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‘The Feast & The Famine’ – annotated lyrics

October 24th, 2014
Seeing how the whole concept of  Sonic Highways was to record songs inspired and shaped by the studio and city it was recorded in, I thought after each episode airs I’d try and piece together the meaning behind the lyrics.

“The experiences I had here set the foundations for the rest of my life as a musician.” – Dave Grohl

THE FEAST AND THE FAMINE

That night they were burning for truth
Down on the corner of 14th and U

The epicentre of violence for the 1968 Washington Riots but these days the centre of DC’s music scene – The Black Cat & 9:30 club are both nearby.

They took your soul and they took you for fools
Took all the windows from prisons and schools
Now what’s a poor man left to do?

One heart now broken in two
You start untying the hands of the youth

New kids hear the sound of the drumming
Mother Nature your Summer is coming
Yesterday and today
Revolution on its way

The Summer of 1985 was nicknamed ‘Revolution Summer‘ in Washington D.C – where activism and melody stripped punk of its machoism.

Amen
It was the feast and the famine

Crossroads with nothing to lose
Out of the basement and in to the news

Scream were from Bailey’s Crossroads & could this also be a reference to Foo Fighters recording There Is Nothing Left To Lose in Dave’s Virginia basement?

Come change, now shit getting heavy
Salvation at the ready

You look when I walked by
Still screaming ’til I die

Still Screaming is the title of the 1983 album by Scream on Dischord Records

You can’t find peace if you can’t find a home
You can’t survive as an island alone

Black heart with a gaping wound
Put back together by a troubled groove

Dave explains in the Sonic Highways episode that this is a reference to Trouble Funk.

Check yourself
Wreck your brains
Where is that P.M.A?

Positive Mental Attitude. As sung about by Bad Brains in their song Attitude.

Amen
It was the feast and the famine

Hey, where is the monument
to the dreams we forget?
We need a monument

The Washington Monument is in DC, as is the Lincoln Memorial which was the site of 1983 The Rock Against Reagan show that Dave attended.

And dreams will come
And change will come
Is there anybody there?
Anybody there?

Amen
It was the feast and the famine

Hey man, where is the monument
to the dreams we forget?
We need a monument
And change will come
And change will come
Is there anybody there?
Anybody there?

 

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