Ain't found a way to kill me yet
My eyes burn with stinging sweat
Seems every path leads me to nowhere
Wife and kids and household pet
Army green was no safe bet
The bullets scream to me from somewhere


Here they come to snuff the rooster
Yeah here come the rooster
You know he ain't gonna die


Walkin' tall machine gun man
They spit on me in my homeland
Gloria, send me pictures of my boy
Got my pills 'gainst mosquito death
My buddy's breathin' his dyin' breath
Oh God please won't you help me make it through


Here they come to snuff the rooster
Yeah here come the rooster
You know he ain't gonna die


-:o Alice in Chains o:-
-:o Dirt o:-




The lyrics for this modern classic are known by many, but not so many are familiar with the story behind the song, Rooster by Alice in Chains.

Jerry Cantrell, guitarist, singer and songwriter for Alice in Chains, didn't meet his dad until he was three years old. Up until that point his father was fighting for his life in the fetid jungles of Vietnam. Rooster then, is Jerry Cantrell's tribute to his father.

Gloria, send me pictures of my boy

-

The hell he endured on his multiple tours stayed with him for years, but he was not one to talk about it.

Eyes burn with stinging sweat
Seems every path leads me to nowhere

"I asked him about it once, and he said, 'That's dead, son, let it lie.' When I was getting this vibe, thinking about him a lot and the shit he'd lived through: two tours of Vietnam; he's been a prison guard. The guy has lived a life. And I was thinking about the things he might have thought and felt there. It was pretty close. It hit home to him."

-

Though Jerry's father wasn't into rock music in general, he did tour for awhile with the band, introducing the song and generally enjoying the gift his son had felt was necessary and appropriate. He also stars in the music video.

Jerry Sr may have come out of the Jungle alive, but the wounds he endured there stuck with him the rest of his life. He turned to drinking to deal with the pain, and his marriage continued to suffer until his wife divorced him.

"My dad was trained to be a fucking killer," says Cantrell. "After that, you can’t just come back home and say, 'OK, everything’s cool. I’m going to work 9 to 5 now.' That shit scars you forever. We had a lot of problems and occurrences because of that."

Wife and kids and household pet
Army green was no safe bet



- Yeah here come the rooster
You know he ain't gonna die

Roost"er (?), n.

The male of the domestic fowl; a cock.

[U.S.]

Nor, when they [the Skinners and Cow Boys] wrung the neck of a rooster, did they trouble their heads whether he crowed for Congress or King George. W. Irving.

 

© Webster 1913.

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