[H O M E]
[Song Info]

Gotta Get Mean
Lyrics: John Popper
Music: Chan Kinchla, Brendan Hill

In this vale of toil and sin
You're stuck in a race that you just can't win
Just take a look around and it's so obscene
But that's the way it is, so you gotta get mean

Don't waste your time wondering why
Cause the only thing you know is that someday you'll die
You gotta get tough, you gotta get lean
But best of all you get to gotta get mean

You give me an itch and I'll blow you away
It's part of this dangerous game that we play
You'd do the same if you'd seen what I'd seen
C'est la vie, mon cherie, ya gotta get mean

1990 Blues Traveler Music

First release: Let's Travel
Released: 01/01/1988
Earliest time played: 10/14/1988
Last time played: 10/13/2012
Playing frequency:
  210 plays (see all shows)
  11.30% of shows in the database
  11.35% of shows since debut
  Detailed statistics
Song information:
  John often heralds the opening to this song with "Ladies and gentlemen, the guitar stylings of Mr. Chandler Kinchla!" It is almost never played on its own, but instead usually with "Gloria" in the middle.

Other recordings of "Gotta Get Mean":
  Blues Traveler, 1990

In this vale of toil and sin
This line is actually originally from an old Burma Shave campaign. Burma Shave was a shaving product that was marketed by means of a series of roadway signs, each containing a line of various jingle. This jingle reads:
Within this vale
Of toil
And sin
Your head grows bald
But not your chin
These signs in particular are from the Henry Ford museum, and a similar set is on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
You give me an itch and I'll blow you away
A more violent turn on the expression "give it an inch and it'll take a mile" - i.e. if you permit a certain behavior it will soon grow out of control. The original expression was "For when I gave you an inch, you tooke an ell", where an ell was the length of the king's arm, or approximately a yard.
C'est la vie, mon cherie
French for 'That's life, my dear'. The grammar is slightly inaccurate, actually - 'mon' is masculine while 'cherie' is feminine.