Alice’s Restaurant. It’s legendary. It’s a song (also known as The Alice’s Resaurant Masacree). It’s a movie. It’s an album. Arlo Guthrie has a friend named Alice Brock, but there’s no real Alice’s Restaurant. Furthermore, the true story that inspired the song had nothing to do with a restaurant at all.
The real story is that on Thanksgiving 1965, Guthrie (and a friend) visited his friend Alice Brock and her husband in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. They lived in an old deconsecrated church. On his way out, they thought they’d do them a favor by taking their trash to the dump. Unfortunately, the dump was closed that day, so Guthrie and a friend dumped the trash over a cliff where others had dumped their trash.
Guthrie was arrested, and the black mark on his record is what kept him out of Viet Nam by making him ineligible for the draft. Although the actual event happened in 1965, Guthrie’s debut album, Alice’s Restaurant, including the 18-minute anti-war anthem, was released in 1969.
Alice’s Restaurant is 50 years old this year, celebrating the same anniversary with Wodstock. Arlo Guthrie has been on the road with it, playing a sold-out performance in the Berkshires on November 23. Somehow it’s fitting that it become a tradition here at #BecomeUngovernable Radio this year.
We will be airing the album in its entirety on Thanksgiving morning at 10:00 a.m. EST.