The Grateful Dead – When Push Comes To Shove

Another one from the album In The Dark

Shaking in the forest, what have you to fear?
Here there may be tigers, to punch you in the ear.
With gloves of stainless steel, bats carved out of bricks
Knock you down and beat you up and give your ass a kick.
When push comes to shove, you’re afraid of love.

Shaking in the desert, now wherefore do you cry?
Here there may be rattlesnakes, to punch you in the eye.
With Shotgun’s full of silver and bullet’s made of glass
String barbed wire at your feet, that will not let you pass.
When push comes to shove, you’re afraid of love.

When push comes to shove, when push comes to shove,
You’re afraid of love, when push comes to shove.

Shaking in the bedroom, covers on your head,
Are you still in fear of the hand beneath the bed?
Grabbing at the handle, scratching at the door,
Maybe it’s mystery killer you saw on channel four.
When push comes to shove, you’re afraid of love.

Shaking in the garden, the fear within you grows,
Here there may be roses, to punch you in the nose.
Put my arms around you, love you til you cry,
Wrap you in your sweet perfume and squeeze you ’til you die.
When push comes to shove, you’re afraid of love.

When push comes to shove, when push comes to shove,
You’re afraid of love, when push comes to shove.

Annotation: http://artsites.ucsc.edu/GDead/agdl/push.html

“When Push Comes to Shove”

Recorded on

First performance: December 15, 1986, at the Coliseum Arena in Oakland, California. “Push” occupied the third spot in the first set, following “C.C. Rider,” and preceding “Beat It On Down the Line.” “Black Muddy River” was also debuted at this show. “When Push Comes to Shove” remained in the repertoire through July 17, 1989.


Here there may be…”

A phrase borrowed from old maps. “Here there may be monsters” indicated that the mapmaker was in uncharted territory.


bullets made of glass

This note from a reader:

From: Brendan Riley [mailto:bpriley@sonic.net]
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2003 10:15 PM
Subject: When Push Comes To Shove

Dear David,
driving west into the fog today, listening to the Dead debut When Push Comes To Shove from Oakland 1986, I bent my ear to hear the line about:
“bullets made of glass”
In Jules Vernes’ 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Captain Nemo invites Professor Aronnax on an undersea hunting expedition, which, among other marvels, will employ guns powered by compresed air, firing glass bullets:

“Monsieur, with a gun such as mine, all hits are fatal; an animal has only to be touched, however slightly, and it drops stone-dead, as if struck by lightning.”

“How can that be?”

“Because the bullets ejected by this gun are not ordinary bullets. They are little capsules invented by Leniebroeck, an Austrian chemist, and I have a considerable supply. These glass capsules are covered with steel and weighted with a pellet of lead. They are little Leyden jars, highly charged with electricity! On the slightest impact they are discharged. The animal, however powerful it may be, falls dead. Besides, they are so small that an ordinary gun can hold ten of them.”

What better example of a man afraid of love than Captain Nemo? or filled with a love so great he is afraid to share it with the world, which might be the same thing?

from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1870) by Jules Verne
quotation from Signet Classic Edition, 1969;
Chapter XV: “A Written Invitation”, pg. 120.
Translation by Mendor T. Brunetti

Sincerely,
Brendan Riley
Petaluma


First posted: January 20, 1996
Last revised: July 31, 2003

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