One weekend in early September 2013, Joe, William and I were round my flat when Joe dared us each to write a punk song on the spot. This activity lasted a few minutes, and neither William nor I came up with anything of much cop (I think I tried to rip off Eddie Cochrane’s 1950s hit “Something Else”, which I knew the Sex Pistols had covered).
But Joe came up with this riff…which I in turn appropriated, and eventually, after a few days, turned into this.
Rather than a punk song it sounds more like a 1960s R&B song by a London garage band. Maybe someone like the Yardbirds.
The title “Piece of Me” actually came from the phrase “Piece of Meat”. When we were doodling around the idea of a punk song – and true to the spirit of (some) punk – we were trying to be as offensive as possible by wailing “You’re just a Piece of Meat!” at each other. That became “Piece of Me”, and stopped being about each other and started being about an imagined lover.
(Incidentally, that is often how song motifs and lyrics suggest themselves. I always start with a chord sequence and/or riff. Then I try to sing a melody over that riff – frequently by using stream-of-consciousness nonsense words. This song was born from the latter process!)
The song is ostensibly about sex. But more than that, the protagonist exhibits this over-the-top, almost adolescent enthusiasm for his lover. Or perhaps even an obsessive love.