deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #0 of 27: David Dodd (ddodd) Wed 3 Sep 03 12:47
    
Fire On The Mountain
w: Hunter m: Hart
AGDL: http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/fire.html
LASF: http://www.whitegum.com/songfile/FIREMOUN.HTM
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #1 of 27: Alex Allan (alexallan) Thu 4 Sep 03 18:56
    
Fire On The Mountain 
Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Mickey Hart

Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission.

Long distance runner, what you standing there for?
Get up, get off, get out of the door
You're playing cold music on the bar room floor
Drowned in your laughter and dead to the core
There's a dragon with matches that's loose on the town
Take a whole pail of water just to cool him down

Chorus
Fire, fire on the mountain
Fire, fire on the mountain
Fire, fire on the mountain
Fire, fire on the mountain

Almost ablaze, still you don't feel the heat
It takes all you got just to stay on the beat
You say it's a living, we all gotta eat
But you're here alone, there's no one to compete
If mercy's in business, I wish it for you
More than just ashes when your dreams come true

[chorus]

Long distance runner, what you holding out for
Caught in slow motion in a dash to the door
The flame from your stage has now spread to the floor
You gave all you had, why you want to give more?
The more that you give, the more it will take
To the thin line beyond which you really can't fake

[chorus]


Additional verses

Baby's in scarlet, her shackles in gray
If loves to love she's got it salted away
Out of the rat trap and under the wire
Out of the frying pan and into the fire
Put it down heavy, strip it down lean
Got to lay it down dirty and play it back clean

Fireman, fireman, call off your dog
This isn't a blaze, it's just a hog in the log
Cut up in sections, squirming alive
Lost to the world on that fifty-cent jive
There's a fire on the mountain, running around
What doesn't go up can never come down

Wound in barbed wire, hell I ain't sore
Only hurts when I laugh, or roll on the floor
Only hurts a little, at least that's what I'm told
When you drown in hot oil it can even feel cold
I know I'm in love but I can't tell you why
It feels like poison, shoot me down when I cry
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #2 of 27: please be kind (xian) Mon 3 May 04 09:22
    
I've been playing around with GarageBand and a new musical instrument
and have worked up this excessively overproduced cover of Fire on the
Mountain (the most recent take can be found at
http://xian.typepad.com/musick). So far I've only played it for
non-Deadheads, who generally seem to like it, though they often make
references to how trippy or stoney it sounds (duh).

I'm eager to get feedback from real Deadheads though. Is a cover
version like mine with the liberties I take and my own crude musical
and mixing skills blasphemous or is it a worthy tribute to the
musicians who've inspired me the most?
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #3 of 27: hickeymart (xian) Mon 3 May 04 09:23
    
oh, it's the "Churchbells Softly Chime mix, take 2" version, which can
also be directly accessed via
http://jamesbooker.com/eu-tcs/Fire%20on%20the%20Mountain%20(Churchbells%20Soft
ly%20Chime%20Mix,%20Take%202).mp3
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #4 of 27: David Gans (tnf) Mon 3 May 04 09:58
    
That's a pretty weird arrangement!
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #5 of 27: weir'd scenes inside the goldmines (xian) Mon 3 May 04 10:15
    
weird good or weird bad?
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #6 of 27: David Gans (tnf) Mon 3 May 04 10:16
    
I haven't decided yet!
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #7 of 27: paranoid android (xian) Mon 3 May 04 10:20
    
heh

you can hear earlier versions listed at the same ephemera blog if you
care to - not sure how much time it's worth, but you could tell me if
i've been making it better or worse with my iterations!
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #8 of 27: Gary Burnett (jera) Mon 3 May 04 10:54
    
I'm reminded of what Miles Davis said when asked what he thought about
Ornette Coleman.  Something along the lines of "somebody has to be
fucked up in the head to make music that sounds like that."  

Of course I really love fucked-up music.  And this is, indeed, wierd!

(Do I really have to add the smiley face?)
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #9 of 27: David Gans (tnf) Mon 3 May 04 10:58
    

That's funny.  The day I "got" Ornette -- hearing "The Shape of Jazz to Come"
while under the influence of a friendly psychedelic -- I thought, "No wonder
he scared people: I don't think anyone has ever thought that fast before!
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #10 of 27: hoagie the hero (xian) Mon 3 May 04 12:31
    
yeah. funny how oyu feel you can "hear" the musician's mind or
thoughts  in their choices and practices of playing.

myself, i am in the tambourine stage of development.
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #11 of 27: Marked from the Day That I was Born (ssol) Sun 9 May 04 10:58
    
Xian,

You did It. I loved it. With your permission, I will pass it along.
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #12 of 27: Christian Crumlish (xian) Mon 10 May 04 07:14
    
thanks! i'm having fun with it, though i do think the thing is way
overdone and i'll probably keep tweaking it to get it smoothed out a
bit and maybe a tad more comprehensible. it's funny how easy it is to
produce psychedelic sonic effects, mostly with phasing and delay.

i'm also trying to learn to play the song for real in real time but
that's easier than monkeying around with multitracks!
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #13 of 27: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Tue 2 Aug 22 22:14
    
Interesting to me that the three verses used by the Dead seem to be
a  benediction to a performing musician. The way I interpret it, a
specific performing musician: Garcia.
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #14 of 27: David Gans (tnf) Wed 3 Aug 22 13:28
    
What makes you think it's addressing Garcia? "You say it's a living, we all
gotta eat" sure doesn't sound like Jerry to me.

THe song predates Jerry's heroin years.
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #15 of 27: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Wed 3 Aug 22 15:33
    
If it is addressing a performing musician, is it all performing
musicians, or some subset?

If I have this right, Fire on the Mountain was written after Hunter
had become disengaged from touring, not happy with the cocaine use.
"The more that you give, the more it will take" sounds to me like it
could be addressed to Jerry.
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #16 of 27: David Gans (tnf) Thu 4 Aug 22 06:25
    
Interesting framing I had never considered.
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #17 of 27: it's just as hard with the weight of (soigne) Thu 4 Aug 22 07:31
    
Rock stars probably prefer big fat lines to thin lines.  Either way,
once you get beyond it, you really can't fake it.
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #18 of 27: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Thu 4 Aug 22 17:26
    
I am trying to figure out the pairing with Scarlet Begonias, whether
there is some narrative link. I get that B Major is the musical
link. So far I don't see it, Scarlet looks like Hunter bio to me,
but maybe there is something there in that Scarlet is set in a flush
of optimism, and Fire shows where the path can end up.
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #19 of 27: David Gans (tnf) Fri 5 Aug 22 07:03
    
The first line of "Fire" used to be "Wrong-way Billy what you standin' there
for," and it turned into "Long-distance runner, what you standin' there
for."

Does either of those phrases evoke Jerry?


This is a fascinating conversation!
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #20 of 27: coal will turn to gray (comet) Fri 5 Aug 22 12:39
    
As previously pointed out, Fire on the Mountain also probably
contains reference to hexagram 56 (known as "Lu" or the Wanderer or
traveler in the I Ching, in which the component trigrams are Fire
atop the trigram for Mountain. It would be one of multiple allusions
Hunter made to Buddhist concepts that were popular in the 60's. 
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #21 of 27: Anthony J. Zepezauer (zepezauer) Fri 5 Aug 22 13:35
    
I have a *very* dim recollection, meaning possibly not reliable, of
an interview with Hunter in which he described FOTM as a cautionary
tale addressed to the whole band.
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #22 of 27: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Fri 5 Aug 22 15:56
    
That makes good sense.
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #23 of 27: Gary Burnett (jera) Fri 5 Aug 22 18:51
    
I thought Jerry found heroin in 1975, which I think pre-dates Fire,
though I may be misremembering some interview somewhere. But I seem
to remember him saying something about its effect of helping him
focus on editing the film while shutting all else out. 

And I’ve always heard it as at least partly directed to Jerry, but
also the whole band. 

The “long-distance runner” line I always took to be a figurative nod
(so to speak) at the “marathon” length of Dead shows and the
lethargy that the musicians could sometimes exhibit during those
long hauls. 
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #24 of 27: coal will turn to gray (comet) Sun 7 Aug 22 12:37
    
Yes, perhaps a comment on extreme endurance and its limits.
  
deadsongs.vue.74 : Fire On The Mountain
permalink #25 of 27: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Sun 7 Aug 22 16:17
    
The title is difficult to interpret as anything but a warning.
  

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