Live 04 Aug 1978 version
[Spoken Intro:] This next song should've been called "I Was A Teenage
There I was, 13 years old. I got sent home from school that day for pissing in my desk. I don't
know why I used to do those things. Anyway, the sisters called my parents and told my mother that
I needed psychiatric attention. So I went down to this doctor in town, and he said, "Son, how
did you get this way?" I said, "Doc, I'm glad you asked me that question. See, in my
house -- other kids used to get in trouble for coming in late, but my old man used to yell at me
for coming in early. What're you doing home so soon? Can't you stay out a little longer? Okay. So
one night", I said, "Doc, one night, I was standing out there on the street, looked up,
there was a full moon, hair started growing all over my face, a guitar popped out of my left side,
my knees began to shake, and for just one moment..."
I stood stone-like at midnight suspended in my masquerade
I combed my hair till it was just right and commanded the night brigade, whoa!
I was open to pain and crossed by the rain, I walked on a crooked crutch
I strode all alone into a fallout zone and came out with my soul untouched
Hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "sit down" I stood up
Ooh, ooh, growin' up
The flag of piracy flew from my mast, my sails were set wing to wing
Well I had a jukebox graduate for first mate, she couldn't sail but she sure could sing
Well I pushed B-52, bombed 'em with the blues with my gear set stubborn on standing
I broke all the rules, strafed my old high school, never once gave thought to landing
I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "come down" I threw up
Ooh, ooh, growin' up
[Spoken:] I remember when I was about 10 years old, me and Steve used to sit on
my front porch. And we really, we didn't know who Clarence was at the time, you know. He used to
be just this kid who'd come riding by, no hands on the bicycle, playing a saxophone. We finally
got to know him a little bit and one night... I lived next-door. There was a field over here and
right on the other side of the field, there was the nuns' convent and there was the church and
right behind that was the rectory. So they had me surrounded, right? [chuckles] And not only did
they have me surrounded, but they had me and my folks scared shitless. [chuckles] It's, it's, it
was funny, I could never figure out, like, you know, the only people that the nuns could
intimidate better than like, an 8 year old kid was my old man in those days [chuckles], you know.
But he used to be scared of them sisters, you know. We used to run from 'em at night. And across
the street there was this field and it was full of, like, tomatoes and stuff. And there was this
woman that used to grow 'em, lived in a house there. And what we'd do, we'd wait till they got
rotten and we'd get a bunch of us over there and we'd have these tomato fights, you know, psh psh
psh, going back and forth. You know, little things that make life worth living, it's like
[chuckles], it's like [chuckles], it's like... Anyway, one night it was me and Steve and Clarence
and we were sitting on the porch. And we see something, like this light start hovering around the
moon, [weird guitar noise], there were all these weird noises. [weird guitar noise] And something
started to settle down in the field right across the street. We couldn't see it, it was just this
big glowing light. So we looked at each other. We didn't, we weren't sure what it was. We said,
"What?" But we knew whatever it was, it was gonna get the hell beat out of it with some
tomatoes. [chuckles] So we walk across the street, real slow. I had to go first. You're the Boss,
you gotta take the big responsibilities, it's like [chuckles], it's like... So I'm going first. I
got a tomato in one hand, ready to let this thing have it, and just in case I'm wrong, I got my
rosary beads in the other. [chuckles] I wanna be covered, I don't wanna take no chances, you know.
[chuckles] Suppose they're right, it's like [chuckles], it's like [chuckles]. So [chuckles],
anyway, we get over there, and a door slides down on this thing, and out steps this thing... What
do you think it looked like? Ugly, right? [chuckles] That's right. [chuckles] And like, we tried
talking to it for a few minutes. It didn't say nothing. Then we tried to steal the hubcaps off the
flying saucer. [chuckles] They didn't have any, it's... [chuckles] We didn't know what to do. The
thing took off, and on the ground there was this little note, so we brought it back to the house.
And it wasn't until years later, many years. I'm making this up as I go along here, it's like...
[chuckles] It wasn't until many years later that when we put it on the record player, played it
backwards and held a mirror up to it [chuckles], we could see that the message [chuckles] that he
was trying to get to us was just three words, and it was "Let it rock!"
I took month-long vacations in the stratosphere, you know it's really hard to hold your breath
I swear I lost everything I ever loved or feared, I was the cosmic kid
My feet they finally took root in the earth, I got a nice little place in the stars
I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parked car
I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "sit down" I stood
Ooh, ooh, growin' up
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Page last updated: 22 Jul 2010
The above lyrics are for the live 04 Aug 1978 performance of GROWIN' UP at
Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, WV, during the Darkness On The Edge Of Town Tour.
The song was played in a full-band, album-style arrangement, and featured a story in the break.
List of available versions of GROWIN' UP on this website:
Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake).