"Don't Follow" as written by and Jerry Cantrell....
Hey, I ain't never coming home
Hey, I'll just wander my own road
Hey, I can't meet you here tomorrow
No, say goodbye don't follow
Misery so hollow

Hey you, you're livin' life full throttle
Hey you, pass me down that bottle, yeah
Hey you, you can't shake me round now
I get so lost and don't know how
And it hurts to care, so I won't now

Forgot my woman, lost my friends
Things I'd done and where I've been
Sleep in sweat the mirrors cold
See my face it's growin' old
Scared to death no reason why
Do whatever to get me by
Think about the things I've said
Read the page it's cold and dead

Take me home
Yeah, take me home
Take me home
Take me home, yeah
Take me home

Say goodbye, don't follow


Lyrics submitted by Ice

"Don't Follow" as written by Jerry Cantrell

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  • +14
    General CommentI know I may be wrong but this song has a special meaning to me. My best friend committed suicide an hour after he had left me a voicemail in regards to not only a long battle with my anorexia but my healing surgery from hodgkins disease. He helped me through so much and suddenly he needed someone to talk to and i was not there for him. i believe that this song has helped me through and carried on what always was his wise words... "dont do anything stupid" but then he did... the song to me is about someone who is leaving a suicide note and telling someone not to follow and to be strong. This song is the reason i still am here today... he would have wanted that way. and wether or not the writers and singers of this song meant that exactly, it is a beautiful song.
    amypowon May 25, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTo me this song means alot...It helped me through a hard time...but anyway here is what it means to me...

    to me the first part is about how he misses a place and the people of that place...but he knows that he has moved on, and that is all he can do no is just look back and remember.

    Next he is talking about how he is living now...How he is just Living life in the moment...And he is drinking and thinking what is making his life so bad...and he admits to himself that he is heading to somewhere he doesn't wanna go.

    Then there is a transistion in the mood of the song...it gets alittle more up tempo and a little lighter...This next part means the most to me.

    This is where he begins to look back at that other place...and remembers some of the things he had to go through to leave and what he is going through now that he is off on his own with out the support of all those who had always been there for him...and all the things he did back there good or bad they were still memories from this place that he now misses greatly now that he is gone from it.

    he then repeats "Take me home"...this means that he wants to go back to this old place so bad....but in the end of the song he just says "Say goodbye don't follow"...which to me means that no matter how bad he wants to go back he knows that part of his life is over....and that he has said goodbye to them and the place.
    KJ__15on May 02, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI agree that there's a real country vibe about this song.

    I haven't studied the lyrics closely, but I always assumed it was about someone running away, and desperately wanting to return home but they're too proud to.
    1555on September 12, 2005   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThis song is about suicide, regardless of the reasons for the act. It is not about heroine addiction. Yes Jerry wrote it, and sounds more like Lane’s life, but that changes nothing.

    If you will, follow my train of thought:

    “Hey, I ain't never coming home.”
    I have decided to end my life.

    “Hey, I'll just wander my own road.”
    I am so lost and alone. And have run out of hope. My misery has pushed everyone I care for so far away. But I don’t want to tell you my decision yet. You’ll understand once I am gone. (or perhaps it’s a sort-of filler lyric)

    Hey-hey, I can't meet you here tomorrow - no, no. -
    By tomorrow, I will be dead.

    Say goodbye don't follow. Misery so hollow.
    Don’t take my suicide as something to consider for yourself.
    Don’t romanticize my, your own or anyone else’s dark struggles: if it draws you in, you’ll find there is no sweet spot or silver lining to internal darkness. The attraction is real, the reality is fake. So you’re left with nothing.


    "Hey you, you're livin' life full throttle."
    I have no clue what this means. Maybe referring back to “Don’t do what I am about to because you’re life is going well.”

    "Hey you, pass me down that bottle, yeah..."
    OK, I’ve made up mind my, hand me the bottle of pills to kill myself.
    Or… He’s found some comfort among others who also want to die – let’s take a swig of booze and get this over with.

    The pills are taken, it’s just a matter of time now.
    Now he’s entering a state of transformation: aware and existing between living and dead.

    "Hey-hey you, you can't shake me round now."
    He’s now remembering the first time he went through that transition - …being born. Opposite direction but similar experience. So he is now telling his mother (not in person), he’s not in her womb, or dependent on her, so he is free and a bit bitter about the past.

    "I get so lost and don't know how, yeah..."
    Being a sensitive soul, the bitterness shifts to an attempt at explaining to her that he did try over and over, but always ended up in a living hell.

    "It hurts to care, I'm goin' now."
    He realizes that he dropped his guard, so he is starting to feel sadness, reflect on regret and guilt for the pain he will cause others. “OK, enough. I AM doing to die. So one last time: goodbye.”

    *** The song tone changes, indicating that he’s now shifting from “looking back” and saying goodbye to looking forward at what’s to come.

    "Well I forgot my woman, lost my friends
    Things I've done and where I've been,"
    His identity and any relation to what he knows as life are now gone.

    "Sleep in sweat - the mirror's cold -
    Seen my face? It's growin' old -"
    His body is reacting to the drugs – cold sweats.
    Looking in a mirror, he gets a chilling view of a dying face. Or he’s sick of being reminded of his life, which is strongest when looking at himself in the mirror.

    "Scared to death, no reason why"
    No more misery, depression, or agony, so why be scared?
    And… it is a play on words: Why be ‘scared to death’ when he has already insured that he will get to death very soon anyways.

    "Do whatever to get me by,"
    He’ll grab any distraction to avoid experiencing the horrors the poison he took is causing… until he is dead. So he chooses to:
    "Think about the things I've said
    Read the page its cold and dead"
    But reflecting on anything he has said is pointless: he can’t address who he said them to, or adjust to how people react, because now there is not enough time before he is dead.

    "An' take me home!
    Yeah! Take me home!
    Oh-oh... take me home
    Take me home, yeah.
    Take me home. Yeah, oh."

    Home is resolve, relief, comfort. And he has felt dead for so long, being dead will be like home to him than living another day.

    He’s now feeling hopeful and optimistic. Leaving the body, the relief of the pain feels so good.

    "Say goodbye. Don't follow."
    One final time, reminding others not to do what he has now done.

    Follow that into the song Swing On This (the next song on that album). Death is over. The song is more upbeat. He’s confronted with feeling his family and friends' desire for him to come back to life (…said come home), but he still wants to die (heading towards what home is for him.) He hears a voice that says you have a choice, but he knows he can’t go back, only choose how fast he heads home.

    Or I am completely wrong and all of that was just my weird mind getting too creatively over-active.
    swa528on September 15, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is my favorite AIC song. I don't know what was meant by this song, and I don't claim to. But i think it is realistic in the way it portrays the misery of life in such a beautiful melody. Goodbye Layne.....
    God's Peace
    schuttfaceon May 01, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song takes on new meaning to me, now that Lane Staley has passed away. I think that it pays a great tribute to Lane, portraying his death as somewhat of a salvation from his drug addiction. But, Cantrell did write it and I think he wrote it about either Staley or himself and how drug addiction has taken over.

    The first verse, I think, refers to how the subject is at the point of no return and is kind of giving warning to others not to do the same things he did or not to help because it's hopeless.

    The second verse, I think, refers to how he was doing things carelessly and got into his "addiction" without realizing it. It also says how he doesn't know how to deal with it so he only gets further into it.

    In the bridge or upbeat part of the song I think he says how he loses everything and he is afraid of what is happening to him. It also says how he wants to be freed from it.

    The end, I think, just says how he knows he's going to lose his battle with drugs and warning others of it. It's also of his acceptance of it and wish to be freed from it.
    Tatuon June 06, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne word.....Wow!
    sailingallaloneon September 06, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLooking at this from a psycholigical standpoint...this song is one of acceptance....specifically, acceptance of self. He is accepting he is an intravert, and is going to extreme mesures (including drug use and drinking) to seperate himself from from the outside world...kinda like the enitre Pink Floyd album, The Wall, in one beautiful short song. he is shutting the rest of the world, out of his world. I would refer to specific lines, but every one would be mentioned. I hope you can see my point.
    sailingallaloneon September 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMJWhit518 - I feel the same. I still get sad and a little angry that he died. -Unlike Cobain. I like Nirvana's sound but not Kurt or his lyrics or suicide. A&C had so much talent. I think this song is about him rebeling against the norm and doing drugs like a 'good' young musician then he realizes the people that tried to keep him straight were right, but he has gone too far. He's begging for help now and the last line "Say goodbye, don't follow" That's his message- tell your friends goodbye if they offer drugs- don't follow them/him.
    55779on June 29, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song is about the life of addiction. In some ways it may be about suicide but not directly. Jerry wrote most all the lyrics to their songs to begin with. I guess why Alice is loved so much is their lyrics are very poignant with real sadness. In find it also amusing some times sense the lyrics are very overt jabs at Lane which by the way is the focus of the song.

    Addiction effects everyone who is around it. This band had so much promise yet due to Lane's sickness he kept them grounded from touring most of the time. It is sad because instead of getting Lane the help he needed they made excuses for his behavior. Like Lane said the drugs worked at first and than they turned against him.

    An addict's life becomes they way the song explains. Feelings of being very lonely, sad, and shame. Lane was committing suicide in his own way. And the lesson learned is don't follow this path. With that said Alice left us some great music and I happy that Jerry is able to go on tour and play their songs live.
    rcdowdyon December 12, 2014   Link

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