Colin Meloy

American musician

Colin Meloy (born October 5, 1974) is the lead singer and songwriter for the folk rock band The Decemberists.

Colin Meloy performing at a Washington music festival in 2006.


  • Well, I think it is accidental. It’s just something I started doing naturally and it had a lot to do with reading. I think that Dylan Thomas, his prose and poetry, was a big influence on me. Just his use of words… He would use so many odd words: like these three- and four-syllable words that you just don’t normally hear. And they’re not used in a manner that sets the text apart from the reader. Rather they’re drawing the reader in. It’s entirely based on the alliteration of the word itself—onomatopoeia and things like that. I feel like a lot of the words I use don’t stick out in the song because they keep the feel of the song in mind. The rhythm—that’s the primary thing. They’re put in there for rhythm and alliteration as much as they are for meaning. And as long as they are not used extraneously, they’re real lightning rods for people listening to the lyrics. If the words are really helping out the rhythm of the song then all they’re going to do is draw the listener in even more
  • Well, I think you just have to be prepared to be weirder and weirder. I follow the example of Robyn Hitchcock who, I think, has created a career out of this world he has constructed. It’s very much his world, and he continually builds upon it. I think he’s received criticism in the past along the lines of, “Oh, here’s another Robyn Hitchcock record about flesh and fish,” and things like that, but in fact if you really look at the songs, they’re just the building blocks for this very complex, very vibrant, and very real world that exists within his songwriting. So I look to him for inspiration.


  • My mother was a Chinese trapeze artist in pre-war Paris
    Smuggling bombs for the underground.
    And she met my father at a fete in Aix-en-Provence;
    He was disguised as a Russian cadet in the employ of the Axis.
    • My Mother was a Chinese Trapeze Artist (5 Songs - 2001)
  • Find him, bind him, tie him to a pole and break his fingers to splinters,
    Drag him to a hole until he wakes up naked
    Clawing at the ceiling of his grave.
    • The Mariner's Revenge Song (Picaresque - 2005)

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