Alice In Chains: The Rooster Meaning
The Rooster Lyrics
Eyes burn with stinging sweat
Seems every path leads me to nowhere
Wife and kids 'n household pet
Army green was no safe bet
The bullets scream to me from somewhere
Yeah they come to snuff the rooster, oh...
anonymous Apr 7th, 2008 4:02pm report
My father, Marine Corp Vet in 'nam, explained this to me without an inquiry when we were listening to the song. He said (like 1 out of 100 comments previous) that Rooster was nickname for the M-60 gunner of a platoon. He said they were cocky and had a strut to them (you needed to be cocky as an M-60 threw out heavy fire, but would take heavy fire as well).
His general sentiment was that a Rooster was a bad a$$. He thinks Rooster is an incredible song and thanked me for being into good music back in the day :)
anonymous Apr 22nd, 2007 4:21am report
I agree with the Rooster meaning that squad but I differ in most of everyone's opinion. Jerry's dad did serve in Vietnam and use to tell jerry stories of the horrible things he had seen. The Rooster is symbolic for America. The Marines carried a flag with an eagle on it. No eagles were in Vietnam but they were very active in rooster farming. Therefore, Vietnam soldiers thought the eagle was a rooster so every time they would attack they would say "It's time to snuff the Rooster" or it's time to kill the Americans. When the song says "Yeah they've come to snuff the Rooster. Oh, here comes the Rooster. you know he ain't gonna die." It refers to the Americans fighting back and surviving.
Surfer_Coyote Oct 8th, 2007 10:08pm report
I can see why you might see a connection with Carlos Hathcock as being "The Rooster" since his nickname was "White Feather", but I don't think that's what the band intended.
I don't have any references handy, but I do remember reading in a few magazines that "The Rooster" is Jerry's father. Now, that could have a double meaning to it. The articles I read did lay mention to his red hair, and that would definitely be a reason his soldier buddies would nickname him that. If he was indeed an M60 man, then he would likely be the first one to shoot, just like the rooster is the first to crow in the morning.
I think the theories involving the Vietnamese thinking the flag poles or 101 Airborne patches were roosters because they don't have eagles is really stretching it. There are eagles in Vietnam (every continent to be exact, except Antarctica) and one of the more common types of eagles in Southeast Asia is one that looks very much like our bald eagle of North America.
anonymous Feb 24th, 2:33am report
Thanks guys, you all did an awesome job !!! Joe,still alive ! "You know, he was born to fly!!! Hallelujah !!!!!
anonymous Nov 17th, 2014 11:42am report
So the song Rooster has a deeper meaning then what comes across to most people. I had talked to my grandpa a Vietnam Vet And he actually told me a lot about how this song moved him. He told me how So the song Rooster has a deeper meaning then what comes across to most people. I had talked to my grandpa a Vietnam Vet And he actually told me a lot about how this song moved him. He told me how the Rooster was a nickname for the gun M-60 and how when it was night it light up when they shot and looked like a rooster tail.
the Rooster was a nickname for the gun M-60 and how when it was night it light up when they shot and looked like a rooster tail.
anonymous Oct 24th, 2014 10:04pm report
Ya'll are hilarious!
The 101st airborne were known as the SCREAMING EAGLES..... It would be interesting to know IF the writers father was in the 101st? Perhaps that's why he was nicknamed rooster?
anonymous Jan 14th, 2013 1:42pm report
When you fire a long burst from a machine gun, the barrel tends to rise. Since their ammo belts have one tracer round after every four ball (normal) rounds it creates a "rooster tail" effect at night. So M60 gunners often earnes the nickname "rooster "
anonymous Oct 4th, 2012 10:24am report
This song was written by Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell for his father Jerry Cantrell Sr., who went by the nickname "Rooster" while serving with the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Jerry Cantrell has stated that his father, Cantrell, Sr., had this family nickname "Rooster" since childhood due to the way his hair stood up on end as a youth. The "Rooster" nickname is often mistakenly attributed to a reference to men carrying the M60 machine gun (see the second verse, first line), the muzzle flash from which makes an outline or pattern reminiscent of a rooster's tail. It is also often mistakenly attributed to the 101st 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."
anonymous Jul 20th, 2012 7:46am report
Don't everyone forget that a rooster is also an alarm clock (remember the old cartoons where the sun would come out and the rooster would cock-a-doodle-doo). Therefore "snuffing the rooster" is "making sure that you don't wake up in the morning."
anonymous Jul 11th, 2012 7:49pm report
People Look it up you'll find it. Yes it's about a M60 gunner, Yes it's about Vietnam. No it doesn't have anything to do with Vietnamese people calling them chickens. No its not about M60 gunners being cocky. The Rooster was his fathers nickname. The song is about his father. It was the start of their healing process.
anonymous Mar 15th, 2012 3:30pm report
Ok the rooster nickname for M60 gunners is true but the reasoning is more than the gunners being "cocky" it is given because when firing especially at night the tracer bullets ark in the air, closely resemble the long arched feathers of a rooster tail.
anonymous Mar 2nd, 2012 3:26am report
the rooster was inspired by layne staleys uncle who was a scout sniper i 'nam. he was given the nickname "the rooster." during one of AIC concerts they brought him out and explained.
anonymous Feb 27th, 2012 2:53pm report
If you listen closely, they actually say, "stuff", not snuff the rooster. Every year, for Thanksgiving, Jerry's family wanted a stuffed,roasted rooster with all the trimmings rather than a turkey. The only problem was that no one wanted to catch, kill and stuff the rooster at Jerry's house, SO every year Jerry's in-laws were invited to Thanksgiving dinner with the understanding that THEY would be responsible for preparing the bird. When they pulled into the driveway Jerry's dad would say, "Here they come to STUFF the rooster." The only problem was that, being non-violent people, the in-laws were reluctant to slaughter the bird SO they devised a method of boring the bird to death. They would tie down the rooster and then they would sit around for hours just analyzing, re-analyzing and over-analyzing stupid songs. Even though the rooster prayed for the sweet release of death or at least someone to stab out his eardrums out with a red-hot poker, neither happened and miraculously the rooster survived. After many years of TV dinners for Thanksgiving, Jerry's dad would see the same routine play out and when he saw them getting out the rope to tie down the bird he would angrily mutter, "You know he ain't gonna die"
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