Fan Theories

Name: Sarah

what i understand from this song is that even though they have very strong emotions for each and they might love each other,("and there's this burning, like there's always been") they don't necessarily LIKE each other, and they don't get along. by im saying "there's this burning, like there's always been" he's saying that he feels very strongly about her, but by him saying "i've never been so alone, and i've never been so alive" i think that he is stating that they cannot be together, she makes him feel hollow, but he realizes that this is a chance to start again, there are always second chances, no matter what may happen to her. "the surface is everything, but i could never do that, someone would see through that" might mean that they tried their best to put on a show that everything was okay, but it's clearly not, because he knows that once he leaves, it's "the last time we'll be friends again" , he knows that it either all or nothing with her... and he'd rather be alone than see her on the street with one of those awkward moments, so he goes home to where he is comfertable, just surfin, calmly. "i go home, to the coast, it starts to rain i paddle out on the water, alone, taste the salt and taste the pain i'm not thinking of you again" he's trying to forget about her.

Name: *star*

This song is definately about relationships and other hardships and stuff. But the one part that always gets to me is "I lift your head while they change the hospital sheets" and that part never made sense to me, until I got to thinking. I thought about my friend, who died about a year or so ago, we had a relationship as more than friends, and then just as friends, and it scared me, it scared me a lot. And that part reminds me of him. It is about a relationship that's there but they don't realize the feelings are still there, they as in the two people in the relationship, "and their is this burning ahhahhh, their is this burnniinngg ahhh!" You can see how he feels, and how he knows she feels about things he says and does. It's an awesome song...

Name: Vicki

I remember being in my poetry class during my second semester at college. We had presentations going on, and I was so bored while this one group was analyzing a boring poem, I analyzed Motorcycle Drive By instead of paying attention. Hee hee. So here I go...

We start off with Stephan being in lower Chelsea. He already knows it's not good and that he shouldn't be there, when he says "I don't know what I'm doing in this city."

There's mention of the sun which, of course, burns. That could symbolize her kinda being hot to the touch, hard to hold and dangerous to him. Either way, I'm more interested about the fact that he sings "it crashed through the window". We see the harshness of this because the sun usually shines through windows. But, to him, it crashes.

There are signs of problems between the two when he sings "I'm sleeping on the couch when I came to visit you". This is kinda obvious... It things were well, he would not be sleeping on the couch, but in her bed.

"...that's when I knew that I could never have you, I knew that before you did, still I'm the one that's stupid..." I think he's slowly realizing that things aren't going well here. He thinks that this girl doesn't realize it, but he does. Yes, he's stupid, because even though things are bad between the two, he is still hanging around.

"And there's this burning, like there's always been..." We see the mention of the burn again. Funny thing is, he claims that it's always been there, or at least has been there for awhile now. So they've been having trouble for a long time, possibly while she was in NY and he was in SF. "I've never been so alone, and I've never been so alive." We see that this pains him and he hates this, yet he feels free and alive. Why? I guess finally realizing that things are through and admitting it to himself, which I guess he never did, because he always hung around.

"Visions of you on a motorcycle drive by..." is Stephan looking back at past times, where they were in love and carefree. And I take it he loved her attitude on life, which could be what attracted him to her in the first place, a person he too wanted to be. Kinda like the Vertical Horizon song: she was everything inside of him that he wished he could be. Okay, I sidetracked here. Back to the song... Hee hee. He's looking back at this, and he's hoping she'll remember him and those good times, when he says, "I hope you take a piece of me with you."

"And there are things I would like to do that you don't believe in..." Here we see that she doesn't approve of Stephan's choices in life, maybe one of the differences between the two that caused the distance between them. "I would like to build something, but you'll never see it happen": here, it's kinda interesting. You know when men love a woman, they build something for 'em? This could signify that he'd never build something for her because he doesn't love her. Or, he could build something (in Stephan's case, make music, write songs) but with her being gone, she'll never hear 'em.

"Where's the soul, I wanna know, NYC is evil..." He's basically talking about the evils of NYC where the girl is at. "And this is the last time we'll be friends again/I'll get over you and you'll wonder who I am." Here, he is telling her that it's over. He's saying that he will get over her. He's the one who hung around for so long, but he will move forward and when he does, he'll be different man.

My fave part... "I've never been so alone, alone, and I've, and I've, I've never been so alive..." The last "so alive" he sings is so full of longing. It made me wonder, is he over her? He wants to be. He wants to be strong, and claims to be alive, but it seems here by the way he sings, he misses her.

"I go home to the coast it starts to rain I paddle out on the water. Alone." Pretty simple; he goes surfing. Note the "alone". He's still hurting. "Taste the salt and taste the pain, I'm not thinking of you again": the pain is still there (along with the taste of sea water in his mouth), and he's trying to convice himself that he is getting over her. He's not. He can't.

"Summer dies and swells rise", summer is over. I mean, he spent the summer with her and he came back home now. The summer is over. It's gone. She's gone. Yet the swelling, which could signify the longing, is getting bigger and bigger. "The sun goes down in my eyes, see this rolling wave, darkly coming to take me home." We end the song with Stephan on the water. It seems -- to me, anyway -- that he is trying to swim away, as far away as he can, as if wanting to go back to her. But the waves are pulling him back towards the shores of California. His home. Where he is supposed to be.

Motorcycle Drive By

Summer time and the wind is blowing,
Outside in lower Chelsea.
And I don't know
What I'm doing in this city,
The sun is always in my eyes,
It crashes through the windows,
And I'm sleeping on the couch,
When I came to visit you,
That's when I knew,
I could never have you,
I knew that before you did,
Still I'm the one who's stupid,
And there's this burning,
Like there's always been,
I've never been so alone,
And I've
Never been so alive.
Visions of you on a motorcycle drive by,
Cigarette ash flies in your eyes,
And you don't mind,
And you smile,
And say the world doesn't fit with you.
I don't believe you,
You're so serene.
Careening through the universe,
Your axis on a tilt,
Guiltless and free,
I hope you take a piece of me with you,
And there's things I'd like to do
That you don't believe in,
I would like to build something,
You know it's never going to happen,
And there's this burning,
Like there's always been,
I've never been so alone,
And I've never been so alive,
And there's this burning,
There is this burning.
Where's the soul.
I want to know,
New York City is evil.
The surface is everything,
But I could never do that,
Someone would see through that.
And this will be the last time,
We'll be friends again.
I'll get over you and you'll wonder,
Who I am.
And there's this burning,
Like there's always been,
I've never been so alone,
And I've never been so alive,
I go home to the coast.
It starts to rain,
I paddle out,
On the water
Taste the salt and taste the pain.
I'm not thinking of you again,
Summer dies and swells rise,
The sun goes down in my eyes,
See this rolling wave,
Darkly coming to take me,
And I never been so alone,
And I've
Never been so alive.

Song Info


Kevin Cadogan: Guitar
Stephan Jenkins: Songwriter, Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Drums, Programming
Arion Salazar: Bass, Vocals
Michael Urbano: Drums
Eric Valentine: Programming

Can Be Found On:

Third Eye Blind, 1997

Alternative Versions

Third Eye Blind, 1997

Band Comments:

"That song started as a journal entry made on a trip to New York to visit a girl I used to go out with. Needless to say, the trip didn't work out. I went back to San Francisco and went surfing which is what the last verse is about and wrote the song." - Stephan Jenkins