Government Witness

Government WItness


Like a lot of people in the 70’s, I was fascinated by the so-called radical underground, whether I wanted to be or not. No one could escape the media fixation with celebrity fugitives like Patty Hearst.

I conceived this song as a basic song of romantic betrayal — with the twist that betrayal takes the form of turning government witness.

I made sure that, in classic gangster movie tradition, the antihero is promised the ultimate punishment for his crimes — a bitter fate compounded by what he sees as his lover’s treachery. So don’t start up with me for glamorizing criminals and terrorists.

The song was originally performed with my band, Machine Dog. There’s a link below to a download of the Machine Dog version of “Government Witness.”

Machine Dog version


Someone’s been bleeding us
a young man wake up each day old and tired
I got my gun and my silver bullets
gonna get me a government vampire

Hanging on the chain link fence
got my silver cross my Smith & Wesson .38
But when they turn on the juice
I’m crucified on the electric gate

If this is real life
I guess I’ll get used to it
I’ll be all right as
soon as I get over these electro-convulsive fits

Shackled in my place
inside rthe federal courtroom dock
Staring at your face
floating in the witness box

You’re looking right through me
just like you never heard my name
but you used to lay right next to me
in our little hideout by the lake

If this is real life
I suggest you get used to it
You’ll be all right
as soon as you find a heart to fit that hole in your chest

Governmewnt witness
who would have dreamed you’d be a government witness
Government witness
go ahead — deny you are a government witness

You must have lied to me then
Why can’t you lie to them now
Will you be lying to yourself
while I sweat it out in the death house — death house

This is real life . . .

Copyright 1980
TK Major


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