early 1990 when Perry worked on it some more during the recording of Ritual.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS:
From Guitar for the Practicing Musician, January 1991...
GPM: Since Perry does all the lyrics, how do you guys write?
Dave: It varies from song to song. We work off mistakes a lot. For instance, "Of Course," which has violin in it and is very different for a rock band coming out of L.A. That was originally part of "One Percent" from the live indie album. It didn't work there. Now, some years down the line, it ended up being its own song.
From an article in BAM, 11/30/90...
...His father, a jeweler on 47th street in New York City, phones him and wonders: "Why can't you sing more like that schvartze... what's his name? Richie, y'know... Lionel Richie?" (Perry goes on to explain that his father does like the Middle Eastern raga feel the band achieves on ''Of Course'' from the new album. "He says it sounds like Fiddler on the Roof," snorts Farrell, sarcastically.)
Interview with Steve from late '97...
Q: "What were some of your favorite moments of that layering of the studio stuff (during the recording of Ritual)?"
Steve: "Well, I remember particularly "Of Course" being fantastically fun for me, because of the drum tracks. There's bells, chimes, timpanis, kick and snare, cymbal rolls. I mean, I had a great time. I did little finger bells and acted like a belly dancer for about two hours."
Perry at a live show on 7/7/90. It was a special pre-Ritual show, outdoors, in someone's backyard (with a swimming pool)...
"This song was written especially for doing the backstroke... That's a joke. If you don't get it, one day, your friend will tell you about it... OK, let's all hold groins on this song...I dedicate this song to the outdoors, what's left of it."
later Perry says...
"You guys don't understand my jokes, do you? The thing is, they really aren't jokes, you guys are too... insecure... you're too fucked up inside to admit that you don't get the joke, so you laugh, but there's no joke."
Played occasionally in 1990 and 1991.
From BAM magazine, Issue 347, November 30, 1990...
"While the philosophy behind Ritual De Lo Habitual may be a mite exotic, the ideas behind the songs themselves are thoroughly down to earth . . . 'Of Course' takes a snake-charming Middle East riff and plugs into a tale of how Perry's older brother used to pin back his arms and make him slap himself in the face. The incident is a harrowing, if accurate, metaphor of drug addiction."
Of course this land is dangerous!
All of the animals are capably murderous.
When I was a boy, my big brother held on to my hands,
then he made me slap my own face.
I looked up to him then, and still do.
He was trying to teach me something.
Now I know what it was!
Now I know what he meant!
Now I know how it is!
One must eat the other who runs free before him.
Put them right into his mouth
while fantasizing the beauty of his movements.
A sensation not unlike slapping yourself in the face...
Slapping yourself in the face...
Slapping yourself in the face...
this translation is almost line for line...
The world is truly dangerous, be prepared...
We are all against each other,
Every race, every gender.
My brother tried to prepare me for the world (This really is his brother he is talking about...they were close..)
He woke me up and made me face reality...
he was trying to teach me something..
And now i understand the realities of life..
Everyone must fend for themselves...
To make it in this world, to succeed, there is no mercy...
People will step on friends, family, and even those they admire...
This is truly hard to accept, but we must accept it.
i think that parts of "of course" is about meat eaters who find the beauty of animals but still eat them. i think perry points out this hypocrisy when he says "put em right into his mouth,while fantasizing the beauty of his movements a sensation not unlike slapping yourself in the face."