Alpha Chum Gatherer is an unreleased song by the Mountain Goats written and recorded for Tallahassee, but it did not make the album.


Rise up real early shaking
Try and steady my hand
Make my way down to the water
Sail a half a mile from land

See where the sharks have been feeding
Out on the ocean alone
And I scrutinize the carnage 
Like it was the goddamn Rosetta Stone

When I crack
That secret code
It's sure to lighten my load

Won’t you come out sailing with me
Into the warmth of the afternoon 

Scoop up the guts and brains
Drizzle them into a plastic bag
Watch them drop onto the deck
Feel the day drag 

And when I get back to the car
It's like a furnace inside
I head on down the highway
Throttle open wide 

Back home in the high heat
I spill out all my presents for you
There's blood all over the floor now
What are we going to do

Won't you come out sailing with me
Into the warmth
Warmth of the afternoon

lyrics transcribed by lksdviewapt1c

Comments by John Darnielle About this SongEdit

  • "A couple songs got left off [Tallahassee]. This was one of my very favorites, and I had envisioned it as being, like, the one that led off the album, so there was, sort of picture somebody going out onto the water and discovering that the water is threatening, and coming back home and finding it's even worse at home than it was in the boat with all the blood all over the [unintelligible]" -- 2013-06-05 - Maxwell's - Hoboken, NJ
  • "This was one of the songs I thought was gonna be one of the big primary texts in Tallahassee but when we went to put it together, it just didn't seem to fit anywhere. You couldn't put it after or before anything and have it sound right, it just didn't play well with the others. It was a little bloodier than most of them, and also it had some unresolved plot points, like "Where did they get the boat?". The whole alpha stories are full of questions like "How did they afford a car?" - "Did they own or rent?" This song features a boat, and a car. I don't know where they got them, I don't want to know where they got them. It's called Alpha Chum Gatherer." -- 2013-06-17 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL
  • "I wonder if you guys saw this commercial that they used to play when I lived up in Iowa. I didn’t see it anywhere else, I don’t know if it was nation wide, or what, but, um, they use to have this commercial they would show that was like, you know… *laughs* it was the best thing. I hope you saw it! But I don’t know if it was maybe a Iowa and Minnesota get-people-to-go-to-the-lakes thing– though I assume you have lakes down here also. But it was a kid’s voice– oh, this is going to be a long story, hold on– It was a kid’s voice and reminded me of one of the best songs of the 80s, that great decade the 80s that brought us such great music as “Dear Mister Jesus.” Did you ever hear “Dear Mister Jesus?” It was a song sung by a five-year-old, and it was that sort-of Christian pornography, that like, you go, “Oh, the kid said Jesus. What could be better?” And if you are like a guy who is going to Mega Death shows in Long Beach in his spare time, you look at “Dear Mister Jesus” with wonder and reverence and go “Aw, this is the best time to be alive!” because “Dear Mister Jesus,” right? But it was clear that they had asked the kid to talk dumber then she actually was and she sings like: “Dear Mister Jesus, I don’t know what to do” and it was like that, right? So this commercial I’m thinking of that ran in Iowa, was the “Dear Mister Jesus” voice, but the kid was asking his father to take him fishing. This is the sort-of thing that weighs very heavily on Midwestern Dads, I think. If you are a kid listening to this, and you want to just rip out your Midwestern father’s heart, then I suspect asking him to take you fishing on a day he can’t do it is a good way to do that. But the commercial went: “Take me fishing, because I won’t be nine forever!” “Take me fishing, because there’s only one sunset a day!” And I would watch this video and go “Oh man, Dear Mister Jesus has gone fishing, this is cool!” Right? I want you to bear those noble sentiments in mind as I play an unreleased song from Tallahassee about the day the guy gets drunk and goes fishing." -- 2013-06-20 - Old Rock House - St. Louis, MO

Things Referenced in this SongEdit

Live Shows this Song Was Played atEdit

Videos of this SongEdit