Alice's Restaurant Massacree

Arlo GuthrieBuy this song

Arlo Guthrie

Arlo Davy Guthrie (born July 10, 1947) is an American folk singer. Like his late father, Woody Guthrie, Arlo is known for singing songs of protest against social injustice. One of Guthrie's better-known works is "Alice's Restaurant Massacree", a satirical talking blues song about 18 minutes in leng… more »

You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant 
You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant 
Walk right in, it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant 

This song is called "Alice's Restaurant 
"It's about Alice, and the 
Restaurant, but "Alice's Restaurant" is not the name of the restaurant,
That's just the name of the song
That's why I call the song "Alice's Restaurant."

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, two years ago, on Thanksgiving, 
When my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the restaurant 

But Alice doesn't live in the restaurant, she lives in the church nearby the 
Restaurant, in the bell tower with her husband Ray and Facha, the dog

And livin' in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of room downstairs 
 Where the pews used to be, and havin' all that room (seein' as how they took 
Out all the pews), they decided that they didn't have to take out their 
 Garbage for a long time.

We got up here and found all the garbage in there and we decided that it'd 
Be a friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump

So we took the half-a-ton of garbage, put it in the back of a red VW 
Microbus, took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction, and headed 
On toward the city dump. Well, we got there and there was a big sign and a 
 Chain across the dump sayin', "this dump is closed on Thanksgiving," and 
We'd never heard of a dump closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in 
Our eyes, we drove off into the sunset lookin' for another place to put the garbage 

We didn't find one till we came to a side road, and off the side of the side 
Road was another fifteen-foot cliff, and at the bottom of the cliff was 
 Another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile was better than 
Two little piles, and rather than bring that one up, we decided to throw 
Ours down. That's what we did

 Drove back to the church, had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat, 
Went to sleep, and didn't get up until the next morning, when we got a phone 
Call from Officer Obie. He said, "kid, we found your name on a envelope at 
The bottom of a half a ton of garbage and I just wanted to know if you had 
Any information about it"

And I said, "yes sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie. I put that envelope 
 Under that garbage." After speakin' to Obie for about forty-five minutes on 
The telephone, we finally arrived at the truth of the matter and he said 
That we had to go down and pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and 
 Speak to him at the Police Officer Station. So we got in the red VW microbus 
With the shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on 
 Toward the Police Officer Station 

Now, friends, there was only one of two things that Obie could've done at 
The Police Officer Station, and the first was that he could've given us a 
 Medal for bein' so brave and honest on the telephone (which wasn't very 
Likely, and we didn't expect it), and the other thing was that he could've 
 Bawled us out and told us never to be seen drivin' garbage around in the 
 Vicinity again, which is what we expected 

But when we got to the Police Officer Station, there was a third possibility 
That we hadn't even counted upon, and we was both immediately arrested, 
Handcuffed, and I said, "Obie, I can't pick up the garbage with these here 
 Handcuffs on." He said "shut up kid, and get in the back of the patrol car"

And that's what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car, and drove to 
The quote scene of the crime unquote

I want to tell you 'bout the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where this is 
Happenin'. They got three stop signs, two police officers, and one police 
Car, but when we got to the scene of the crime, there was five police 
 Officers and three police cars, bein' the biggest crime of the last fifty 
 Years and everybody wanted to get in the newspaper story about it

And they was usin' up all kinds of cop equipment that they had hangin' 
 Around the Police Officer Station. They was takin' plaster tire tracks, 
Footprints, dog-smellin' prints and they took twenty-seven 8 x 10 colored 
 Glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of 
Each one explainin' what each one was, to be used as evidence against us
Took pictures of the approach, the getaway, the northwest corner, the 
 Southwest corner
And that's not to mention the aerial photography!

 After the ordeal, we went back to the jail. Obie said he was gonna put us in a cell

He said "kid, I'm gonna put you in a cell
I want your wallet and your belt"
I said, "Obie, I can understand your wantin' my wallet, so I don't have any 
 Money to spend in the cell, but what do you want my belt for?" and he said
"Kid, we don't want any hangin's
I said, "Obie, did you think I was gonna 
Hang myself for litterin'?"

Obie said he was makin' sure, and, friends, Obie was, 'cause he took out the 
 Toilet seat so I couldn't hit myself over the head and drown, and he took 
Out the toilet paper so I couldn't bend the bars, roll the toilet paper out 
The window, slide down the roll and have an escape. Obie was makin' sure

It was about four or five hours later that Alice (remember Alice? 
There's a song about Alice)
 Alice came by and, with a few nasty words to Obie on the 
Side, bailed us out of jail, and we went back to the church, had another 
 Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat, and didn't get up until the next 
Morning, when we all had to go to court. We walked in, sat down, Obie came 
In with the twenty-seven 8 times 10 colored glossy pictures with the circles and 
 Arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, sat down

Man came in, said, "All rise!" We all stood up, and Obie stood up with the 
Twenty-seven 8 times 10 colored glossy pictures, and the judge walked in, sat 
Down, with a seein' eye dog and he sat down. We sat down

Obie looked at the seein' eye dog then at the twenty-seven 8 x 10 
 Colored glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the 
Back of each one and looked at the seein' eye dog and then at 
The twenty-seven 8 x 10 colored glossy pictures with the circles and arrows 
And a paragraph on the back of each on and began to cry

 Because Obie came to the realization that it was a typical case of American 
 Blind justice, and there wasn't nothin' he could do about it, and the judge 
Wasn't gonna look at the twenty-seven 8 by 10 colored glossy pictures with 
The circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explainin' 
What each one was, to be used as evidence against us

And we was fined fifty dollars and had to pick up the garbage in the snow

But that's not what I'm here to tell you about 
I'm here to talk about the draft 
They got a buildin' down in New York City called Whitehall Street, where you 
Walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected!

I went down and got my physical examination one day, and I walked in, sat 
Down (got good and drunk the night before, so I looked and felt my best when 
I went in that morning, 'cause I wanted to look like the All-American Kid 
From New York City. I wanted to feel like I wanted to be the 
All-american Kid from New York), and I walked in, sat down, I was hung down
 Brung down, hung up and all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly things 

And I walked in, I sat down, they gave me a piece of paper that said "Kid
See the psychiatrist in room 604"

I went up there, I said, "Shrink, I want to kill. I want to kill! I want to see 
 Blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth! Eat dead, burnt bodies! I 
Mean Kill. Kill!"

And I started jumpin' up and down, yellin' "KILL! Kill!" and he started 
Jumpin' up and down with me, and we was both jumpin' up and down, yellin' 
"Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!" and the sergeant came over, pinned a medal on me
Sent me down the hall, said "You're our boy". Didn't feel too good about it

 Proceeded down the hall, gettin' more injections, inspections, detections 
Neglections, and all kinds of stuff that they was doin' to me at the thing 
There, and I was there for two hours three hours four hours I was 
 There for a long time goin' through all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly things 
And I was just havin' a tough time there, and they was inspectin', 
Injectin', every single part of me, and they was leavin' no part untouched!

 Proceeded through, and I finally came to see the very last man. I walked in, 
Sat down, after a whole big thing there. I walked up, and I said, "what do 
You want?" He said, "kid, we only got one question, have you ever been 
Arrested?"

And I proceeded to tell him the story of Alice's Restaurant Massacree with 
Full orchestration and five-part harmony and stuff like that, and other phenomenon

He stopped me right there and said, "kid, have you ever been to court?" And 
I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty-seven 8 x 10 colored glossy 
 Pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one 

He stopped me right there and said, "kid, I want you to go over and sit down 
On that bench that says 'Group W'"

And I walked over to the bench there, and there's Group W is where they 
Put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after committin' 
Your special crime

 There was all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly-lookin' people on the bench there
 There was mother-rapers father-stabbers father-rapers! 
Father-rapers sittin' right there on the bench next to me! And they was mean 
And nasty and ugly and horrible and crime fightin' guys were sittin' there 
On the bench, and the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one the meanest 
Father-raper of them all was comin' over to me, and he was mean and 
Ugly and nasty and horrible and all kinds of things, and he sat down next to 
Me. He said, "Kid, what'd you get?"

I said, "I didn't get nothin'. I had to pay fifty dollars and pick up the garbage."

He said, "What were you arrested for, kid?" and I said, "litterin'"
And they all moved away from me on the bench there, with the hairy eyeball 
And all kinds of mean, nasty things, till I said, "And creatin' a nuisance" 
And they all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time on the 
 Bench talkin' about crime, mother-stabbin', father-rapin', all kinds 
Of groovy things that we was talkin' about on the bench, and everything was fine

We was smokin' cigarettes and all kinds of things, until the sergeant came 
Over, had some paper in his hand, held it up and said
"Kids, this-piece-of-paper's-got-47-words-37-sentences-58-words-we-wanna-
Know-details-of-the-crime-time-of-the-crime-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-
You-gotta-say-pertaining-to-and-about-the-crime-I-want-to-know-arresting-
Officer's-name-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-you-gotta-say"

And he talked for forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he 
Said

But we had fun fillin' out the forms and playin' with the pencils on the 
 Bench there

I filled out the Massacree with the four-part harmony. Wrote it down there 
Just like it was and everything was fine. And I put down my pencil, and I 
 Turned over the piece of paper, and there on the other side in 
The middle of the other side away from everything else on the other 
Side in parentheses capital letters quotated read 
The following words "kid, have you rehabilitated yourself?"

I went over to the sergeant. Said, "Sergeant, you got a lot of god-damned 
Gall to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself! I mean I mean I 
Mean that you send I'm sittin' here on the bench I mean I'm 
Sittin' here on the Group W bench, 'cause you want to know if I'm moral 
 Enough to join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after bein' a 
Litterbug"

He looked at me and said, "kid, we don't like your kind! We're gonna send 
Your fingerprints off to Washington"!

And, friends, somewhere in Washington, enshrined in some little folder, is a 
 Study in black and white of my fingerprints 

And the only reason I'm singin' you the song now is 'cause you may know 
 Somebody in a similar situation

Or you may be in a similar situation, and if you're in a situation like 
That, there's only one thing you can do

Walk into the shrink wherever you are, just walk in, say, "Shrink, you 
Can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant", and walk out

You know, if one person, just one person, does it, they may think he's 
 Really sick and they won't take him

And if two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and 
They won't take either of them

And if three people do it! Can you imagine three people walkin' in, singin' 
A bar of "Alice's Restaurant" and walkin' out? They may think it's an 
Organization!

And can you imagine fifty people a day? I said FIFTY people a day 
Walkin' in, singin' a bar of "Alice's Restaurant" and walkin' out? Friends 
They may think it's a Movement, and that's what it is THE Alices's
 Restaurant anti-massacre movement! And all you gotta do to join is to 
Sing it the next time it comes around on the guitar 

With feelin'

You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant 
You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant 
Walk right in, it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant

Written by: ARLO GUTHRIE

Lyrics © THE BICYCLE MUSIC COMPANY

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Alice's Restaurant Massacree