It's so hot
looks like you have three beaks crow
the moon's so full
white hat on a pumpkin
you know there's something
the moon was a stone's throw
stop the show
I need to say hello
to the crow
light the fire piano
the moon showed up
and it started to show
tonight there'd be ice cream
ice cream for crow
ice cream for crow
sun cream by day
ice cream for crow
ice cream by night
ice cream by day
the sun ain't stable
ice cream for crow
crow pants the scarecrow
crow dance ah ho ho
crow dance ah panther
scare crow you answer
you can hee and haw
laugh and scratch
ha ha ha
ha ha ha
boss and toss
don't shake my hand
give me your claw
two tears in a haystack
scarecrow get back
tonight there's gonna be
a feather treatment
beneath the symbol
we'll all assemble
oh how we'll fly
oh how we'll tremble
cut the cake
we'll all get well
turn up the speakers
hop flop squawk
it's a keeper
ice cream for show
ice cream for crow
now now that's it
now you can go


Lyrics submitted by Screwjack

Ice Cream for Crow song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI Scream for Crow?
    drniandraon January 14, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere's a lot going on with this song. Part of it is about his creative process with paiting. You can get this from the video he made as well. He would (and maybe still does) paint by moonlight in the desert because it was cooler and he liked the energy of the night better - and because the lighting was better! Hence, "the sun ain't stable"

    Crow may be Vliet, or the creative process, or something else entirely. Any thoughts on that?

    I also think "cut the cake, we'll all get well" is a comment on the business/commerce side of art - be it with his painting or his music.

    "It's a keeper" could mean he came up with a painting that was a good one. Also "ice cream for show" - an art show or even a concert.

    One last thing - there are two lines that have always confounded me, I'd love to hear outside thoughts:

    1. "light the fire piano"
    2. "two tears in a haystack, scarecrow get back"
    Hawkeye2008on August 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAfter thinking about it a bit, I think that one possible meaning for "light the fire piano" could refer to an electric guitar. Don often referred to guitars and basses as "upright pianos". Lighting the "fire piano" could mean plugging in the electric guitar - and getting ready to rock.

    Again, I feel like there is a lot going on within this song - which is often the case with his lyrics. On the one hand, it evokes obvious Crow Dance imagery. Native Americans of various tribes in North America would have crow dances, celebrating Crow. Crow Spirit meant various things to different tribes, but a common element was mortality, from a spiritual perspective - not a negative thing. When dancing, they would sometimes dress up as different powerful animals, including panther - "crow dance ah panther". And of course there is the black/white connotation again - crow/panther/night combined with sun/cream/white hat moon. All the black/white imagery makes sense, as he would often paint or do his ink drawings in black and white.

    There is a bit of Crow in all of us - that part of our spirit that is attached to the other side, so to speak. Don may be suggesting in this song that some of his rituals for both creating art and music tap into Crow (or as Jung said the Shadow side) for inspiration.

    These are powerful forces not to be tampered with. Hence - "scare crow, YOU answer". I love the video for this where he does the pointing thing at the camera when he lip syncs that line.

    The "two tears in a haystack" could symbolize the two sides of his art - the music and painting - that can get lost in the big business of those two worlds.
    Hawkeye2008on August 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOk, one last note on the song. I believe that scarecrow is "the man" - meaning the suits in the business world involved with art and music.

    A big part of this song is his refusal to capitulate his art or distill it in any way (even though he had already done this with Bluejeans - and probably regretted it).

    The crow as mentioned above can represent any number of things, but I definitely think it symbolizes his art and is a kind of muse/energy for purposes of this song. "Crow pants the scarecrow" .. it's like "fuck you, I'm the artist, I'm calling the shots. The "boss and toss" line probably has to do with being lied to/mistreated by certain industry types.

    "Don't shake my hand" is a great line. Again, he's saying F - you, suits! You want to talk to me, or connect with me in any way - do it as an actual person who can appreciate art and not just see dollars ... give me your claw!

    Damn, I've written a lot about this song. Well .. I was inspired. I've loved it for a while and only recently started digging into the lyrics. Glad I put this out there - all other thoughts and viewpoints on this one are welcome ..
    Hawkeye2008on August 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was thinking about this song today, and something just occurred to me so I thought I'd add another comment. The line "white hat on a pumpkin - you KNOW there's somethin'!" is just too awesome. The moon is full, and can be seen at night reflected on the top of a pumpkin, giving it a white hat. "you know there's something" is a line about the muse/other side/wildness .. whatever you want to call it that creeps into human beings from time to time. The line actually reminds me a bit of the whole motif in Moonlight from Vermont, which is a celebration of the spirit of that "wildness" (in the case of that song, he tells the tale of an entire town that basically howls at the moon one funny night). Many great poems have been written about this kind of thing, and I'm sure Don has read many of them himself.
    Hawkeye2008on May 31, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's just Black and White isn't it ? particularly like "ice cream by night.... sun cream by day ..." lol
    ScottishAngleon January 23, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationDon vaguely mentioned to Letterman that the song symbolized the 'beef in his heart' and referenced "Ray-gun" before the subject turned..
    but here's my own take.
    Firstly, I'll say that Don walked a fine line in terms of the subject of sanity, and I've wondered if he was another reluctant prophet..(see track two on the album)
    To my mind, the song refers to hypocrisy and mankind's inevitable failure.
    Ice cream is the symbol of man's preoccupation. It looks good, evokes feelings of pleasure, represents innocence and all things wholesome. It also represents the vinyl siding or outward facade of our culture, as if to forgive us or allow us our own pursuits of decadence. It validates these pursuits because we share in large part, an ideology of self interest. We know we shouldn't, but we do. And so do you.
    The crow is our dark side. It is the only truth there is left. Culturally, we will be faced with the confrontation of this nature, as all the facades will eventually fail us. The scarecrow has thus far served us, this convenient but dated invention, but the crow has grown too sophisticated. The things we tell ourselves as a culture are growing thin and hollow. Crow pants the Scarecrow. Face the music. The fire piano.
    Beneath the symbol, we'll all assemble
    Oh how we'll fly
    Oh how we'll tremble
    This is pretty telling. He is confirming the idea of collective consciousness here, this new place where the crow has led us. What's even more telling is what follows..
    Cut the cake..we'll all get well.
    Faced with our collective unease, we'll invent a new level of self deception, one that may buy us more time.
    Ice cream for show?
    No.
    ice cream for crow.
    Now you can go.

    Don was an original who will be looked at in new light someday..
    RIP
    DelVon May 27, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI haven't read every word of every comment... but I visited the Mojave Desert three years ago and stopped at a convenience store and bought an ice cream. I can't remember what the ice cream was called but it was similar to a Magnum that you'd get in the UK. Part of the ice cream melted in the heat and broke off. It landed on the decking of the store and several huge crows descended upon it going slightly mental and appeared to start stalking me to get what remained of the ice cream. I sped off and quickly finished the ice cream. Perhaps something similar happened to Captain Beefheart.
    larrythedwarfon September 10, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI haven't read every word of every comment... but I visited the Mojave Desert three years ago and stopped at a convenience store and bought an ice cream. I can't remember what the ice cream was called but it was similar to a Magnum that you'd get in the UK. Part of the ice cream melted in the heat and broke off. It landed on the decking of the store and several huge crows descended upon it going slightly mental and appeared to start stalking me to get what remained of the ice cream. I sped off and quickly finished the ice cream. Perhaps something similar happened to Captain Beefheart.
    larrythedwarfon September 10, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about race and Reagan politics 1980. Crow is black people as in Jim Crow.

    beneath the symbol
    we'll all assemble
    oh how we'll fly
    oh how we'll tremble
    cut the cake
    we'll all get well
    turn up the speakers
    hop flop squawk
    it's a keeper
    ice cream for show
    ice cream for crow
    now now that's it
    now you can go
    john179139on July 28, 2016   Link

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