They stab it with their steely knives

from The Eagles – Hotel California Lyrics on Rap Genius


“Excuse me, waiter? I asked for my steak medium rare”

This line’s “steely” adjective is a shoutout to Steely Dan, to reciprocate the lyric:

Turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening

in the Steely Dan song “Everything You Did”.

Steely Dan were known for lyrics that had a rather bitter, cynical view of Hollywood, California, and fame in general – as a cursory glance at the words of Show Biz Kids will show you:

Show business kids making movies of themselves,
You know they don’t give a fuck about anybody else.

Also, “steely knife” conjures up thoughts of using a razor blade to chop up cocaine, or a needle to shoot up heroin. Metaphors for the drug use common of the lifestyle.

I would argue that this line (when followed by the next line) the “beast” is referring to the pain or sorrow that is brought with a luxurious lifestyle. The steely knives are referring to the needle used to inject heroin to “ease the pain” but in the end.. you cannot kill the beast (the things that haunt you).

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