Song: Alice's Restaurant Massacree by Arlo Guthrie

 Place: Theresa's Stockbridge Cafe, Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Alice's Restaurant is actually a church
Lyrics passage You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant.
phoneSend "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" Ringtone to your Cellphone
Alice's Restaurant is actually a churchAlice's Restaurant is actually a church
"And it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for?" No, wait, that's a different Vietnam-era folk-singer protest-song in 1967.

"Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average." No, wait, that's a different radio show.

"Book one, chapter one, page one of The Dark Tower..." No, that's a different graphic novel.

Friends and folks and those of you who slipped in the door without payin', don't you hate it when your old man is a beer and a half into sunset and starts tellin' you this long-winded story with digression followin' digression, excepting, of course, the digressions from the digressions, until you wonder if it's ever going to end, but you stick around anyway because the telling is so gosh-darned charmin' on its own that you don't even care about the run-on sentences anymore and you might even just throw caution to the wind and follow anywhere the story takes you? And the next thing y'know, you're off in the weeds where even the bloodhounds can't tell you how we got here and Pops is ramblin' along full stout talkin' about whatever groovy thing popped into his head next, like the little white balls in the cage at the bingo parlor? And wouldn't you know it, someone comes in in the middle and wants to know how it started, so you have to start over. Don't you love that?

The paragraph could have gone on, but we should break to let folks go to the bathroom if they need to.

"Alice's Restaurant Massacree" is a little bit of song - wait, first I want to tell you about my dog. I had a dog once. See, they haven't invented time travel yet, so that's the only instantiation that you can have a dog is once. You have it a while, it dies, and then that's it, no more dog.

Anyway, "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" is a little bit of song and a whole lot of story that originally lasted about eighteen minutes, although since then Arlo Guthrie reserves the right to make it last as long as he pleases, which is until he gets tired of playing it. It was a big hit in 1967, being one part Vietnam-era folk-singer protest-song, one part radio drama, and one part audiobook, but actually more of a live comedy routine.

Yes, it's based on a true story, but Arlo is a performer and an artist, so his version is so much better in the telling that we really aren't going to haggle about what is and isn't an exaggeration. For the record, while the one-and-only Alice M. Brock - original owner and namesake of "Alice's Restaurant" - lived with her husband in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the original Alice's Restaurant is located in Stockbridge, about a six mile trek down the road a piece. She had the restaurant for only a year before selling it, possibly because you can't make any money laying out lavish Thanksgiving feasts like that. The restaurant has become "Theresa's Stockbridge Cafe" as of 2009.

But, should an unthinkable nuclear war happen upon us and leave us all in the Mad Max post-Holocaust world scrambling to survive amidst the rubble and the subsequent fall of civilization causing us to lose track of the one and only true Mecca of Vietnam-era folk-singer protest-song historical establishment dedicated to the consumption of sumptuous presumptuous supplements of traditional annual holiday gratitude, plug these coordinates (42.227941°N 73.3633°W) into your GPS modern doohickey thing and the location will be yours forever, courtesy of Wikipedia.

It might come in handy if you ever find yourself in the neighborhood and have an appetite. After all, you can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant. Except Alice, of course.
phoneSend "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" Ringtone to your Cellphone

COMMENTS: 3

R. Jay from Nova Scotia18 minutes of pure entertainment.
doug gould from HalifaxThe restaurant is in Stockbridge, not Great Barrington. The church is in GB.
zoe from Englandbrings me back to the old days!
Leave a Comment
NameWhere are you from?
Your Comment
security code

 Video: Alice's Restaurant Massacree


 Place: Theresa's Stockbridge Cafe, Stockbridge, Massachusetts


 SongFacts

Running 18 minutes and 34 seconds, this song is based on a true story that happened on Thanksgiving Day, 1965. Arlo was 18, and along with his friend Rick Robbins, drove to Stockbridge, Massachusetts to have Thanksgiving dinner with Alice and Ray Brock. Alice and Ray lived in a church - the former Trinity Church on Division Street in Stockbridge - and were used to inviting people into their home. Arlo and Rick had been traveling together, Arlo working his way up in folk singing and Rick tagging along. A number of people, Arlo and Rick included, were considered members of the family, and so they were not guests in the usual sense. When Ray woke up the next morning, he said to them, "Let's clean up the church and get all this crap out of here, for God's sake. This place is a mess," and Rick said, "Sure." Arlo and Rick swept up and loaded all the crap into a VW microbus and went out to the dump, which was closed. They started driving around until Arlo remembered a side road in Stockbridge up on Prospect Hill by the Indian Hill Music Camp, which he went to one summer, so they drove up there and dumped the garbage. A little later, the phone rang, and it was Stockbridge police chief William J. Obanhein.... "I found an envelope with the name Brock on it," Chief Obanhein said. The truth came out, and soon the boys found themselves in Obanhein's police car. They went up to Prospect Hill, and Obie took some pictures, and on the back he marked them, "PROSPECT HILL RUBBISH DUMPING FILE UNDER GUTHRIE AND ROBBINS 11/26/65." And took the kids to jail. The kids went in, pleaded, "Guilty, Your Honor," were fined $25 each and ordered to retrieve the rubbish. Then they all went back to the church and started to write "Alice's Restaurant" together.... "We were sitting around after dinner and wrote half the song," Alice recalls, "and the other half, the draft part, Arlo wrote."
Album : Alice's Restaurant Released : 1967
US chart position : 97

More facts for Alice's Restaurant Massacree @songfacts.com


logo