Would The USC Marching Band Care So Much About 'Tusk' If They Knew It Was About A Penis?
USC kicks off its college football season with a matchup against the University of Alabama next weekend. Aside from what's sure to be a real clash of the titans on the field, there's already some #drama brewing between the marching bands over who has more of a "right" to play "Tusk," the brassy Fleetwood Mac hit from the 1979 album of the same name. The feud was investigated by the L.A. Times, which explained that the University of Alabama is located in Tuscaloosa—get it, TUSC-aloosa—and have an elephant as a mascot; therefore, they can claim some rights to "Tusk."
But the USC marching band played on the original recording of "Tusk," even appearing in the music video, which was filmed at Dodger Stadium. Pretty legit.
Plus, the song is such a signifier of Trojan excellence that many USC students reportedly "listen to 'Tusk' in headphones while they bike to exams, to get themselves pumped," according to the Times.
Either way, it's pretty interesting that these two bands are fighting over a song about Mick Fleetwood's erect penis!
That specific penis was a key player in the actual theme of the song, too, which is about the affair that went on between Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks, which didn't make Nicks' ex Lindsey Buckingham (the song's primary writer) very happy. From 'The Penguin Lyric Interpretations':
It has been well-documented that Mick believes the word "Tusk" is analogous to the male sexual organ. That imagery is indeed consistent with the overall theme of the song and makes an appropriate title (it especially goes along with the "Real savage-like" cry mid-song). But if "Tusk" was indeed symbolic of a penis, than why make it necessary to cry it, and, for that matter, keep repeating it? Tusk goes beyond a restatement of the male genitalia. Lindsey, unable to straightforwardly expose Stevie and Mick for what they are, accuses them ambiguously with one word instead, a word symbolic of the lust and desire and deceptiveness of their affair. He has found a way of saying, "I know what you two are doing, I know where Mick goes at night, I know who's on the phone, I know who's on his throne!!!!!!"