Junkhead

Songfacts®:

  • Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley wrote this. It was their way of expressing their thoughts on drug abuse and how you can't understand the mind of a drug user unless you are one yourself. Unfortunately, Layne died of a drug overdose. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mdub - Raleigh, NC

Comments: 26

  • Kelly Butler from Alabama This song, hell this entire Album is like it was ripped from my life. It's why I loved Layne and Jerry so much. SAP as well. I have no issue with Duvall carrying the torch. Jerry was as much Alice as Layne. But the Alice we have now is wounded and without part of its soul and that's ok. We all get old and lose little pieces of ourselves along the way.
  • Snufftherooster from UkThe saddest song of all AICs tracks, maybe with the exception of Frogs. A big part of why I have a hard time with DuVall is that as good as he is, he doesn't have the same experience as Layne whose struggles made his work more powerful.
  • Anna from Seattle, WaThis is long and personal. An anonymous, thank God. Never thought this was a pro-drug song. Was chock full of empathy for "poor tortured Layne" and Mike. Such beautiful, tragic men. Layne's voice was amazing, the power of conveying his feelings is beyond most anyone ever. And I feel/felt for him. Cause I'm so sweet and understanding. But there wasn't anything to personally relate to. I always thought that since I was always able to "pace" myself according to supply, and that I stuck to legal substances after turning 18 (i.e. alcohol and pills mainly) that there wasn't ANYTHING I had in common with Layne's msg. and experience. Just the pain in his voice. So this song is powerful and tragic but certainly nothing 2 do w/me. But, I'm gonna let u in on my little secret.
    My favorite saying when questioned about my behavior was always, "it's not like I'm some junkie". Stopped drinking...very clear when I relapsed, drank 10 drinks in 6hrs (102 lbs female at the time) and woke up, & bragged 2 myself for being "able to drink like a normal person". But booze was MESSY, and I quit. White knuckles as they say, but quit. But then came darker hints about me. Experiementing with injecting my single ingredient opiates and benzos cause I was so "nervous" and needed the med NOW. Ex spouse walked in on me, sitting on bathroom floor with a dirty pair of nylons tying off my arm, clean new rig in hand. Said, "Whats ya lookin at? It's the same med, just different delivery system!"..he didn't see my point. But I wasn't like THOSE other ppl.!!!.the mantra. My ex bf (post divorce) relapsed due 2 pain pills for a work accident and of course, that led to buying a sack of dope. He broke it off with me and everyone comforted me and still does (he died of an OD last summer) that he didn't "want to take me down w/him". Here's my dirty secret. Several times he made some comments I sneered at but now wonder about. Like: "U think ur so much better w/yr pills. Like those pills aren't something. I wouldn't mind a days worth of your pills in one shot!" or, "U & yr mom think yr better. That college makes it different. So I'm not invited to the "mommie/dau pot smoking pill sharing circle", "When its yrs, its a "med", I do it, & u call it "dope" " and the worst, "All u care abt: plan for, & protect is yr pills. When yr gonna get them, how # u have, and fear THAT SOMEONES GONNA TRY 2 TAKE THEM AWAY FRM U". I was hurt in an auto accident an actually do HAVE to take a heavy hitter opiate & a benzo.. Everyday. Tried on own 2 go w/o but can't function due to pain 3 mos. later, so it's legit. But I feel guilty. My ex bf's family still loves me (After several yrs since the break up! There's a "seat a the table that's been waiting 4 me 4 when I was ready.. love is really amazing) and they are highly upset that I take the exact med that killed him. But they think I'm innocent. I didn't do drugs w/him, honestly. But I'm starting to think maybe I'm not innocent. Mabe these words don't mean "for street drug users only". That if I open my mind maybe I too get the lyrics and it's not "ha ha ha". Cause it's not fun or funny anymore. Haven't felt "high" in yrs. Just don't overuse so I won't run out and then get sick. Could it be that someone like me, the I'M NOT A JUNKIE posterchild, maybe doesn't know as much as she thought she did? Sorry 4 the length. Thank u 4 reading.
  • J from St. Louis, MoListen to "nutshell"
  • J from St. Louis, MoSome people have it right. Despite Layne's problem he never made it sound good to be a junkie. As for myself being an addict, this or any other songs never directed me towards drugs. I think some of the meanings describe his feelings. Its hard for others to empathize with addicts. Addict are good people also. Stay away from methadone. My own wise words
  • Andrej from Bratislava, SlovakiaAt first glance, Junkhead looks like a pro-drug song. I think that the lyrics tries to discover what's in drug user's head (it's called "junk-head" anyways), what are the things that lead somebody to use drugs, what are his thoughts, etc. I think this is one of the major topic of the Dirt album. On the other head I can understand people who blame AIC/L. Staley for glorifying drugs as even in this song somebody can have a feeling it's Layne Staley himself saying words like "If you let yourself go and opened your mind Ill bet youd be doing like me
    And it aint so bad."
  • Matt from Houston, Txyou know it's kind of ironic. I ask people why they think they know the meanings to songs. they say they don't. then they give thier interpretation like it's thier own song. I have had drug, alchohal, and self injury problems. And i don't want to hear people insulting, underestimating or looking down on druggies. If you do your not much better than they. I do not respect thier choices but that's from first hand experiance.
  • Davo from Sunny Coast, Australiai think that junkies should take a reality check, strap them selves to the bed and go with that ride. s--t happens we all have some fun, its easy to slip in, but the true strength of a person is to come out of the wave claping. yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwww that was the best ride of my life. ( BUT HEY I CAME OUT ).
  • Andrew from Lanoka Harbor, Njugh!!!! the idea of the song is not to make drugs look good, its to show people that if they wanna call people who use drugs, druggies, junkies, and freaks, then so be it. But they will never know the struggle themselves. I believe people look at addicts like they are aliens or scum of the earth, i think layne was trying to say that its all relative, meaning thats its just about what situation you are in. the "norms" prefer their "empty and bare lives" with their "money and status" while layne says " if you let yourself go and opened your mind, id bet you be doing like me, and it aint so bad" i dont think layne is trying to glorify drugs with that line, i think he is trying to say that anyone could become an addict, its just such a slippery slope, and because anyone could become an addict, people who are not users shouldnt treat them like monsters, they should leave them alone or try and help them. NOT DEMEAN THEM
  • Jeff from Austin, TxGreat song!! I started shooting heroin immediately after it was over!!
  • Jim from Chicago, Ilhe didnt commit suicide and the song isn't necessarily trying to make drugs look good it's just saying they can't stop and they won't stop
  • Grungeluver from Dease Lake, BcI really enjoy the rythme of this song but i disagree with the idea of making drugs look good. Everyone knows that Layne died of an overdose so what point is he trying to make by doig drugs and commiting suicide?
    As some people might say this song deep down is actually an anti drug song. That may be, but dummies dont usually tend to look up the lyrics to find out what its actually meaning. All they hear is
    " Whats my drug of choice?
    Well what have you got?
    I dont go broke
    And I do it alot"
    Sounds like a pro drug song to me.
  • Devani from Marysville, WaThis song was written as neither an anti-drug, or a pro-drug song. The main point was to illustrate how easily one can become trapped inside the world of drug abuse, and how it's not possible to understand the mind of a drug user, unless you're one yourself.
  • Jrod from Albany, NyCertainly this is one of AIC's more poignant songs. Whether you think it pro-drug (which, I'm sorry, is very hard to justify) or anti-drug, there is a message in the lyrics and the music of Junkhead. Staley's issues with drug abuse are openly confronted here. It displays his weakness but it also displays his strength to put such a touchy subject out in the open. Like it or not, Junkhead is actually a very important song. Plus the guitar solo is absolutely chilling.
  • Personman from Seattle, WaWhen you listen to the album as a whole, I think it becomes clear that Layne was not fond of being an addict, and despite how pro-drug this song's lyrics sound the context renders it a cry of pain. A "lie to one's self" as it were. The real irony especially with this song is that when Layne died, he died in an apartment in this neighborhood. It's not exactly high-rent property around here... I guess even rock stars go broke doing drugs.
  • Bbb from Brook Park, United Statesfrom what i hear since layne died there really anti drug
  • Kevin from Calgary, CanadaIt's my firm belief that this is an anti-drug song. Even if at first glance they appear to be pro-drug. I'm willing to bet those on here who think it is a pro-drug song have never used and become dependent. It consumes you. Anyway, the song is a bit of a story. The guy goes out and buys some killer drugs from a sweet dealer (who may be selling them cheaply to support his own vices, as my dealer does). He doesn't go broke (Cuz he is a rich rock star) and he can do them as much as he wants pretty well as freely as he wants - which is a double-edged sword - lack of money is a good way to limit drug use, I've found (however imperfect it may be). He is euphoric with first the idea of getting high soon (the dealer bit). The euphoria makes you think "well, screw it, and so what if it hurts me badly, it's gonna be awesome!" There is a great deal of frustration that people feel when they are being criticized for something that the other doesn't understand and that you have very little control over. The song is an explanation.
  • Kevin from Portland , OrGreat song. Pro drug? Anti drug? Neither is what I say. It's a look into a user's mind. Clearly, Layne didn't want it classified as "Pro drug" . . . maybe because of the responsibility that presents. However, I don't believe it's anti drug either. Simply a look into how a drug adict thinks in the initial to middle stages of using. That is, before it takes over your life. I don't think Jerry or Layne were thinking about the pro/anti category when they wrote this song.
  • Kyle from Pittsburgh, PaThis is my favorite song on the CD. a pretty powerful song. The solo is equally as powerful. Sometimes, ive noticed, the solos in certain songs say more than the lyrics do, which is kind of a weird thing to say, but i think the guy who commented before me would agree. The solo in junkhead speaks volumes about that particular song, and it does seem to bring a sense of emotional closure to the song..if you can understand my meaning.
  • Justin from Monroeville, PaThere are certain songs in which I find the guitar work absolutely mind blowing. I'm not not talking the mechanics of playing the guitar , I'm talking about the way it sounds. Junkhead is one of those songs. The guitar solo in the middle of the song is so powerful and it even SOUNDS like a state of ecstasy; a high. It's as if the solo erases all pain and replaces it with apathy and pleasure. I get chills every time I listen to it.
  • Jim from Regina, CanadaI agree with toms interpretation. I suffer from drug addiction and I relate to this song on many occasions.
  • Jake from Provo, UtI think the album, at least the middle to last songs, were meant to be listened to in order, like a story. Sickman and Junkhead do sound defient and pro-drug, maybe telling a point of view they once had. But the later songs are all very depressing, and speak of wanting to die and escape. Would? could be the end of the story, since it supposedly is about rehab. In my opinion, the album as a whole is anti-drug, but some songs taken out of context may seem pro-drug.
  • Jess from Hollywood, CaLet me set the record straight here, Layne Staley said himself that the Dirt album and this song in particular are very ANTI-Drugs. Layne was incredibly distraught over people thinking that it was pro-drug and was upset to see people start to use drugs. I believe you can find the exact quote in the "Angry Chair' book.
  • Ash from Charleston, WvNo. No way this song is anti-drug. This is probably the most pro-drug use song I've ever heard. It attempts to discount certain stereo-types applied to users ("I don't go broke, and I do it a lot") and derides those who pass judgment on users without knowing anything about them ("You can't understand the user's mind. But try with your books and degrees.")
  • Doug from Pittsburgh, PaI disagree that this song is an anti-drug song. The entire lyrics of the song speak directly to the contrary. It's true that the screams at the end are frantic and might imply the pains of druge abuse but I think it takes way too much personal conjecture to say that the song is anti-drug. I think it's an amazing and unique song for taking a pro-drug abuse stance. It gives powerful sentiments like "Are you happy? I am, man." and "your life is empty and bare".
  • Tom from Scotch City, ScotlandThis is actually an anti-drug song if you're smart enough to actually listen to it properly (and that goes to the idiots who listened to AIC in Dirt era and started using drugs because of this album). The screams of Layne in the closing moments of the song are testament to this. layne crows about what he sees as the joys of drug usage but as the song wears on, the screaming/yelling that opens the song start to become more disturbing, strained, desperate and uncontrollable until it finally ends. it really is quite unnerving. this is in company with the fact that layne was at that time an avid drug user, his heart and mind saw what heroin was doing for him but also saw the emptiness and wretchedness of addiction that was destroying his his insides as well as his soul. Layne subtly recognises this in the song.
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