Learn How To Play “Alice’s Restaurant” In Just 60 Seconds
“Alice’s Restaurant” – an 18-minute song that (at least once a year) people simply cannot live without. But can you learn how to play “Alice’s Restaurant” in just 60 seconds?
We aim to find out.
“What time are you playing “Alice?”
The phone calls usually start on the Monday before Thanksgiving.
“Are you going to play ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ on Thanksgiving?”
And of course, WDHA will keep up the tradition with our usual airings of this Thanksgiving classic at 6 AM, 12 Noon, and 5 PM.
A little “Alice” history
Though the song was first released in 1967 on Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant album, the incident referred to in the song dates back to Thanksgiving 1965.
Guthrie and a friend had spent Thanksgiving in Stockbridge, Massachusetts at the home of Alice and Ray Brock, who were living in a old church.
As a favor to the Brock family, Guthrie and his friend took the trash from Thanksgiving to the local dump, not realizing that it would be closed for the holiday.
Not wanting to bring the garbage home, they ultimately left it near another pile of trash they found and went back to the church.
Everything was fine until the next day when the now-legendary Officer Obie from the local police department called the church to say that an envelope in the pile had been traced back to that location.
A thorough police investigation that included “twenty-seven 8-by-10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was, to be used as evidence against us.”
Guthrie was arrested and ultimately had to pay a $50 fine.
The song ultimately shifts to a military induction site on Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan where Guthrie had to go for his draft physical during the Vietnam war.
The two events would appear to be unrelated until, during the Q&A during the physical, Guthrie is asked, “Kid, we only got one question. Have you ever been arrested?”
How to play “Alice’s Restaurant” in 60 seconds
Though 18+ minutes long, the song has a rather short, but very repetitive fingerstyle pattern on an acoustic guitar.
My buddy Chris Lewis (if you remember the Jersey Shore band Bums In the Park, Chris and I were founding members) joined me to show you how to play “Alice’s Restaurant” in 60 seconds.
Arlo Guthrie on WDHA
Back in 2015, Arlo Guthrie joined me on “All Mixed Up” where we spoke about, of course, Alice and her legacy. Listen to that interview here on the WDHA website.