A proto-version of Inertia Creeps was originally written by Massive Attack and given to Manic Street Preachers to be sung by rhythm guitarist and lyricist, Richey Edwards in early 1994. Since Edwards had a reputation for being volatile and unpredictable, Massive Attack were unsure of how receptive Edwards would be to the song. However, to their surprise, Edwards was enamored with Inertia Creeps, and recorded a version with Manic Street Preachers. This version was shelved until 1998, when it appeared on the single release of Massive Attack’s version.
After taking a short break in July from the 1997 tour in Turkey, Massive Attack would return to Bristol with cassettes of Turkish music which would be the inspiration for what would eventually become Inertia Creeps. They used the Manic Street Preachers track from 1994 as the basis to hang the Turkish sample on. The Turkish music was overheard by Massive Attack at a belly dancer club in the Turkish capital Istanbul and the very percussive nature of it piqued 3D’s interest immediately. The lyrics for the song had already been written several months before and the Turkish music backing track would serve as an appropriate musical canvas for his thoughts on one of his own personnel dysfunctional relationships he had had in the past.
Inertia Creeps was the fourth and final single released from Mezzanine.
John Bush of Allmusic, in his review of Inertia Creeps stated “it could well be the highlight, another feature for just the core threesome. With eerie atmospherics, fuzz-tone guitars, and a wealth of effects, the song could well be the best production from the best team of producers the electronic world had ever seen.”
Inertia Creeps was first played live on the 1998 Mezzanine tour.
It is also a perennial favourite of Massive Attack’s being on practically every live setlist on every subsequent tour since. It’s placement at shows is always towards the end, usually being the fourth or third last song played at each show.
Manic Street Preachers Version – This remix by Welsh working class rockers, the Manic Street Preachers was also their first ever remix for another band. Massive Attack would also repay the favour and simultaneously remix their own song “If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next”. Included on all single releases.
Alpha Mix – Melankolic labelmates and fellow Bristolians offer up their own chilled-out remix. Included on all single releases.
Back/Shecomes – This remix is in fact a Mad Professor mix done incognito, probably done as the name Mad Professor was getting to synonymous with Massive Attack remixes, at the time. Included on all single releases.
State Of Bengal Mix – This remix done by British/Asian DJ and producer Sam Zaman who emphasizes even further the middle eastern ethnic sounds contained in the regular version. Included on all single releases.
Radio Edit – A truncated version of the song for radio playback. Trims off the beginning and end of the song. Included only on the promo CD release, until the arrival of the Singles 90/98 Box Set where this edit would be included.
Inertia Creeps uses a sample from the opening few seconds of the song “Rockwrok” by Ultravox. It appears primarily on their 1973 release Ha!-Ha!-Ha! It is not credited officially by Massive Attack.
3D on the high tempo percussion used on Inertia Creeps – “It was to drive the music forward, so that it went on and on, but the vocals are meant to pull it back a bit and it suggests this kind of stillness that’s trying to settle” [Mezzanine Interview Disc - March 1998]
3D on the meaning behind Inertia Creeps – “It was just about a relationship I had been going through. It’s about being in a situation but knowing you should be out of it but you’re too fucking lazy or weak to leave. And you’re dishonest to yourself and dishonest to the other person. You’re betraying them everyday and the whole scene feels like it’s closing in on you. The idea is a combination of movements propelling yourself forward and pulling yourself back at the same time. That’s what the track’s, about—a fucked up relationship basically and there it is.” [Innerviews.org – September 1998]
Recollect me darling raise me to your lips. Two undernourished egos four rotating hips. Hold on to me tightly, I’m a sliding scale. Can’t endure then you can’t inhale. Clearly. Out of body experience interferes. And dreams of flying I fit nearly. Surrounds me though I get lonely. Slowly. Moving up slowly. Inertia keeps. She’s moving up slowly. Slowly. Moving up slowly. Inertia creeps. Moving up slowly. She comes. Moving up slowly. She comes. Moving up slowly. Inertia creeps. Moving up slowly. She comes. Moving up slowly. Moving up slowly. In my home no chrome as clear as. See me now with my nearest dearest. Been there when I’m over careering. Room shifting is endearing. Between us is our kitchen. Where she found my irritant’s itching. Been here before. Been here forever. Moving up slowly. Inertia keeps. Moving up slowly. Inertia creeps. Moving up slowly. Inertia keeps. Moving up slowly. She comes. Moving up slowly. Moving up slowly. She comes moving up slowly. Inertia creeps moving up slowly. She comes. I make no sound in my eiderdown. Awake I lie in the morning’s blue. Room is still my antenna in you. Nylon burns the bedspread with two. Gravity’s zero see me stall. I bounce off walls lose my footing and fall. It can be sweet though incomplete though. And the frames will freeze. See me on all four’s. It’s been a long time. She comes. She comes. She comes. I want to x you. She comes. I want to x you. I caught your radio waves. I caught your radio waves. Will you take a string. Say you string me along. Say you string me along. Say inertia creeps. Inertia creeps and she comes. Say she comes (x4)
Some internet websites such as the IMDB list the Hollywood actress Mira Sorvino as being the “dark-haired femme fatale” in the Inertia Creeps video. This appears to be a mistake as the actress who appears in the video bears no resemblance to Mira Sorvino. In fact, the identiity of the actress is still unknown.
This would be the first and only video directed by ‘The Wiz’ for Massive Attack. ‘The Wiz’ is the pseudonym of an acclaimed music video director from the UK. Inertia Creeps was only his third proper music video, but he has since gone on to direct for the likes of The Chemical Brothers, Leftfield and Oasis. His real name is kept secret and his pseudonym has been slightly modified since doing the Inertia Creeps video from ‘The Wiz’ to just ‘W.I.Z’.
On some press materials at the time of the videos release, the full name of the video was stated as “Inertia Creeps (Nighttime Version)”. This extra appendage (which might suggest that an alternative version of the video exists, which does not though appear to be the case) was dropped by the time the video was released on Eleven Promos.
The video camera being used to film the apparent “snuff movie” in the promo video is a Sony Steady Cam DV model.
Quotes About The Video
3D on his feelings toward the video for Inertia Creeps – “That was quite a minimal, dark video which was also fun to do” [The Raft - November 2001]
MTV Europe 1998 Live Performance
Jo Whiley Show 1998 Live Performance
Meltdown Festival 2008 Live Performance
Melt Festival 2010 Live Performance
Clip From The 1999 Movie “Stigmata” Featuring Inertia Creeps On The Soundtrack
Clip From The 2004 Movie “Taking Lives” Featuring Inertia Creeps On The Soundtrack
Clip From The Pilot Episode Of The TV Series “Taking Lives” Featuring Inertia Creeps On The Soundtrack