The song was influenced by Elvis Costello's "Watching the Detectives."
Brett: "Anesthesia is kind of a short story about a guy and a girl who are in love but the girl named Anesthesia is also a metaphor for drugs. And in that song when he says, I've got a little gun, here comes oblivion, the little gun can be a gun. You're not supposed to know whether or not the guy's gotta gun and he's gonna shoot Anesthesia and kill her or you're not sure if the little gun is a syringe and he's gonna shoot it in his arm and achieve oblivion that way. There's several levels ... you never really know if he's gonna shoot her or he's gonna shoot himself. Or if what it really means is that the little gun is a syringe and he's gonna shoot himself up with heroin. So it's a metaphor that almost works on three levels. It's my favorite one."
The Beatles' song You Never Give Me your Money, from Abbey Road (1969), is where the line "1234567 [without 8] all good children go to heaven" comes from. It originally came from am 1899 childrens counting rhyme.
Charlie Manson used to quote this very sentence to his followers and even made them write it in blood after one of their killing sprees. A family member stated in an interview, "The Beatles were spokesman. They were speaking to Charlie, through their songs, letting him know from across the ocean that this is what was going to go down. He considered their songs prophecy, especially the songs in the so-called White Album". About the "delivery man" mentioned in Anesthesia: Steven Parent was unfortunate enough to be arriving at Sharon Tate's house just as Manson's "family" was. Squeaky Fromme and friends killed him before entering the house and killing the others (Voytek Frykowski, Jay Sebring, Sharon Tate and her unborn child). Yet despite the coincidences, Brett assured in an interview that there was "no deliberate Manson reference in Anesthesia".
Anastasia was also the daughter of a Russian tsar at the time of the 1917 revolution. Some think she survived the slaughter of her family, escaped and lived a life of secrecy. In the 1970s, a woman claimed to be Anastasia and she did so until her death recently, but DNA fingerprinting has shown she was actually executed along with the rest of her family. Many have speculated about the possible link between this story and the song but, again, Brett hasn't confirmed this.
Anesthesia was intentionally spelled the American way, not like the British common medical term (Anaesthesia).
The first verse contains the following part:
"Everybody is talking about the girl
Who went and killed the delivery man"
In a show in Berlin (4.13.00) Greg announced Anesthesia saying "here's a song - we don't know what it means but...".
^ https://www.thebrpage.net/media/item.asp?itemID=990. The BR Page - Media: "Bad Religion's Greg Graffin talks the bands 40 years of punk rock"
^ Roger Vulture interview with Brett (1996)
|06/03||added song influence sectiomn - By Stinger66|
|11/18||corrected Beatles ref and clarified spelling - By wrong planet|
|06/02||Added reference for Jay's quote about 'bau' - By Marty|
|06/02||Added the part about Anesthesia intentionally having been spelled like this - By Marty|