Ain't found a way to kill me yet
Eyes burn with stinging sweat
Seems every path leads me to nowhere
Wife and kids household pet
Army green was no safe bet
The bullets scream to me from somewhere

Here they come to snuff the rooster
Yeah here come the rooster, yeah
You know he ain't gonna die
No, no, no, ya know he ain't gonna die

Walkin' tall machine gun man
They spit on me in my home land
Gloria sent me pictures of my boy
Got my pills 'gainst mosquito death
My buddy's breathin' his dyin' breath
Oh god please won't you help me make it through

Here they come to snuff the rooster
Yeah here come the rooster, yeah
You know he ain't gonna die
No, no, no ya know he ain't gonna die

Lyrics submitted by Ice

Rooster song meanings
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  • +20
    General Comment
    It was written by guitarist Jerry Cantrell for his father, who served in the Vietnam War. His nickname was "Rooster."[2] The nickname most likely originated from men who used machine guns (see the second verse, first line) as when it would strafe an area the tracers would make a pattern that looked like a rooster's tail, but there is speculation that it may have been in relation to the 101st Airborne Division, in which Cantrell's father served. The 101st Airborne wore patches on their arms featuring a bald eagle. There are no bald eagles in Vietnam, so the closest thing to which the Vietnamese could reference them was the chicken. They referred to them as "chicken men".[3] In the liner notes of 1999's Music Bank box set collection, Jerry Cantrell said of the song: 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 45 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. It was beautiful. He said it was a weird experience, a sad experience and he hoped that nobody else had to go through it.[1] Source: Wikipedia
    twiztidfreekon October 18, 2009   Link
  • +6
    General Comment
    Jerry Cantrell, Jr. wrote this song about Jerry Cantrell, Sr. and the absolute horror stories he's been told about Vietnam by his father... It's amazingly powerful.. Especially with Layne Staley's voice.. If you DO like this song.. I HIGHLY suggest you listen to the acoustic version from MTV Unplugged.
    maxpower114on February 08, 2002   Link
  • +5
    Most of my NCOs were Nam Vets,when I was in Korea on the DMZ,those guys took care of us & kept us alive,I owe my life to guys like Jerry Sr."Roster" was Jerry's nickname growing up,also he was in the 101st Airborne Division,the patch has a bald eagle,theres no bald eagles in Vietnam,both south and north Vietnamese called members of that unit "roosters/chickens",The video shows him as point man,they are wearing the wrong patch(1st Cav),but they are LRRPs (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols,pronounced "Lurps").Those guys had the most dangerous jobs,google them,they are small, heavily armed long-range reconnaissance teams that patrol deep in enemy-held territory,I was once in a Long Range Surveillance unit (LRS) (pronounced "lurse").Long time ago.This song and video hit me hard,Jerry Sr. was a lefty,the guy who played him was a lefty,"Machinegun man",thats a M-60 Machine gun you see rambo shooting one handed,that doesnt happen,some of the Viets called it a rooster because of the muzzle flash,we called them 'Pigs".Its guys like Jerry who kept us alive with what they went through,they don't talk about it to civilians,but they drilled it into us,non-stop,they didn't want us to die,I've never met him,but I know his kind,he's a brother,the boots they wear,Jerry Jr. are Corcoran Paratrooper boots,if you wern't Airborne,you couldn't wear them,those might be his dad's boots.Wish I knew which 101st LRRP unit he was with.The North Vietnamese Army & the Viet Cong had bounties on all LRRPS,as the North Koreans did on us when I was on the DMZ.Thats were the snuff comes from."They hunted us more so than other units because we kicked the shit out of them & we lost many doing it
    Imjinscouton April 24, 2013   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation
    Rooster is about a lot more than just Vietnam. At the peak of my depression, I would listen to the Unplugged version every night while trying to fall asleep. To me, Rooster is about isolation, giving up all hope, and wanting to give up; but at the same time knowing that you can't. Sometimes, even when everything is destroying you and you've gotten nowhere, you have no choice but to keep going. It's not necessarily a message of hope, but a realization that sometimes you have no choice but to survive.
    cmetzon October 08, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    As far as I know, this song is meant to reflect the artist's father in Vietnam.
    devoidgodon January 17, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    If the song is about Cantrell's father in Vietnam, then the line: "They spit on me in my home land" doesn't make sense. It wasn't in his home land.
    Andersfon March 05, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    not to contradict any of your personal meanings of this song but the"rooster" as the Vietnamese called it was our symbol for AIRBORNE school.Most of the men that the Vietnamese encountered in battle in the beginning of the war were Airborne Rangers. They mistook the Eagle on our arms for a rooster. So this is the meaning i have found out. Mostly because ive spoken with Vietnamese soldiers and they have verified this on top of calling myself an army "rooster". SGT LOVE 73 RANGER REG
    SGTLOVEon September 12, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    This song is an absolute masterpiece! It really paints a great picture of Vietnam. I would also add that in an way i prefer the Unplugged version because it's a lot more atmospheric. One of AICs BEST
    thrashgrunge4lifeon December 17, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    definately a nam song
    brn2sailawayon January 21, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    I agrea max, I'm listening to the acoustic version right now and I like it way better.
    Elion April 10, 2002   Link

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