In the fifties they used to have carnivals that came through town. I know you're familiar with carnivals here. And every carnival had what they called a "geek." Do you remember what a geek is?
A geek is a man who eats a live chicken. He bites the head off and then he bites the rest of it off, drinks up the blood, everything, and then sweeps up the feathers with a broom. Then it cost about a quarter to see him. Now I guess it would be about fifteen, twenty dollars, but at that time it was still a quarter.
Anyway, no one much gets tight with the geek. I was having breakfast one day with the bearded lady and she was telling me that the geek is so lowdown it's not even believable. The geek thinks everybody else on the whole crew is freaky and he's the only straight one around.
I remembered that years later when I was walking down the street in Nashville, about nineteen sixty-something, with Al Kooper, who was playing organ for me at the time. We were walking down the street and we had long hair. And nobody in Nashville at that time did have long hair. Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings . . . none of those people had long hair at that particular time.
Now as we were walking down the street buses would stop. People would come running out out of stores just to take a look at us. I thought it was kind of peculiar, really, because we hadn't done anything.
Somewhere along the line I put it all . . . tried to, anyway, put it all into this song:
You walk into the room . . .