Like A Dog

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: David Gans

Sick of gettin' treated like a goddamned dog
Sick of gettin' kicked around
Sick of sittin' like a bump on a log
Gonna head for higher ground

Sick of gettin' cheated, blindsided and tricked
By ev'ry sonabitch on the block
This sure as hell ain't the life I picked
I believe I'm ready to walk

If I ever need another stab in the back
I surely know where to turn
Useta make my bed on a railroad track
But don't say I never learn

Meet me in the morning on the nine-o-nine
Down among the evergreen
Found a message in a bottle of wine
What it says remains to be seen

Sick and tired of bein' sick and tired
And mister that isn't a joke
Sick and tired of bein' hired and fired
While my dreams go up in smoke

Sick of gettin' lied on, spied on and judged
By standards that I don't approve
Spent too much time holdin' a grudge
Now I'm gonna make my move

Sick of gettin' treated like a goddamned dog
Sick of gettin' kicked around
Sick of sittin' like a bump on a log
Gonna head for higher ground

Meet me in the morning on the nine-o-nine
Down among the evergreen
Tell me your troubles, I'll tell you mine
Beatin' rhythm on the tambourine

Sick of gettin' treated like a goddamned dog
Sick of gettin' kicked around
Sick of sittin' like a bump on a log
Or knocked down on the ground

Sick of bein' treated to a slap in the face
Where a nod and a wink would do
Sick of my children in the rags of disgrace
Their father and their mother too

Sick of being murdered in the streets of Prague
Down hearted in the Barrio
So sick of sinkin' in the same old bog
Catch a ferry down to Mexico ...
Background
David Gans gave this account of the writing of the song in an online conference on The Well:
Last July I checked my email just before leaving my hotel room to play an out- door festival in Michigan. There was a message from Robert Hunter, saying he had been reading my online journal and thought I might be interested in this. It was a song lyric titled "Like a Dog," and it seemed to have been written expressly for me.

I was VERY excited. This man has been a hero to me for thirty years, having written some of the most important, resonant music of our generation. We had not had much of a relationship over the last ten years or so, for reasons unclear to me, so this gift was totally unexpected. The empathy it conveyed blew my little mind, I must say. There is much more in what he wrote for me than I ever laid out in that online journal -- but I think that is part of Hunter's great gift: to read into people and put things into words that we didn't know were true until he wrote 'em.

I got through the gig that afternoon -- a splendid afternoon on an outdoor stage -- and then charged back to my hotel room to get to work on the song. A couple of days earlier I had sat in my car outside Lynagh's in Lexington, transfixed by Bob Dylan's new song "Things Have Changed." So I had that kind of feel in mind as I tackled "Like a Dog."

I spent that evening with it, determined to have it ready for the next day's show at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in northeast Ohio.

When I got to Nelson Ledges, I got an idea. Rather than play it solo, I decided to show the song to the Dark Star Orchestra and ask them to play it with me in my set. They were game, so I ran it down forJohn kadlecik, the guitarist, and Scott Larned, the keyboardist. I made a head chart for the bass player, Mike Hazdra. The drummers just had to wing it.

My risk-taking paid off. The DSO gave me exactly the sort of groove I was looking for, and although I stumbled on the words a bit the song was a success. I jumped right into "Bertha," and we proceeded to do a few favorite Dead songs in one contninuous jam to end my set.

What a thrill!

When I got home to California, I played the tape of this performance on my radio show. There was copy in the mail to Hunter, but he heard it on the radio and sent me a very enthusiastic email message right away. "You're the doghead!" he said.
Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     2005 Solo Electric David Gans
     2008 The Ones That Look The Weirdest Taste The Best David Gans