lifeblood: socs: 1995-04-24: chickenman (the palace - new haven, connecticut)


listen:

chickenman (17:45) (wav)

amy ray during chickenman:

this is a road song, a real hard road song and i was driving home the other day and i saw this thing in the middle of the road...(pauses)
audience member: everything is all right!
yeah, it is, but for the purpose of this song, let's pretend it's not. let's pretend that you'd be driving down the road and you can never count on one hand all the things you see on the side of the road and in the middle of the road and in the headlights and in your radiator grill and on top of your car and everywhere and there's no bombs going off in any cities and there's nobody dead over there and everything's all right...
we were driving on this tour and it was...it was like the carnage tour, the carnage tour, that's what i like to call these tours where you go into the desert and you see things everywhere and it's almost like they let a zoo out or something and the headlights are just picking up all these things and it's like a video game and it's a drag...
so that's kind of the picture and i'm obsessed with this and we're driving across the southeast, we play in this bar in texas...and funny things happen in houston...i was at a submarine shop in there one time and they were ready to close and this bus full of kids pulled up and i said, "hey, i think those kids are all coming in here for a sandwich." it was like five til nine or something and she says, "they better not, i got a machine gun under the counter!" that's houston. the other part of houston is really good things and...that i haven't experienced yet...what these things are like...so, we're driving from houston and we're gonna go to austin which is like the...sort of a center of the universe for liberals i guess and we're on the way to austin and we're looking for things to do, we're looking out the windows at the flowers and looking on the highway - whoops! don't even look on the highway, don't look at the highway...look out the window at the trees and flowers and drink a milkshake from mcdonalds and stuff my face full of greasy food and this feels great, i'm glad i'm an american...so we saw this flea market, go inside this flea market and i see all these steals, i'm gonna be a capitalist and i'll feel a lot better about everything coz i was feeling pretty low like the time was like really dragging and dragging and dragging and i go in this flea market and it's really fun and i'm walking out the door and on my left i see this massive lawn full of tables and...and it looks, wow, like a lunchroom, a cafeteria at school and instead of food it's material things just sitting all over the place and it's unbelieveable. it's like old record albums and stereo parts and bicycles and cameras and books -
(someone yells something indecipherable from the audience)
i've never had anyone heckle me during this bit...oooh, anyway...
(more heckling, amy pauses)
see, i'm slipping out right now, i'll get back into this....(takes a deep breath and seems to focus) so i'm looking at this yard full of stuff, wow this could be really fun, take a little shopping trip, i could probably spend less than ten dollars and fill up the whole back of the van and not even think about the dead animals and my car and radiators and headlights and weird shit you see all over the place...and this man he walks out of a trailer and he looks really cool, he's got dreadlocks and really cool skin, it's like muddy, kind of it's like he's lain in the bottom of a mud river and just never took a bath...and he's looking good, green eyes, bright bright green eyes and i'm thinking, "this is my savior!" this is the savior of the day, he's the one who's going to share everything with me and he's going to give me this enlightenment like i could never have before and i've found what i'm looking for, i've found what i'm looking for...
so i approach this guy and what am i going to ask this man, what am i going to ask him? i ask him, okay, "sir, can i buy this? how much is this book?" and he said, "hmm, that book's not for sale." he's looking at me and i'm looking at him kind of like, okkaaay, and feeling pretty stupid at this point and i pick something else and i say, "excuse me, but how much is this?" and he says, "that's not for sale either." oh, what can i buy? i point out some bicycle or something and i say, "hey? can i buy that? i mean, what can i buy today? i want to buy something from you, you've got all this really neat stuff, i want to go home with something in my pocket," and he says, "nothin. you're in my front yard."
i felt like a jerk. i wanted to share all the things inside me besides this superficial shit that i've been talking about and buying stuff and selling stuff and putting money in my pocket. i wanted to bring something out of this conversation, something that would really mean something and in my heart i was thinking all these thoughts that seemed so deep and worthy. i was trying to say them and i was trying to spit them out. i wanted to ask him all these questions i wanted to say what do you think when you're driving down the road and you see this dog and it's hit and it's scratching and itching and coughing and there's blood coming out, how do you react? i mean, what are you supposed to do, what's your job as a human being? do you stop do you pick it up do you leave it on the side of the road to die in peace do you let it humiliate itself and just go driving down the road a little further?!?
and i wanted to say, i feel myself changing inside, you know, i'm growing up. here i am super peaceful, pacifist type and all the sudden i'm watching tv and i'm reading my comic books and i feel myself pulling out pulling out pulling out i'm reaching for it, i'm reaching for something i can't have, i'm looking for that gun, i'm looking for that gun, i'm walking down the street and i'm feeling like using it sometimes but i can't stand myself so i back down back down back down back down even further, don't do it, don't do it, so i don't do it...i mean, do you call that aggression when you've got all these violent feelings inside you that you don't share? i mean what do you do about all that anger in you? can you channel it in a good way? do you make yourself feel better about the world? do you go out and still feel peaceful in this world today and i wanted to ask him all this stuff and to say to him...
and there's another thing i've got this woman in my life and i want it to mean something when i die, i won't be erased and she will remember this forever and she's going to live and when i'm six feet underground my eyes are still going to be open wide open wide...when do you think about this? do you ever think about love? do you think about what i think about? i think about the only thing that comes to my mind is that i want to just get in my car and just drive away. i don't care about all the damn animals in the middle of the road! i don't care about all the hate in the world! i don't care about some dumbass bomb that went off and i don't care about race and oppression! i just want to go faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and...
and then i just stopped and walked away.
i walked away.
i was on the road to austin...


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