lifeblood: socs: 1995-04-15: chickenman (warner theater - erie, pennsylvania)


listen:

chickenman (with sandy garfinkel) (cut) (13:25) (wav)

amy ray during chickenman:

this song is about touring, about touring as a human being, we all tour, all of us tour, all of us in this room, we're all on tour, moving from one place to another, taking in things, it changes you, changes your heart, changes your mind. some of the things that have changed me, some of the things that have changed you. i was running down the street in toronto, we were playing up in toronto, that's in canada, i was running down the street the street clings to me clings to me i was driving running a seven minute mile running a seven minute mile, pass by a woman on the sidewalk, she's been beat up, and i'm running a seven minute mile. i saw a median on the highway and there's a cat, trying to cross the road, and i think, pick up the cat put it in the car, take it home. cat crosses the median, car comes down the road. i got six dogs at home, and five cats, but now i have four cats, and three dogs. get the picture? sometimes we can't all exist in this world together in the same place. these are the things we think about. these are the things we think about. driving through georgia, through alabamia, to mississippi, to louisiana, stopping off in new orleans. meanwhile we're driving driving driving and all those little bugs are getting caught in the grill of the car, and the headlights and they're all smeared all over the windows, and i'm thinking about life as big of your own, and then you look at the window and think oh man this is really i can't even, i can't even start thinking about this cause cause there's all these bugs and amoebas sitting on my window. think about it, tomorrow when you're driving around, you think about it. and then you pass by a fire truck on the side of the road, and there's a car on fire and you think, oh who cares about the bugs? and then you look at the window and think okay, the bugs, i'm thinking about the bugs. so these are the things i was thinking about as we were driving from houston up to austin texas for a show. i was counting by numbers, i was counting skins on the side of the road. i wasn't counting flowers or the stars or the sky, or all my past lives or my family members. i was counting the dead things in my life. obsession, obsession. i was thinking about the french fries spread all over the floorboard of the car. i was thinking about giving up meat.
so years ago, this was years ago, i'm thinking about the next gig, and it's weighing down cause we're going, you know, all these things, if we could just hop from one place to another and not see all these things, i call it carnage, all the carnage in my life. so i'm thinking about things to cheer me up and i'm thinking all right, i know we'll go find some really cool stores. and we're driving down this really small highway in texas, i think it's a town called bastrop, or balstop, i can't remember, but anyway, we stop by this flea market, and we're gonna go in and we're gonna shop, shop shop shop shop, and it's gonna make us feel better, cause you know how that is, you feel better when you spend a your money. it's something like a weird balancer of life. we all die, and we all spend money. it's very interesting. cause no matter how spiritual you are, if you get into a thrift store and you spend less than ten dollars on your whole wardrobe, you feel accomplishement about that. so this is the thing, this is going to happen, gonna go into the flea market, look around a little bit, come back outside ....look across the road and sorta right next door to this flea market and i see this big field spread out with all these tables and it's like (?) tables like when you used to eat lunch at church or school or something and.. well these really big ones and there's about half an acre of land filled up with these tables, couple of trailers couple of dogs maybe, i don't know, some trees and dirt. and it was like your basic highway sort of house type themework of the area. so i'm thinking this looks really cool, and i'm going over and i'm going through all these tables and all of a sudden i start to feel better cause i'm thumbing thorugh these books and it's like someone else held these in their hand and feeling good and i'm looking at these cameras and these old bicycle parts and these old mixers and old clothes and i'm thinking wow, wow this is a mistake and i feel better, i feel better. and i look across at this trailer, and i see this man he walks out of the trailer, and he's got long hair, and it's all matted and dirty and there's like bugs and dirt and grass and leaves and all this stuff with the lights on all sitting right in his hair and i'm thinking that is really cool. that is really cool, like that is a really cool guy. i was checking out his flea market, he's gonna come over to me and we're gonna have a conversation, and i'm going to a connection with this person, who is cooler than i could ever be in a thousand lifetimes i could never be this cool, i could never go fifty days without a bath and have the dirt piled up on my skin and have no shirt and just these ratty old jeans on and have my hair coming down to my waist and these eyes bright green, bright green eyes, bright green eyes. and this guy comes over and i'm thinking, who is this guy? i've got to talk to this guy, this is a real (?) what can i do, what can i say. i'm gonna say somthing to this man. okay, ask him how much this book is, that's what you do amy, you ask him how much this book costs. you open a conversation with a polite question. you're going to spend money at this man's establishment, and he's gonna talk to you, he's gonna feel good about it. so i say "excuse me sir, how much is this book?" and he says "the book's not for sale". oh, great. okay. well, where's emily? emily's asleep in the car. okay. "excuse me, sir, how much is this bicycle tire?" "not for sale either". oh, okay, maybe it's his bike. camera. "excuse me, sir, can i buy this camera from you?" he says "no" and i say "why not?" i mean i mean i want to buy something today is this not for sale, well, what is for sale, what can i buy?" and he says "nothin'. you're in my front yard."
oh great, i'm thinking, oh great, oh great, you know what goes through your head, you're being rude, you're trespassing, you're middle class you're white, oh jesus christ, i'm a christian(?), at the time, so what i say is okay, what am i going to say? i want to make a connection today i want to make a connection with this person. and i know these things running around my head, my heart, i'm looking up at the sky, i'm look out at the road, and i'm thinking about all these things i want to talk to this man about, i'm gonna get inside this man, inside his soul, he's gonna get inside me, and it's gonna be the great connection and we're just gonna fly off together and it's gonna happen and it's gonna be the big symbolic thing i've been waiting for all my life. so i'm talking ot this guy, talking inside my head, inside my head i'm talking. and i want to tell him about all the changes, all the things. i want to ask him questions, i want to tell him how i really feel, i want to tell him secrets, really deep secrets. i want to tell him......i think about this all the time....i'm six feet under....i think about this all the time... i have these dreams that i'm a serial killer and i kill like six people and i can't stand it and i hurt and there's pain, and it hurts really bad, and sometimes i think, what? what are you, what are you, some kind of a...jerk? yeah, you're some kind of a jerk, amy. cause here i am in my life, i (?) up, i'm this great big pacifist, i'm independent, i'm self- reliant, and nothing can change me, the way i am. i go out into the street, and i see these people walking around with guns in the hands, and it effects me, it changes me, it makes me want to have a gun in my hand. and i say this isn't gonna change me. i can watch what i want on t.v., i can listen to what i want to listen to. i can experience the dark side, and i'll never be touched. but i'm wrong, cause i feel myslef switching inside my heart, and i fell all these comic books i've read, pouring down like rain on top of my head, i feel that man killing that woman, i feel that woman screaming in terror, and when i look out on the road, i see a dog get hit by a car, i feel that dog scratching and barking and it hurts me but it doesn't make me slow down, and it doesn't make me stop what i'm thinking, it makes me go give me more give me more cause i'm getting numb, i'm getting numb, i want more pain i want more sorrow, i want to go faster, i want to go faster i want to go faster i want to go faster i want to go faster...
i don't care, i can't do it. i walk away, i don't say anything. up is a sign in the sky, spray paint letters on cardboard on two poles and it says "chickenman", and my heart is full again.
i was on the road to austin...


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