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Daily Lyric: IN THE ARMY

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

You’re in the army now, dude

And you’re stuck for the next three years!

You gotta be awake, you gotta be alert

You better not let your guard down or else you’ll get hurt

This is no dream, dude, this is the real thing

It’s a nightmare, alive and burning

Instant adulthood, the end of your youth

This is the big test, the moment of truth

You gotta push yourself to make it against all the odds

And you can’t think of nothing but your girlfriend and G-d

There ain’t no peace in the army

There ain’t no justice in the army

There ain’t no fun in the army

There ain’t nothing to be happy about in the army

They’re puttin’ me through the meat grinder, man

There’s so much pain, it’s so hard to dissipate it

Throw all your ideology out the window, man

This is the real thing, and I hate it!

There ain’t no bright side in the army

There ain’t no easy life in the army

There ain’t no good times in the army

No, you can’t be a JAP in the army

Up on your feet in thirty seconds

Up on your ass in thirty seconds

Twice around the tents in thirty seconds

Once around the whole goddamn base in thirty seconds


They tell me, be a good soldier just like everybody else

Just suffer quietly and don’t make waves

Just follow orders and do as you're told

Don’t try to be a hero, don’t try to be brave

Well, everybody thinks they’re cool here

Everybody thinks they’re here to save the day

Everybody thinks they’re, like, real hot stuff

Everybody here’s got something to say

Well, they’ll be breaking me down

Till I’ll be bone-weary but loving it

Slept only for an hour last night, baby

But till I finally go down, I’ll be going for it

There ain’t no room for thinking in the army

There ain’t no democracy in the army

There ain’t no privacy in the army

No, there ain’t no freedom in the army

©2023 The Hesh Inc.

Heshy graduates basic training, July 1985
Basic training graduation, July 1985.

On May 7, 1985, I was inducted into the Israel Defense Forces for my mandatory three-year service. Several weeks earlier, I had passed the audition for the military rabbinate / chaplaincy corps orchestra, and I reported for duty fully expecting to be assigned to that corps. However, the manpower officers decided that I was needed in the artillery, and so that's where I got sent. I was not happy about that, and it showed in all sorts of ways, with all sorts of private rebellions and whatnot—nothing that could land me in the stockade, mind you, just little personal ways I'd stick it to the man. Publicly, I was a good soldier, even earning the praise of my drill sergeants and commanding officers. But little did they know.

One of the ways I managed to keep sane during that difficult time was to write songs. Adversity has a powerful way of kicking the muse in the ass, and the result was about a dozen songs written during my nine weeks of basic. This song was one of them, expressing everything I was feeling, physically, psychologically, emotionally, and socially. It was good to vent.

Musically, I imagined this with a fuzz-guitar Bo Diddley beat set over rumbling drums, with a greasy, distorted Hammond organ alternately bubbling and growling between the verses and the choruses. I attempted to record it with Izzy Kieffer and a host of other musicians at our Gal-Kol sessions in 1986, but the result was only half baked due to the fact that I could not get a pass to go off base for the guitar and mixing sessions. One day, one day ...


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