I'm trying to translate an interview with Scottish musician (from Mogwai) Barry Burns and I stumbled upon one sentence which I can't understand.

If Rave Tapes, comes from reminiscing of 90’s dance parties and that whole culture, did you consider having a release show in the kitchen of some squat surrounded by guys in kappa tracksuits trying to eat their own face off?

What does to eat their own face off mean?

Interview can be found here.

4 Answers 4


It's a common phrase in rave culture, meaning something very specific.

Amphetamine-based drugs (like ecstasy) often cause people to gurn in a way that looks like they're chewing or grinding their teeth, whether they have anything in their mouths or not. It's a well-known tell-tale sign that someone is taking such a drug.

  • 1
    +1, this is the correct answer for the given context. Another common way of rendering this is to say somebody is 'chewing their face off'.
    – 568ml
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 10:06

Maybe it means that you've done something that you regret.

However, it can also mean that you want something so desperately that "you can eat your own face off" (not literally of course)


It's slang and it means they're trying to eat all they can eat.

eat one's face off: to eat huge quantities of delicious food for the pure joy of eating.


it means exactly what it says:

people trying to eat their own faces

  • There's obviously a profound meaning in that phrase.
    – Invoker
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 16:12
  • Does it mean, that people are so high on drugs, that they are doing such weird things?
    – marwinXXII
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 16:14
  • @Invoker Oh, right! Well face here obviously represents peoples 'ego' and...pompous...conceited...blah...blah...blah...
    – Mou某
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 16:15
  • 1
    @marwinXXII it means that people are so high on drugs that they will EAT THEIR OWN FACES OFF. Literally. No metaphors.
    – Mou某
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 16:16

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