lifeblood: socs: 1995-04-25: chickenman (mid-hudson civic center - poughkeepsie, new york)


listen:

chickenman (9:32) (wav)

amy ray during chickenman:

i've never been afraid of movement; but i've always been afraid of dying. this song's about movement causing everything else around you to die...and how bad it feels....we used to go on tour in this car and sometimes we'd drive up the east coast and up into canada....we were in toronto one time and saw a woman get beat up on the sidewalk and i was jogging, taking a run..and i ran right past her. so it was bad at the time, you know. we used to drive to athens to make records and on the way, it's like, it's like you saw a whole herd of deer on the road, just layin'...one after another, one every ten yards. and i just wondered like: what in the world are we doing? is this a road or is this a pasture? but we were driving on it cause we had to get somewhere. so how deep can you go? so we go on tour in the southeast. and we traveled all these backroads throughout mississippi and, boy, you could see the opossoms like nothing else, it was just like one after another, bam! bam! bam! i've never hit a opossem..i don't know how i've gone my whole life not hitting a opossem..i've never even hit a dead opossem. they're easy to see. you come up right on 'em, you slow down and you go around 'em. no problem. it's the jack rabbits i have problems with and the pararie dogs, always had trouble with those. they're real fast and they're in families of ten and if you miss the first two you'll hit the last eight. (laughter) it's disgusting! i got all these things running through my head and we're driving down the road and we're going to play in houston, texas...and i'm thinking: one these days we won't have to drive and i won't have to cover my eyes up when i'm driving down the road. so i can miss all the carnage in the way. never knew that when you get in a tour bus you stay up all night in your bunk listening for the smack of the of the dog on the windshield. up chuck all night long. until you find that one driver you can trust who never hits anything, ever. it's amazing. so there's an evolution to this obsession. i started thinking about all these animals and all of a sudden i was going around looking at the front of my car, counting all the bugs in the headlights and air filter and, god, and then if you take an airplane you don't know what you're hitting. there's just no way! so i figured walking's probably the thing if you can look for bugs on the ground. ... so we were setting up in houston, we were going to play this bar and we think we're in this big room. but we're going to play the downstairs room which is real small. it's about the size of the bathroom...not that's small, it's about the size of the stage, the front part of the stage. and we're going to play down there and we're feeling pretty good about it, even though they moved us from the big room to the small room we're going to have a good show! there were only a couple of people there and we thought, oh, maybe it's not so good. i remember when we got to the place where we were going to stay that night it ended up being a brothel, we thought 'this is really stinkin'. so we're in this mindset, you know. we're thinking about things like carnage and how much fast food we've eaten and the bubble gum wrappers on the floor board of the car and the brothel we stayed in last night and the sound system all crammed into the back of our car and all this stuff and guitars are out of tune cause you can't afford another one yet and we're driving down the road, we're heading up to austin cause we're going to feel ... better. austin, land of dreams, land of liberals and conservatives walking down the road together hand in hand, black and white, straight and gay, no qualms, no nothing (applause). but i'm heavy, i'm heavy at this time because, even though we're driving down the highway full of wildflowers, i see all these things on the side of the road...just can't stop thinking about them, i'm thinking why in the world am i so obsessed with these things and what can i do to get this out of my head and so we stop at this fleamarket cuz, everybody knows, if all else fails, you can go shopping and you'll feel better. in a fleamarket, even the most spiritual person loves to go shopping. i was in this fleamarket and i was looking around. i didn't find anything, so, coming out, emily was asleep in the van, so i'm thinking: what else can i do? so, i look up at the sky, nothing in the sky, look at the ground, nothing on the ground. look to my left i see this, oh my god, look at that! it's a whole field with banquet tables laid out and all these things, just everywhere! it's like the biggest yard sale you've ever seen. i couldn't believe it. it's like, bingo!, this is my lucky day. yea! so i was wandering through these tables, you know, weaving in and out, looking at all the stuff. in the back of the yard, i found these really cool, groovy motorcycle parts, and i thought, wow, this is it here, i'm going to find that '57 strat that i've never found for $50 bucks, you know...ha, puzzels and books and stuff...and i see this old guy walking out of a trailer. look up at him and i think, hum, this must be the proprietor of this yard sale. and he looks really cool. he looks like all roadkills in his hair from 50 years...he was just saving it all, waiting for the time when he evolves into something else. and i'm looking at this guy and i'm thinking: this guy is really cool. i'm going to talk to this guy. maybe if i ask him about the prices and stuff, maybe i could break into a conversation about what he's doing living on the side of the highway and why he's giving this big yardsale here. so i walk over to him and i hold up a book or something and i say, "excuse me, sir, but how much is this book?" and he says, "eh, that's not for sale," in a real gravelly voice, kinda like he squeaks or, i don't know, but anyway, so i think, ok, so i hold up something else and i say "how much is this? there's no price tag on this so how much is it?" and he says, "oh that's not for sale." and i said, "ok, alright, striking out, here. well, what can i buy?" and he looks at me and says "nothing." and like, "why not?" and he says "cuz you're in my front yard." (laughter) boy, do i feel as white as the snow! ha. here i am, i'm a 20-year old still learning how to be polite. i'm rude, i'm a trespasser, and i'm thinking unspiritual thoughts about this man with the cool hair. so i think i am going to make this all better. i'm going to talk to this man. this guy is probably like my guru or something and if i pass up this chance i'll never forgive myself....so i've got all these thoughts running around in my head, and i just want to, want to say somethings, break it all out, make it better than this base item of tourism that i'm clinging to. so i'm thinking all these things and i'm looking into his eyes, i just want to ask him so many things, and i want to tell him what i've been going through. i just want to say that ever since i was 12 i'd wake up in the middle of the night and couldn't believe it, couldn't believe it...all of a sudden i realized that one day, one day i wasn't going to be here anymore. a true friend of mine, when i was 15, she got hit by a train and her daddy died too, and i just couldn't believe it in my mind, and it swims around inside me and i went back the other way and i got a little passive for the rest of my life, and i could handle it. and what do you think about this spirituality stuff that makes you feel all calm inside? i mean, do you meditate and look up in the sky and see the stars and the moon and think about all the things you could believe in? but do you look out on your world and you see this dog get hit by a car. and its itching ... and scratching... and growling ... and barking. and you feel so bad! you just want to take a knife and just cut their throat cause you can't believe the world can be so evil! .... but you don't do that, do you? you think about yourself instead. you think about yourself and you go la, lah, ... la, lah, ... la, lah, ... la, lah...oh, you're thinking of yourself, you're so passive and peaceful. but all of a sudden you're watching tv, you're watching things the same way as i am. you're reading this comic book. you find yourself picking up your gun and walking down the street and looking for someone to shoot. and you feel really good about it...your head is spinning, you want anger, you're thinking eternity, you want to channel it that way. and you're wrong! but you don't feel like you're wrong. you don't feel like you're wrong. because everything in the world just turns to red inside my head sometimes. and i feel like i could just bust wide open. and who cares about this peace and who cares about that stupid dog lying in the middle of the road? and who cares about every animal i've ever hit in my life? and who cares about that woman who got beat up on the sidewalk? i just want to drive...i just want to go faster...i just want to leave this all behind...i just want to go! go! go! go! go! go! go! ... i can't do it. and i don't say anything. like every other time, i walk away.
i was on the road to austin...


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