Story Behind the Song: Relient K's Matt Thiessen Talks About 'My Girlfriend'
With the chorus "Marilyn Manson ate my girlfriend/ Satan consumed her mind, and he may do it again," the hit single "My Girlfriend" could be considered one of the most unusual "love" songs in Christian music history. Relient K’s guitarist/vocalist/chief songwriter Matt Thiessen wrote the song when he was 15 (before the Ohio-based group had even formed), inspired by a female friend who lived eight hours away in Pennsylvania.
Thiessen is quick to explain, "It wasn’t a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship, but it was a friend who was a girl. We had a relationship where we would talk a lot on the phone. Sometimes we would talk about things of deeper consequence, of spiritual matter and usually just kind of seeing where God was taking us in the future.
"After a while, though, things started to change with her," he continues. "She started getting so into [Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson] that an obsession grew out of it. And through this she changed her lifestyle [and] what she believed in."
This change in mindset eventually led to Thiessen’s "girl friend" being expelled from school, getting kicked out of her house and moving into a youth detention center. "Through it all she had this new-born dislike for me and what I believed in," says Thiessen, now 21. "She felt that Christianity was stupid and just this big hypocrisy. Being young and impressionable, I just wrote this little, stupid song, but that was the way I dealt with it—writing this song about how she got so consumed by Marilyn Manson."
The song, which came from a very sad chapter in Thiessen’s adolescence, resonated with many listeners when it debuted on the group’s freshman album in 2000. The song’s music video even received a Billboard Music Video Award and a Dove Award nomination.
Still, the group’s references to Marilyn Manson caused a mild controversy. Thiessen recalls, "Some moms didn’t want their kids listening to our records and stuff, but that’s expected. People look for stuff like that sometimes just because they want to be safe all the time."
Today, Relient K continues to play the song for its fans who continue to request it. "A lot of kids like it," confirms Thiessen. "We’re a little tired of it, but it’s still a fun song." He adds, "You know how a lot of bands have their cliché one song about a girl, the relationship that went wrong or all that stuff? We don’t actually have any of those right now. I think we may in the future. You never know how it goes."