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Onslaught
Lyrics: John Popper
Music: Bobby Sheehan, John Popper

Lies, well they're o.k.
More elaborate every day
Truth, well it's here too
What can you make it do for you?
Greed, it's just a drive
Do what you can to stay alive
Peace, it's just a dream
So rock and roll and kick and scream

Now won't you tell me if you like what you've just heard?
And if you think the point I'm driving at absurd
Well there's no need to tell me how or tell me why
But I need to know the reason not to try
Cause if you look around you might just feel like me
And you might notice no one was ever really free
And maybe, just maybe for now that's how it's supposed to be
Could be so far we've only earned the right to barely see

I really couldn't say for sure
Like everyone else I know
I'm just looking for the cure

The poison has infected you
Have no fear I'm infected too
War, they come and go
No telling where the wind will blow
Pain was always there
Sad reminder that you care
Hate, the price you pay
For thinking you got the only way

Now won't you tell me if you like what you've just heard?
And if you think the point I'm driving at absurd
Well there's no need to tell me how or tell me why
But I need to know the reason not to try
Cause if you look around you might just feel like me
And you might notice no one was ever really free
And maybe, just maybe for now that's how it's supposed to be
Could be so far we've only earned the right to barely see
Barely see, barely see, barely see, barely see, let's see...

For your parents Ellis Island
What had they gone through?
And if you descend from the Mayflower
Well they were running too
They were running from England
Who were warring with France
Who would conquer Spain

Given half of a chance
But it was the Moslems
Who had gotten there first

When there wasn't the bloodshed
Then there was the thirst
And a hate for the Christians
The infiltrators of Rome
You know that once mighty empire
Who made Africa home

The poor, noble Egyptians
Oh the hardships they braved
Remembering the good times
With Judea enslaved

And the Israelite nation
The very children of God
Killing Palestine's children

And I'm finding it odd

The Earth, a piece of fruit
Don't blame the maggots when they loot
Life just a game we play
Try to live just one more day
Space, our final hope
Throw the drowning man a rope
The choice is for us to say
Completely change or fade away

Now won't you tell me if you like what you've just heard?
And if you think the point I'm driving at absurd
Well there's no need to tell me how or tell me why
But I need to know the reason not to try
Cause if you look around you might just feel like me
And you might notice noone was ever really free
And maybe, just maybe for now that's how it's supposed to be
Could be so far we've only earned the right to barely see

I really couldn't say for sure
Like everyone else I know
I'm just looking for the cure

1991 Blues Traveler Music

First release: Travelers & Thieves
Released: 09/03/1991
Earliest time played: 02/03/1990
Last time played: 07/04/2011
Playing frequency:
  48 plays (see all shows)
  2.58% of shows in the database
  2.65% of shows since debut
  Detailed statistics
Song information:
  This song was originally referred to as "Blind Onslaught" and jokingly as "Looking for a Title".
  After a 4-year absence, this song was brought back by a group of fans from the mailing list. They chanted for it at every show of the fall 1996 tour, and the band responded by opening with it on New Year's Eve at Madison Square Garden.
  It had been "retired" because it was difficult on John's voice, and has not been played again since.
  At the end of the album track, you can hear an elephant trumpet - a reference to the next song, Ivory Tusk.

Other recordings of "Onslaught":
  Travelers & Thieves/On Tour Forever, 1991
  Travelers & Thieves/On Tour Forever, 1991
  Travelers & Thieves pre-production tape, 1991
  When the Lights Go Down, 1994


For your parents Ellis Island/What had they gone through?
Ellis Island was the main east-coast port of immigration into the United States for many years. This line begins a string of references to conflicts between various people, as a historical backdrop. The song is essentially of an anti-war sentiment but this bridge attempts to put everything in context.
And if you descend from the Mayflower/Well they were running too
The Mayflower was the ship used by the Pilgrims in 1620 to sail from England to the United States.
They were running from England/Who were warring with France/Who would conquer Spain/Given half of a chance
The Pilgrims were fleeing England in order to find religious freedom overseas. Most of Europe was embroiled in the Thirty Year's War at the time, which centered around a conflict between the Protestants and Roman Catholics in Germany. The king of England, James I, was the father-in-law of the head of the German Protestant party, but for the most part was not actually at war with France - in fact, the French backed the Protestants against Catholic Germany and Spain (who France was indeed interested in conquering, since its empire was on the decline).
But it was the Moslems/Who had gotten there first
In 711, Spain was invaded from the south by the Moors, a people of northern Africa who practiced Islam. They then occupied the peninsula for nearly eight centuries, until they were finally defeated and expelled in 1492.
And a hate for the Christians/The infiltrators of Rome/You know that once mighty empire/Who made Africa home
At first, it is not clear here which empire is being spoken of, since the Christians/infiltrators of Rome would most likely have referred to the Holy Roman Empire. At its peak, the Roman empire included much of central and southern Europe, but did not extend to Africa. The British empire, on the other hand, did colonize much of eastern and southern Africa, including Egypt, which is mentioned in the next verse.
The poor, noble Egyptians/Oh the hardships they braved
In the context of the previous verse, the "hardships" referred to are possibly the conflict over the Suez Canal area in the mid to late 19th century and their battle for independence from Britain in the early 20th century.
Remembering the good times/With Judea enslaved
Judea, or the part of Palestine adjacent to Jerusalem, is here used more likely as a metonymy for the Jewish people, who were enslaved under the Egyptian empire - good times for the Egyptians, not the Jews.
And the Israelite nation/The very children of God/Killing Palestine's children/And I'm finding it odd
Coming back to the present time with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that still rages on today.