What it means to be the Dogman: TIL #6

I dare you not to love this song from my favorite band, King’s X. The lead singer has joked that in every one of their songs, no matter how serious, there’s at least one throwaway line that means absolutely nothing. Knowing this sort of propensity, I wouldn’t read too much into a lot of the specific examples (“give me a coat or give me a bite”? Whaaa…?), but at the core of this song is certainly something theologically interesting. Here’s a hint: there are multiple possible meanings to the word “dogman”.

Despite the minimal response I have had to this series so far, I fully expect my blog readers to contribute in helping me unravel this one!

hard link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDBy5aKFG2k

Dogman

written by Ty Tabor and recorded by King’s X on Dogman

Give me a dollar, or give me 50 cents
Let me take it back if that ain’t what I meant
Give me a coat or give me a bite
Give me a light bulb and make sure it’s bright
Give me the moon or give me everywhere
Give me some powder to spray up in the air

Let me take my thoughts away
To think about another day
Remembering the times I pray
To help me deal with me
To be the Dogman

Give me some attention, lend me your ear
Give me what to do and get me outta here
Give me a book give me something to read
Give me a horse race and give me who’s in lead

Let me take my thoughts away
To think about another day
Remembering the times I pray
To help me deal with me
To be the Dogman

All the sleeping, never waking
All the leaves in need of raking
All the business undertaking
All my bones and muscles aching
Thoughts and mind are surely flaking
Over luncheons hands are shaking
Surety of no mistaking
Cars and horns and
Glasses breaking

Give me a color, make it black or white
Give me a newspaper, tell me if it’s right
Give me a nail, or give me a bat
Give me a skinny, or give me a fat

Remembering the times I pray
To let me thoughts away
And think about another day
To help me deal with me
To help me deal with me
To be the Dogman

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  • Ah! “Dogman” is one of my all time favorite albums. King’s X are such a good band!
    I remember many years ago when some friends of mine and I first discussed what this song meant, that we agreed that it was a song, written from a “backslider’s” perspective, longing to be back in a more simple, obedient spiritual place. But I think it’s much more ambiguous than that. With lines like “All the sleeping, never waking/All the leaves in need of raking” and “Give me a color, make it black or white/Give me a newspaper, tell me if it’s right” King’s X are criticizing the dogman for being spiritual, but unreflecting. And that’s definitely not positive.

  • Tim Martin

    Definitely one of their best albums.

    Summer of ’93 I saw them in concert. It was the Dogman tour… I was at the old Ogden Theatre in Denver.

    The remarkable musical accomplishments on this album to the side, it did seem like a turning point for the band. Looking back on it to where they are now, Dogman marked a change. They were recanting, even at that time. Musically, the concert was amazing. But the comments by Doug along the way were very disappointing.

    Saw them again last summer for the XV tour. They looked like a shell of their former selves. Sad.

    Tim Martin

  • Anonymous

    It’s been years since I last listened to them, but I remember them from the late 80s and did revive listening to them back around 2003 for a while.

    This particular song had one line that struck me: “To help me deal with me”

    I can related to that!

  • David Reimer

    Great, great song. Great, great album. Great, great band.

    Too bad they never came back for second go with Brendan O’Brien and Nick DiDia. Wonderful sound! Richer than the Sam Taylor sound, but clearly identifiable. How could Kings X not be? 😉

    But the question … never thought about it! Part of me doesn’t want to know…