Cho: 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
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 'til we came to a side road, and off the
side of the side road was 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
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 count upon, and we was
both immediately arrested, and 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 wanna 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 by 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
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
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? This here'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 by 10 colored glossy pictures with the
circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, sat
Man came in, said, "All rise!" We all stood up, and Obie stood
up with the twenty-seven 8 by 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 by 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 by 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 wanna kill. I wanna kill!
I wanna 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
nasty, ugly things, and I was 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 phe...
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 by 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'... NOW!"
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 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
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,
"Littering"' . . . . 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
INGOFFICERSNAMEANDANYOTHERTHINGYOUGOTTOSAY . . ."
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 rehabilated yourself"?
I went over to the sergeant. Said, "Sergeant, you got a lot of
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 ALICE'S RESTAURANT ANTI-MASSACREE MOVEMENT! And
all you gotta do to join is to sing it the next time it comes
around on the guitar.
Copyright Appleseed Music, Inc.
@recitation @political @peace
Alice's Restaurant [Arlo Guthrie]