Rooster By Alice In Chains


1992 | Rock

Spotify | Amazon

"Walkin' tall machine gun man, they spit on me in my home land. -- Gloria sent 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."


  • The song hit number 7 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.
  • Rooster is the fourth single released from Dirt.
  • Jerry Cantrell wrote the song for his vietnam vet father. Rooster refers to the Nickname he was given in the service.
  • MTV pulled the video from rotation due to complaints regarding the violent war depictions.


Luke Tatum

Artful presentation of the hopeless situation of troops caught up as pawns in a chess game. It managed to convey the distant motivation of a wife and child, as well as the sense of being trapped, fighting for mere survival. The horrors of being in Vietnam are something I can't comprehend, but music has a way of showing us things from afar. A glimmer, at least. What a messy moral question, too. Do I believe soldiers bear at least some moral responsibility for the acts they commit? Yes, absolutely. Do I also believe people were forced into this war for immoral reasons? Yes. Do I also believe it must be an insane thing to come home after giving everything "for your country," only to be hated by much of the population? Again, yes! What a horrid thing. A disaster that lasts even to today.

Sherry Voluntary

Alice In Chains, and particularly Dirt, was one of the albums that were the soundtrack to my high school years. It was on constant rotation for quite some time in my cd player. Over the years I have come to appreciate the themes contained in it, even more.

This song is a disturbing fever dream of brokeness brought on by the terribleness of war. As the son of a very damaged Vietnam War veteran, the songs writer, Jerry Cantrell, had a front seat to the horror show of disfunction that became his family due to his father’s shattered self. The song is, however, written from the point of view of his soldier father, not with bitterness but with a kind of sad compassion. You can just feel the power and the fear his father felt. The power in being a “machine gun man” and the fear of knowing someone is trying to kill you, “here they come to snuff the rooster.”

As much as I hate war, I feel sorry for these poor duped souls that believe the lie that they are serving freedom. Especially in Vietnam where many of the troops were drafted, aka legally enslaved, and forced into terrible situations. The State has learned from it’s mistakes and honed it’s devices. No longer do they need a draft, they have a highly tuned indoctrination machine that teaches people that obedience to State Authority is virtue and all soldiers are heroes, and to deny that, is treachery. We see the worship of death and The State all around to this day. The wars are never ending because of the power they give the political class over everyone. As libertarians, we have to be unapologetically anti-war. There is no excuse to break people in this manner. There is no excuse to interject young men and women into the world and make them murderers. We must hold the line, we must not waiver. War is about profit and power for the few, libertarianism is about opportunity for peace and prosperity for every individual.

Nicky P

For the longest time I thought this song was about snorting coke out of a hookers ass crack. I'm not sure who gave me that idea but I carried it with me because I never really cared to learn the words. They rocked it pretty hard & that's as deep as I cared to get into it. The song however actually carries a solid message with it. It's genesis centers around Jerry Cantrel trying to make sense of the damage the Vietnam war did to his father. We focus a lot on war because it's easily one of the big three with libertarians. War, education & The Fed. They all three exist in an incestuous relationship designed to perpetuate itself. The schools create drones ready to die for the nation, the Fed funds them, the war sends them to kill people to ensure we always have enemies then sends them back damaged and ready to stand as reason to send over the next wave. Meanwhile our wealth is stolen from us and the select few in the MIC are there to reap the financial rewards.

Created By
Nicky P

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