What is the meaning of the song "Rooster" by Alice in Chains?
Army during the Vietnam War. It is also often mistakenly attributed to the st Airborne Division - in which Cantrell's father served - who wore shoulder sleeve insignia on their arms featuring a bald eagle. As there are no bald eagles in Vietnam , the closest thing to which the Vietnamese could draw a comparison was the chicken, thus leading to the pejorative "chicken men.
It was the start of the healing process between my Dad and I from all that damage that Vietnam caused. This was all my perception of his experiences out there. The first time I ever heard him talk about it was when we made the video and he did a minute interview with Mark Pellington and I was amazed he did it. He was totally cool, totally calm, accepted it all and had a good time doing it. It even brought him to the point of tears. He said it was a weird experience, a sad experience and he hoped that nobody else had to go through it.
He's heard this song. He's only seen us play once, and I played this song for him when we were in this club opening for Iggy Pop. I'll never forget it. He was standing in the back and he heard all the words and stuff. Of course, I was never in Vietnam and he won't talk about it, but when I wrote this it felt right And I remember when we played it he was back by the soundboard and I could see him.
He was back there with his big gray Stetson and his cowboy boots — he's a total Oklahoma man — and at the end, he took his hat off and just held it in the air.
And he was crying the whole time. This song means a lot to me. That experience in Vietnam changed him forever, and it certainly had an effect on our family, so I guess it was a defining moment in my life, too.
But on Rooster, I was trying to think about his side of it — what he might have gone through. It felt like a major achievement for me as a young writer. And he told me: It meant a lot to him that I wrote it. It brought us closer. It was good for me in the long-run and it was good for him, too. Jerry Cantrell's father was a consultant on the video, as it explores Cantrell Jr. The uncut more graphic version of the video is available on the home video release Music Bank: The intense combat scenes for the video were actually filmed on location in Angeles National Forest in January and have been favorably compared to Oliver Stone's classic Vietnam War film Platoon.
Elliott, who is right-handed, had to learn how to handle multiple combat weapons left handed for the production in order to match the real Cantrell Sr. The military weapons and gear used and worn by the actors in the video are not all period-authentic.
The M16A2 is used which was not used until the s , as well as the Nomex flight gloves which were not used until well into the Vietnam War. Dale Dye provided Elliott with some of his own personal combat gear which Dye had actually worn during multiple tours in Vietnam, including his military watch and map light, among other items. Jon Gries's character is shown being shot in the chest during intense combat with North Vietnamese infantry troops and dying in the arms of Elliott's "Rooster" character in the final emotionally charged combat scenes of the video.
Also featured are scenes of a group of children playing with bubbles. Real life combat veterans have often commented about how moving and realistic these scenes were, yet MTV initially pulled the controversial video from rotation due to complaints about the graphic nature of the war scenes. Alice in Chains performed an acoustic version of "Rooster" for its appearance on MTV Unplugged in and the song was included on the Unplugged live album and home video release.
Live performances of the song can also be found on the " Heaven Beside You " single, the compilation album Nothing Safe: Best of the Box , and the live album Live. Jerry Cantrell reacts by throwing a bottle at Claypool and chasing him off the stage. Jerry Cantrell often introduces his father on stage before playing the song at Alice in Chains' concerts.
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Susan was managing Alice In Chains at the time. I stayed for a few weeks, up in this little room.
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