Arlo Guthrie

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You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant.

Arlo Guthrie (born July 10, 1947) is an American folk singer, and the son of Woody Guthrie, most famous for his song the Alice's Restaurant Massacree.


Can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singing a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement. And that's what it is, the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement…
  • For one minute, think of the last guy. Nobody's got it worse than that guy. Nobody in the whole world. He's so alone in the world, that he doesn't even have a street to lay in for a truck to run him over.
    • Spoken on the live Recording titled "Arlo"
  • Be serious. Folk songs are serious. That's what Pete Seeger told me. "Arlo, I only wanna tell you one thing. Folk songs are serious." And I said "Right."
    • Spoken on the Track "The Story of Reuben Clamzo" on the album One Night.
  • It's about the time I was riding my Motorcycle, going down a mountain road at 150 miles an hour, playing my guitar.
    • Spoken during some performances of the Motorcycle song, on how he wrote the song. Found on recordings on "Arlo, Live in Sydney, and the Significance of the Pickle".
  • Back around 1971, I was playing in a bar in Chicago one night, and after the show, I was packing up my guitar and stuff, and I was walking out the door, and a little guy stopped me. And he said, "Arlo, before you leave, I wanna sing you a song." I said "Come on man, I don't wanna hear no songs. I hate songs. I don't even like my songs! Why should I like your songs?" I was just tired, I wanted to get out of there, I was being a butt-head. He said, "Arlo, I just wanna sing you one song." I said, "Tell you what. Buy me beer. I'll sit here and drink it. As long as it lasts, you can do whatever you want." He said, "That sounds like a good deal." I said "It does?" It turned out to be one of the finer beers of my entire life.
    • Arlo talking about his first meeting with Steve Goodman, who would perform to him "The City of New Orleans" (Live in Sydney)
  • [My mother] said, "Arlo, I was out in the middle of China. And they brought out these school kids, and they started singing us songs, and they started singing 'This Land is Your Land', and I said 'STOP! Stop the song! My husband wrote that song!" She must have drove them nuts! She was driving me nuts about it! It was weeks after she had got back she hadn't slowed down about it one little bit! And I just looked at her and I said, "You know, the New York Island. What are they singing it for over there anyhow?" She just looked with one of those Mom kind of looks. She said, "Oh Arlo..." She walked away. I was left standing there feeling like my usual self. I knew she was right, but I just didn't know why. After a while though, it come to me. I could see it, just because it said "California to the New York Island", didn't mean it had to go the short way! I could see it going around back! Redwood Forests, Gulf stream waters, around that way! Then the whole world could be singing that song! Except America.
    • Talking about the song "This Land is Your Land" which was his father's most famous song, and his mother's trip to China. (Live in Sydney)
  • We went back, afterward, after the show was over that night, I took my kids backstage and said, "You know what? I know my dad's songs..."
    • Talking about an unsuccessful performance of Alice's Restaurant Massacre, and how his children who were onstage for the performance did not know how to help him. (Live in Sydney)
  • I froze in time! And I thought "My God......I'm free!"
    • Talking about his daughter, Sarah Lee learning Alice's Restaurant Massacre. (Live in Sydney)
  • I'm thinking that somewhere around the world, I remember after this 9/11 event back home, people didn't feel much like playing, singing, people didn't feel like going out. But then I thought you know, that somewhere in the world, somebody's hiding behind a rock or a tree, or a wall, or something, and somebody else has been shooting at them for quite some time. Somebody's dreaming, somebody's hoping that somewhere, somebody's singing. Somebody's smiling, and laughing, and life is good, and it's fun to be a human being, and it's all right. And I thought man we got to keep that spirit going, you know, and so we got back out on the road. But I think of that every time that we play now. It would be nice to go anywhere in the world to go and do these kind of things and have fun and live right and not be worried about stuff like that. That's my hope, that everywhere in the world that will happen soon.
    • Statements said on "Live in Sydney" before playing "Highway in the Wind"
"The Alice's Restaurant Massacree" is a satirical story told by Arlo Guthrie to a repeated melody on his guitar involving him and the draft. The events are true, and they took place on Thanksgiving Day in 1965. It is Arlo's most famous work in music, and each performance lasts nearly 20 minutes, or even longer. Through the years, he has added or improved other elements into the song.
  • 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
    • The Chorus of the song. The only part that is actually sung in the song. At the end of the performance, after the first line is sung, Arlo will quickly add in the phrase "Excepting Alice."
  • 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 called this song "Alice's Restaurant."
    • First line to each performance.
  • Alice doesn't live in the restaurant, she lives in the church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and Fasha the dog. And living in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Having all that room, seeing 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 came to a side road, and off the side of the side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we decided to throw ours down.
  • Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at the police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very likely, and we didn't expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out and told us never to be see driving garbage around the vicinity again, which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer's 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 don't think I can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on." He said, "Shut up, kid. Get in the back of the patrol car."
  • I want tell you about the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where this happened here, 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, being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to get in the newspaper story about it.
  • And they took twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining 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.
  • ...And it was about four or five hours later that Alice — Remember Alice? It's a song about Alice.
  • They got a building down New York City, it's called Whitehall Street, where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected. I went down to get my physical examination one day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning.
  • And I walked in and sat down and they gave me a piece of paper, said, "Kid, see the psychiatrist, room 604." And I went up there, I said, "Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL." And I started jumping up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL," and he started jumping up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL." And the Sargent came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy."
  • Group W's where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father rapers!
  • And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean 'n' ugly 'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me and said, "Kid, whad'ya get?" I said, "I didn't get nothing, I had to pay $50 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, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I said, "And creating a nuisance." And they all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time on the bench.
  • I went over to the Sargent, said, "Sargent, you got a lot a damn gall to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'm sitting here on the bench, I mean I'm sitting here on the Group W bench 'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after being a litterbug."
  • If you're in a situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's 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, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singing a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singing a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement. And that's what it is, the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come's around on the guitar!
    • Arlo has repeatedly updated this part through the years to help it match modern life more. He has updated to say that if only one person does it, they say the person in question is a certain amount of years too late. He also referenced the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy during the 40th anniversary recording. He has also started adding the phrase, "And most of them would be too young to know what a movement was." once he says, "Friends they may think it's a movement."
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