Don't Follow Lyrics - Alice In Chains

Review The Song (26)

Hey, I ain't never coming home.
Hey, I'll just wander my own road.
Hey-hey, I can't meet you here tomorrow - no, no.
Say goodbye don't follow -
Misery so hollow.

Hey you, you're livin' life full throttle.
Hey you, pass me down that bottle, yeh...
Hey-hey you, you can't shake me round now.
I get so lost and don't know how, yeh...
It hurts to care, I'm goin' now.

Well I forgot my woman, lost my friends
Things I've done and where I've been,
Sleep in sweat - the mirror's cold -
Seen my face? It's growin' old -
Scared to death, no reason why
Do whatever to get me by,
Think about the things I've said
Read the page its cold and dead

An' take me home!
Yeah! Take me home!
Oh-oh... take me home
Take me home, yeah.
Take me home. Yeah, oh.

Say goodbye. Don't follow.

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The excess of Touring | Reviewer: Flynn Taylor | 1/30/14

Personally to me it reflects excess of the hell of rock n roll lifestyle- long tours, drugs, and endless sex- I mean its fun in the beginning but once you take that rocket for what almost 2 years which I believe that was about how long dirt tour lasted- so the guys were exhausted, fed up, and to me the lyrics illustrate that forgot my woman ( jerry GF) lost my friends ( when you got down time for chat especially when youre too high to care- things I done where I've been- I can only imagine the things they did on the road - freak me out!!! sleep in sweat the mirror cold- when can they got a break?? its the fast lane see my face its going old- the years going by what down time are they getting to destress?? and they arent feeling young anymore that for sure- scared to death no reason why - it can be quite frightening to NOT know where you are headed- do whatever to get me by- to me that implies that they gonna fake it as they gotta get through it even if they are sick of it- think about the things I said read the page cold and dead- that reflects on the outside world going on around them which they are obliv too while singing their little hearts out everynight!!! Take me home- well thats obiv they wanna go home- relax take a vac from it all- and so the message to me is Say Goodbye Dont follow- dont do what we do because youll pay for it in the end. Interesting to note that swing on this also off of Jar is the exact opposite message of dont follow hahahaha- let me be im ok - like we love this life- hahahaa I find it rather amusing. Although Jerry did write Dont Follow Layne give that track its soul almost a gospel feel - with conviction- it is one of my all time favorite songs off Jar of Flies. Jar has this beautiful diversity to showcase Alice in chains in such a different light- it is cross generational- older people and younger people love it. First EP is history to reach number #1- musically I feel it is superior and you gotta give that credit to Cantrell as he composed all the musical arrangements himself for Jar of Flies. However Layne wrote 4 songs on that album Rotten, Nutshell, I Stay Away, and Swing on This- with Jerry writing 3- No Excuses, Whale & Wasp, Don't Follow. Still the magic of this band comes from the combination of them both as Jerry sing harmony in almost every track Alice has- man, them, would, down, no excuses, rain, hate, angry- he is all in there- most fans forget that because Layne has always been featured in the press and in videos- but Jerry sings those songs- so to me Alice in Chains will always be Layne and Jerry- their voices made those songs we love what they are- f**ken perfect!!! As for Jar of Flies I consider it the Anthology of Alice and a true representation of their lives.

'Don't Follow' is about suicide, not addiction or heroine directly. | Reviewer: Scott Wesley | 9/13/13

This song is about suicide, regardless of the reasons for the act. It is not about heroine addiction. Yes Jerry wrote it, and sounds more like Lanes life, but that changes nothing.

If you will, follow my trane of interpretation:

Hey, I ain't never coming home.
I have decided to end my life.

Hey, I'll just wander my own road.
I am so lost and alone. And have run out of hope. My misery has pushed everyone I care for so far away. But I dont want to tell you my decision yet. Youll understand once I am gone. (or perhaps its a sort-of filler lyric)

Hey-hey, I can't meet you here tomorrow - no, no. -
By tomorrow, I will be dead.

Say goodbye don't follow. Misery so hollow.
Dont take my suicide as something to consider for yourself.
Dont romanticize my, your own or anyone elses dark struggles: if it draws you in, youll find there is no sweet spot or silver lining to internal darkness. The attraction is real, the reality is fake. So youre left with nothing.

"Hey you, you're livin' life full throttle."
I have no clue what this means. Maybe referring back to Dont do what I am about to because youre life is going well.

"Hey you, pass me down that bottle, yeah..."
OK, Ive made up mind my, hand me the bottle of pills to kill myself.
Or Hes found some comfort among others who also want to die lets take a swig of booze and get this over with.

The pills are taken, its just a matter of time now.
Now hes entering a state of transformation: aware and existing between living and dead.

"Hey-hey you, you can't shake me round now."
Hes now remembering the first time he went through that transition - being born. Opposite direction but similar experience. So he is now telling his mother (not in person), hes not in her womb, or dependent on her, so he is free and a bit bitter about the past.

"I get so lost and don't know how, yeah..."
Being a sensitive soul, the bitterness shifts to an attempt at explaining to her that he did try over and over, but always ended up in a living hell.

"It hurts to care, I'm goin' now."
He realizes that he dropped his guard, so he is starting to feel sadness, reflect on regret and guilt for the pain he will cause others. OK, enough. I AM doing to die. So one last time: goodbye.

*** The song tone changes, indicating that hes now shifting from looking back and saying goodbye to looking forward at whats to come.

"Well I forgot my woman, lost my friends
Things I've done and where I've been,"
His identity and any relation to what he knows as life are now gone.

"Sleep in sweat - the mirror's cold -
Seen my face? It's growin' old -"
His body is reacting to the drugs cold sweats.
Looking in a mirror, he gets a chilling view of a dying face. Or hes sick of being reminded of his life, which is strongest when looking at himself in the mirror.

"Scared to death, no reason why"
No more misery, depression, or agony, so why be scared?
And it is a play on words: Why be scared to death when he has already insured that he will get to death very soon anyways.

"Do whatever to get me by,"
Hell grab any distraction to avoid experiencing the horrors the poison he took is causing until he is dead. So he chooses to:
"Think about the things I've said
Read the page its cold and dead"
But reflecting on anything he has said is pointless: he cant address who he said them to, or adjust to how people react, but as far as he is concerned he is already dead.

"An' take me home!
Yeah! Take me home!
Oh-oh... take me home
Take me home, yeah.
Take me home. Yeah, oh."

Home is resolve, relief, comfort. And he has felt dead for so long, being dead will be like home to him than living another day.

Hes now feeling hopeful and optimistic. Leaving the body, the relief of the pain feels so good.

"Say goodbye. Don't follow."
One final time, reminding others not to do what he has now done.

Follow that into the song Swing On This (the next song on that album). Death is over. The song is more upbeat. Hes confronted with feeling his family and friends' desire for him to come back to life (said come home), but he still wants to die (heading towards what home is for him.) He hears a voice that says you have a choice, but he knows he cant go back, only choose how fast he heads home.

Or I am completely wrong and all of that was just my weird mind getting too creatively over-active.

Loud & Clear | Reviewer: Juje | 7/11/13

For anyone who believes this song is about a breakup clearly has very little understanding of AIC & has never experienced the pain & darkness of drug addiction. I personally can relate to every word of the song & its ALWAYS been clear to me, without a doubt. Id say you'd have to be an idiot not to but I think its more the lack of understanding. One can not see or feel the depth & meaning of something they've never experienced. He's waking in sweat BECAUSE the mirror's cold. Meaning hed going through withdrawals because je has nothing to put on the mirror (until he gets more, of course). He's becoming aware of his aging, as drugs will quickly do to you. I could go over every word & its addict related meanings but the vast majority of us already know. You're free to believe whatever you choose about the songs meaning but the true AIC fans/followers know the real deal.

This one has always been it | Reviewer: Banjo | 1/23/12

I heard this song the first time when I was like 8 years old, and since then I've been a AIC fan. Twelve years listening to all the albums over and over again and the thing is that it's as powerful as the first time I really listened to it.
It seems that every AIC fan out there's special in a special kind of way. I think you know what I mean, deep in a pure but horrible dirty way. Holy in it's unholyness.

This song has always been it for me. It has traveled with me my whole life. Through extremely strong examples. My first love left me without any explenation, it was there. One of my best friends that took a heroin overdose the first time she took it in a age of 16, it was there.

Whatever, the song is it. I've thought that this is the song that will be played at my funeral but fuck that, I wanna hear it while I dies.

Like every song ever written...... | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/5/11

All you critics out there, can say what you want. More artists and songwriters will tell you that the song is what ever you the listener makes out of it. The songwriter will have his or her own feeling of what the song means to them selves and what ever personal notations written into to song are for the song writer to only know. Every song out there means something to someone and everyone will have their own interpretation of the song. This song in particular means a great deal of many things to all its listeners. Me it means that the final time I will ever hear is this song played will be at my girl friends funeral as a note for me and everyone else do not follow her when she finally succeeds to kill herself.... :'(.

I get it.... | Reviewer: Steener | 1/22/11

Maybe because I've been through 6 years of heroin addiction myself, I've never wondered once what this song was about. It's always been pretty obvious what it was to me from the lyrics, especially the ones towards the end, which makes even more sense when reading them after reading Greg's story of the song and that the last part of the song was written by Layne in the throws of his addiction. This has always been one of the songs that spoke to me the most when I was in the deepest parts of my addiction and one that now always reminds me to want to stay clean.

That said it always too has seemed to me a death song too. I've always wanted it played at my funeral.

Wow. You are all actually wrong... | Reviewer: greg | 12/22/10

Wow. You all managed to get it mostly wrong. In Alice there was a great amount of tension between all the members of the group. Layne was struggling and was the only one who couldn't be out on the road because of his condition. So the other members found this very frustrating and rightfully so. They had worked hard to get where they were and had the chance of a life time. Layne only wanted to participate part time. When they kept pushing him to clean up he viewed it as hypocritical because the all were doing drugs and drinking or at least had. Layne was a full blown addict though and it obviously was very serious he clean up. He decided he wasn't going to. That really crushed the rest of the group. This song was actually written as Jerry actually talking to Layne via the song (which is a common theme in their later work if you know where to look). Layne responds at the end. They both use it as a warning to others and they also communicated with each other. Jerry was begging for Layne to get better... but kind of admitting he had problems too. Layne was essentially saying "it's to late, man... but I will tell others why they shouldn't do this shit" Very sad. It didn't have to end that way. Having friends around like Mike Star(who clung to Layne like a security blanket up until he died) don't really improve your chances either... though it looks like he might be on the mend which is great for him.

oh and for the record... | Reviewer: greg | 12/22/10

Layne did love the members of AIC and if you take what that idiot published in her interview with him near the end of his life you are not getting the whole story. Layne was actually contacting her to tell her not to screw this up. He was chastising her for contacting his family and friends. He knew he couldn't stop her and nobody else was asking to write his story at that time...he was very, very weak and couldn't really put up much of a fight. So he did what he could and she published some out of context BS. He was meaning that he doesn't talk to the members of AiC anymore... not that he didn't love them. They just weren't everyday pals...essentially because they weren't going to stand around and watch him die...

jeez people! | Reviewer: AIC fan | 11/4/10

OK! Jerry wrote most of the MUSIC but he and Layne each wrote about half of the lyrics. different on different songs/albums of course. No matter who wrote them, they made these as a BAND, not what Jerry did or what Layne did. They were good friends for the most part. I definitely understand where people are coming from. I am one of the biggest LS fanatics out there. haha. And it really pisses me off when people think that he was the one writing all of this and not giving credit to the rest of the band. But it really makes me mad when people say that Jerry is/was the one behind the music. yeah, Layne had his problems and is the reason they canceled tours and sh*t, but that band never would have made it without him. Just listen to his voice compared to Jerry's---they are so different, and while they sound good together, Jerry is not anything special on his own. Just listen to the Unplugged version of a song like Down in a Hole or Would? and tell me that Layne's voice is not what makes those songs what they are... most AIC fans like the fact that they let ppl know they are not the only ones feeling that way, sad, lost, alone, regretful, etc. And this is all due to their unique sound and songwriting. Just wanna say William Duvall sucks, they should have changed their name to Lenny Kravitz Band after they brought him on. AIC will never be the same, they are missing such a big part of their sound. RIP Layne Thomas Staley! You will always live through the music that you left us, and in the hearts that you have touched.

Composing | Reviewer: Telcontar | 9/8/10

No doubt Layne could write a good song, but if you look at credited writing and listen to most of the band members talk you'll find that Layne had a hand in perhaps 30 percent of Alice's songs. He did write almost all of at least one album (Jar of Flies). Layne was a great singer, wrote some good songs, but far as I'm concerned Jerry was the power behind AIC.

Take it for what it means to you | Reviewer: MadSeasonsAic25071 | 8/18/10

Personally i think you should let the song mean whatever you want it to mean TO YOU.Also layne had a big part of writing almost all of the aic songs there were only a few that cantrell actually wrote alone...Personally i thing jerry is a self absorbed asshole...His solo album boggy depot or what the hell ever it was called was shit yet laynes band mad season was a hit...and is a great album... take it for whatever but Staley was and is alice in chains thus why now noone give 2 shits or piss abou them no layne = no good AiC also mike inez is a fag..Mike starr is way better on bass...sean kicks ass tho..but treasure AiC with layne and Mad Season bc AiC sucks donkey balls now.

bob | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/11/10

The song is about leaving the ones who were important to you behind, due to drug addiction. Leaving them behind, and letting them know they should give up on ever getting you back. They should not follow.

Powerful | Reviewer: john | 7/22/10

The song...mrly is not about a Talk about seeing things at face value. If you knew the slightest bit about AIC and drug addiction you would know this is about the path of addiction. Jesus. Anyways...this song is extremely powerful to me...I am a recovering heroin addict. I am lucky to be alive today. I wish Layne was too because the music that he created and helped create is incredible. The album Jar of Flies is haunting and dark...but it is also poetic and beautiful. It is my favorite album of all time. And I can't help but get choked up when I listen to the lyrics because the pain is right there and it is REAL. It isn't fake like so much of today's music. The song is called Don't Follow for a is talking about the deadly and dark disease of drug addiction and how following that path would be the biggest mistake of your life.

Totally different take on things,others may not agree! | Reviewer: Joe | 4/26/10

As a person who suffers from bipolarism and manic depression, and a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. I see this as somewhat of a suicide note to those that you leave behind that you love. Everytime I hear this song it makes me sad and It's how I feel sometimes. Thanks

yup yup | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/7/10

Yeah Jerry cantrell Wrote 99% of the lyrics if not 100% and layne sang the last part of this song "forgot my women and lost my friends" that part. and on most of the songs Jerry backed up Layne. Them Bones is a perfect example. but on the earlier heavier stuff was just Layne

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------ 11/20/2014

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