That's When I Reach for My Revolver

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"That's When I Reach for My Revolver"
Song by Mission of Burma from the album Signals, Calls, and Marches
Released July 4, 1981
Genre Post-punk
Length 3:53
Label Ace of Hearts
Writer(s) Clint Conley
Producer(s) Richard W. Harte
Signals, Calls, and Marches track listing
"That's When I Reach for My Revolver"

"That's When I Reach for My Revolver" is a song by Mission of Burma that was written and sung by band member Clint Conley. It appears on their 1981 EP Signals, Calls and Marches. The Chicago punk band Pegboy covered the song on their 1994 album Earwig, shortening the title to "Revolver." It was later remade by Moby, and reached number fifty on the UK Singles Chart. It was also covered by then Blur guitarist Graham Coxon as well as Rob Dickinson's band Catherine Wheel. Fucked Up covered the song at the Matador at 21 festival in Las Vegas.

The title is a reference to the often-mistranslated quotation commonly attributed to Hermann Göring -- "When I hear the word 'culture', that's when I reach for my revolver" -- the actual quote is "Wenn ich Kultur höre ... entsichere ich meinen Browning!" This translates as: "Whenever I hear [the word] 'culture'... I remove the safety from my Browning!" In fact, it is a line uttered by the character Thiemann in Act 1, Scene 1 of the play Schlageter, written by Hanns Johst. The association with Nazism is appropriate, as the play was first performed in April 1933, in honor of Hitler's birthday. [1]

Catherine Wheel version[edit]

Catherine Wheel recorded a version of "That's When I Reach for My Revolver" for their 1992 EP 30 Century Man. Notably, the song also features slightly altered lyrics from the original, such as the replacement of "The spirit fights to find its way" with "That feeling passes by this way".

Moby version[edit]

"That's When I Reach for My Revolver"
Single by Moby
from the album Animal Rights
B-side "Lovesick", "Displaced", "Sway", "Every One of My Problems", "God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters (Heat Mix)","Dark"
Released August 26, 1996
Recorded 1996
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:55
Writer(s) Clint Conley
Producer(s) Moby
Moby singles chronology
"Bring Back My Happiness"
"That's When I Reach for My Revolver"
"Come on Baby"

Moby covered the song in 1996 and released it as the first single from his studio album Animal Rights. It reached number 50 on the UK Singles Chart.[2]

The original version of "That's When I Reach for My Revolver" had a substantially different lyric. Among which is "Tonight the sky is empty/But that is nothing new/Its dead eyes look upon us/And they tell me we're nothing but slaves." Moby changed the lyrics, and the change most noticeable is the third line ("Instead they look upon us").

Moby provided an alternate vocal track to permit airplay on MTV: with subdued lyrics, the video version was retitled as "That's When I Realize It's Over".[3]

Track listing[edit]


  1. "That's When I Reach for My Revolver" – 3:55
  2. "Lovesick" – 1:05
  3. "Displaced" – 1:25
  4. "Sway" – 6:51


  1. "That's When I Reach for My Revolver (The Rollo & Sister Bliss Vocal Mix)" – 10:20
  2. "Every One of My Problems" – 3:14
  3. "God Moving over the Face of the Waters (Heat Mix)" – 5:45
  4. "Dark" – 4:21
12-inch single
  1. "That's When I Reach For My Revolver (The Rollo & Sister Bliss Vocal Mix)"
  2. "That's When I Reach For My Revolver (The Rollo & Sister Bliss Instrumental Mix)"

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1996) Peak
UK Singles Chart[2] 50

Graham Coxon version[edit]

Graham Coxon recorded a version of "That's When I Reach for My Revolver" for his second album The Golden D, released in 2000. This song was never released as a single but is sometimes used in Coxon's live sets.


  1. ^ List of misquotations
  2. ^ a b "Moby - UK Singles Chart". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  3. ^ Milner, Greg (2002). "The undeniable truth about Burma". Salon. Retrieved 2 October 2013.