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Going to Georgia


Zopilote Machine




the Mountain Goats



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Going to Georgia is the 18th song on the album Zopilote Machine. Although it is one of the most popular Mountain Goats songs from the lo-fi era, John Darnielle has disavowed it, believing it is misogynistic and romanticizes gun violence.[1] Since the song was 'retired' in 2012, it has only been played live three times.


The most remarkable thing about coming home to you is the feeling of being in motion again
It's the most extraordinary thing in the world

I have two big hands and a heart pumping blood and a 1967 Colt .45 with a busted safety catch
The world shines as I cross the Macon county line
Going to Georgia

The most remarkable thing about you standing in the doorway is that it's you
And that you're standing in the doorway
And you smile as you ease the gun from my hand and I’m frozen with joy right where I stand
The world throws its light underneath your hair
Forty miles from Atlanta, this is nowhere
Going to Georgia

Comments by John Darnielle About this Song[]

  • "People, if I tell you something here, promise to keep it in this room 'cause I don't want people to think I'm, like, a spoilsport or nothing, but I feel like we're friends. So if I tell you that I am sick to death of 'Going to Georgia' 'cause I've been playing it for 13 years now... and I know, I know, if you go see my boy Mick Jagger he's gonna come out and tell you how he can't get no satisfaction, even though he got enough satisfaction circa '74 and has been lying to you ever since. But I have since... I've been to Georgia several times now. I live just a half a day's drive from there now. When I wrote that song, Georgia was a distant, mythical country, you know, that someone would only go to under dire circumstances. 'Why would you even go there?' 'Cause I grew up in Southern California. We don't understand why anybody would go anyplace, you know, besides our lovely smog-ridden, terrible traffic, can't-afford-to-live-there home. 'Cause in the culture... that's a different story. (audience member requests 'Going to Georgia' again) No, I'm not going to play that goddamn song. What, are you kidding? That was the whole point of the whole story." -- 2005-06-18 - China Clipper - Olympia, WA
  • "I wrote this song on Christmas morning in like '93—I know, we're all old—and to me, at the time, Georgia was a distant continent, shrouded in mystery, and I never figured I'd ever see it. I lived on the West Coast. Those of us who grew up in California aren't really fully convinced that there's another world beyond Southern California. I remember the day in 1998 that Simon Joyner and I were on the highway, and I crossed the Macon County line, and I was like 'holy fucking shit'." -- 2006-08-10 - 40 Watt Club - Athens, GA
  • "Back then I mainly started playing and improvising whatever lyrics came to mind. So the inspiration is really that little riff from the A to the D string. I was playing that and sort of basking in how much I liked the way it sounded, and I ad-libbed the opening lines, and that suggested a little story, so I filled in the details. There was no real-life situation inspiring the story, it is just a story. I think the emotional hook comes from me being pretty well "inside" the story by the time I get to the end." -- John's AMA
  • "I honestly don't want to play 'Going to Georgia' ever again. I really confronted my old catalog because I began getting more and more engaged with my feminism, and I think 'Going to Georgia' is a bullshit song. Bottom line: I know it's got a nice melody, and it's got a cool vibe, but that dude is bullshit and I don't want to be involved with him anymore. I'm not saying I'll never play it, I probably will, especially when the three of us are playing it kind of rocks, but I wish its lyrics were different, I don't know what to do with that. I don't like what's going on in that song. It seems daring and edgy to a 26-year-old dude to have a guy who goes down with a gun for unknown purposes to see somebody he claims to love, but to my present self, that guy is a fucking asshole. I don't like to celebrate things like that. I'm not ashamed of the song, the song has a vibe, I can't deny it, and I listen to Cannibal Corpse, you know. The song 'Fucked with a Knife,'there aren't multiple readings of that song. That song is a terrible, horrible song but you know, my own part in that stuff, I don't know. I have complex feelings about it." -- 2012-06-22 - Rio Theater - Vancouver, British Columbia
  • "I had a good time playing it for many years, and then I made the mistake of listening to it." -- 2012-10-13 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY
  • "My gut tells me the whole deal with 'Going to Georgia' is bogus, so that’s that. A better song would be one from the perspective of the person whose former partner has shown up on the porch of his/her house with a damn gun, that’s the hero of the song whose story is more interesting from where I’m at now." -- John's Tumblr
  • "'Going to Georgia' - who even knows anything about the 'you' in that song? The narrator can’t tell you because his narcissism doesn’t really allow the autonomy of other people. As a younger writer I found some romance in that level of self-absorption. I’m grown now." -- John's Tumblr
  • "I wanna say to interrupt the narrator -- the most extraordinary feeling in the whole world is to wake up in jail. That's a really extraordinary feeling. So compared to this guy being wrapped up in his own ideas and feelings, to wake up, oh, I'm in jail... Wow, my feelings don't count for shit. This is jail, right? And you knock on the bars and go, hey man, like I'm a singer-songwriter. You have to let me out of here. And then the guy who you went to high school with goes, 'No I don't.' And you say, 'But Lance,' 'cause that's his name 'Well, Lance, you gotta let me out of here,' and he says, 'No, I don't.'" -- 2016-11-21 - Second City - Chicago, IL
  • ""If you should find yourself in this song, heaven forbid, don't say 'Oh! What's the chance for epiphany here?' Call the cops. There's a fucking psychopath on my porch. I hate him, and I want him to go to jail. And if the police say 'What if he's having some deep feelings?' Tell them 'Take your patriarchal bullshit down to the garbage can where it belongs and haul this guy off to jail because he has a gun."" 2016-11-21 - Second City - Chicago, IL
    • At this show, John proceeded to play "Going to Georgia" after an audience member offered him $60.
  • When requested by an audience member at encore: "Dude, I don't know if you got the memo, but I don't play that song anymore. Plenty of other bands cover it very nicely and you can listen to them." 2017-05-25 - Saturn - Birmingham, AL

Things Referenced in this Song[]

Live Shows this Song Was Played at[]

Videos of this Song[]