Chocolate Jesus(1)

Well, I don't go to church on Sunday
Don't get on my knees to pray
Don't memorize the books of the bible
I got my own special way

I know Jesus loves me
maybe just a little bit more
I fall down on my knees every Sunday
at Zerelda Lee's candy store

Well, I've got to be a chocolate Jesus
Make me feel good inside
Got to be a chocolate Jesus
Keep me satisfied

Well, I don't want no Abba Zabba(2)
Don't want no Almond Joy(2)
There ain't nothing better
suitable for this boy

Well, it's the only thing that can pick me up(3)
It's better than a cup of gold(2)
See, only a chocolate Jesus
can satisfy my soul

When the weather gets rough and it's whiskey in the shade
it's best to wrap your savior up in cellophane
He flows like the big muddy but that's okay
pour him over ice cream for a nice parfait

Well, it's got to be a chocolate Jesus
Good enough for me
Got to be a chocolate Jesus
It's good enough for me

And it's got to be a chocolate Jesus
Make me feel so good inside
Got to be a chocolate Jesus
Keep me satisfied

Written by: Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan-Waits(4)
Published by: Jalma Music (ASCAP), © 1999
Official release: Mule Variations, Anti Inc., 1999
Arrangements and lyrics published in "Tom Waits - Mule Variations" (Amsco Publications, 2000) 

Known covers:
Being Tom Waits. Billy`s Band. 2001. Self-released demo album (Russia)
A Postcard From... Billy's Band. 2003. Self-released (Russia)
Martin Harley. The Martin Harley Band. 2003. Self-released
Valhalla. Emily Richards. September, 2003. Rillriver Publishing
Live at Liars. Janelle Lauer. 2004. Liars Theatre Publishing
God Is A Tom Waits Fan. The Box Spring Hogs. May 2004. Self-released demo
Bluegrass With A Twist. Jericho Bridge. December 14, 2004. Self-released
Le Drame du Pastis. Puts Marie. May, 2005. Self-released

(1) Chocolate Jesus

Q: Who plays the rooster on "Chocolate Jesus?" TW: "That's a real rooster." Q: Yes, but he was crowing right on cue. TW: "He was crowing on cue. You know one thing about animals---when you record outside, they'll pretty much wait till you're finished with your phrase. Because no one wants to talk while you're talking, especially a rooster." (A Q&A about Mule Variations. MSO: Rip Rense, early 1999) 

Q: "Chocolate Jesus"-- -what is the source of inspiration? You sing 'Don't want no Abba-Zabba...' Were you just tired of Abba Zabba's? TW: (laughs.) "My father-in-law was trying to get me interested in this business venture---these things called Testamints. They're these little lozenges with little crosses on them. If you're on the road, or something, and you can't worship in the way you're accustomed to, or it's during the week, you can have one of these little testamints, and it kind of gets you right in touch with your higher power." Q: Body of Christ? TW: "Body of Christ. Exactly. So we just kind of took it a step further. You got your Testamints. What about your Chocolate Jesus? Melts in your mouth, not your hand. It is kind of direct. Drink this in remembrance of me. Someone might think it's blasphemous, but it's actually kind of a grassroots spirituality." (A Q&A about Mule Variations. MSO: Rip Rense, early 1999) 

Tom Waits: "My father-in-law has been trying to get me involved in this other business. He's got these little lozenges that come in different flavours and they have a cross on one side and a Bible passage on the other. He calls them 'testamints.' The idea is that if you can't make the church service, you meditate on the testamint passage, then pop it in your mouth. We took the idea one step further with Chocolate Jesus." (Source: "Wily Tom Waits' Barnyard Breakthrough" Now magazine, by Tim Perlich. Date: April 22-28, 1999) 

AC: On "Chocolate Jesus" there's a rooster crowing. Where did that come from, 'cause the rooster's crowing on cue?! TW: "Well, hey, a rooster will never crow when you're crowing. They wait 'til there's some clean air. They wait 'til you're done and then they get the best spot. Which I've found about recording outside. Most people are afraid to record outside because they're going to have too many collisions with the natural world. But I've found if you do go outside, everything collaborates with you, including airplanes. And movies -- they make movies outside. You have to wait, sometimes, for a train to pass or a school to let out or whatever. Dogs, kids, trains, cars, planes, and chickens will kind of find their own place, if you do go outside." (Mule Conversations. Austin Chronicle: Jody Denberg. April, 1999) 

EG: Did the the rooster on Chocolate Jesus get paid? TW: "He was not paid. He's just transient. But I paid him in one form - he's still alive. And now of course, he's considered a big shot in the barnyard. You can't even approach the guy." ("Wider public greets Waits' 'Variations' ". USA TODAY: Edna Gundersen. June, 1999) 

Tom Waits: "On 'Chocolate Jesus' just before the song starts you can hear him (Charlie Musselwhite) talking into the mic. He says, "I love it." That's my favorite part of the song." ("Tradition With a Twist". Blues Revue magazine No. 59 (USA). July/ August, 2000 by Bret Kofford) 

Tom Waits (introducing Chocolate Jesus): "This is a eh… a song for those of you in the audience who have trouble getting up on Sunday morning and going to church... I've discovered something, ehm… it's a candy item. It's actually kind of an immaculate confection. It's eh… there's a cross on one side and there's a bible inscription on the other, and eh… you put it in your mouth and when it's gone you can… get up and leave. So… This is something for the kids on eh Easter. This is called eh the 'Chocolate Jesus'." (Source: "Late Show With David Letterman" (CBS TV show). Date: New York/ USA. September 27, 1999) 

(2) Abba-Zaba/ Almond Joy/ Cup-o-Gold:

- Abba-Zabba: American classic/ retro candy bar "Abba Zaba" manufactured by Annabelle Candy Co., Inc. Further reading: Annabelle Candy official site
- Almond Joy: American classic/ retro chocolate snack manufactured by Hershey Foods Corporation. Further reading: Hershey Foods Corp official site
- Cup of Gold: American classic/ retro chocolate bar "Cup-o-Gold", manufactured by Hoffman's. "Cup-o-Gold has been around since the 1950s. According to the Adams & Brooks website (the company that now distributes the product), Cup-o-Gold was once among the top three selling candies in California, but was retired for a while and despite its recent resurgence, now suffers from "generation gap awareness."
(Thanks to Barry Gruessner for pointing out this reference)

(3) Pick up: v. to stimulate, to invigorate ("Cassell's Dictionary Of Slang". Jonathon Green. Cassel & Co., 1998. ISBN: 0-304-35167-9) Pick-me-up n.: 1. A drink or snack, usu. containing sugar, caffein, or alcohol, taken in the supposition that it will provide energy or stimulation 2. A drink of whisky, esp. as a cure for fatigue or a hangover, to restore confidence. Common use (Dictionary Of American Slang, Wentworth/ Flexner) 

(4) Song could be inspired by: "Jesus Loves Me" (Spiritual, unknown copyright): "Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so Little ones to Him belong They are weak but He is strong Yes, Jesus loves me!  Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so Jesus loves me! He who died Heaven's gate to open wide He will wash away my sin Let His little child come in Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so Jesus loves me! He will stay Close beside me all the way He's prepared a home for me And some day His face I'll see Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so."  

 

Part of the
Tom Waits Supplement
1999-2006