Shannon wrote 'The Armadillo Song' when he was 15, as an ode to how he felt growing up.
Late Night with Seth Meyers - Season 5

These days, Michael Shannon is well-known for being a singer in addition to an accomplished actor. (Shannon is a member of the indie rock band Corporal.) But everyone starts somewhere and for Shannon, that somewhere was a band called Jehovah's Suspects which he formed with his friends when he was 15 years old.

While visiting Late Night With Seth Meyers on Thursday, Shannon recalled the days of "dixie cups filled with some incorrect amount of alcohol and soda pop" and playing covers of songs by Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin. It was also where, Shannon revealed, he cut his chops writing his first tune.

"I wrote my first song at 15," Shannon said, adding that his band reacted positively to the song because "it was mostly one chord and it wasn't too fast, so it wasn't hard to play." He then proceeded to pull a guitar from behind the couch and serenade the audience with an exclusive performance of "The Armadillo Song."

Seth Meyers and Michael Shannon on 'Late Night With Seth Meyers.'
| Credit: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

With lyrics like "I remember the day when I left home / My momma started crying and my pop gave me a comb / He said you got to look presentable otherwise they don't care / Never seemed to notice we ain't got no hair" and "I'm an armadillo with a hard shell and I was made to roam this desolate hell," Shannon gets deep into the metaphorical imagery that he explained was more personal than factual.

"I imagined an armadillo in the desert struggling to survive, which is how I very much felt as my 15-year-old self," Shannon said. "I could identify with that."

Years later, the actor admitted he visited Cumberland Island on a camping trip where he learned that not only do armadillos live in a lush environment, they actually do have tons of hair — just not on the front part of their bodies. And even though it forced him to take a "good, hard look" at his song, he refused to change it. After all, why mess with iconic art?

Watch the interview and Shannon's performance below.

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