Lyric of the Week: IN THE ARMY
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
MOVE IT OUT!
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
©2020 The Hesh Inc.
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 ...