On the Day I Die

Album: Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary (2012)

Songfacts®:

  • Collie and the songwriter Bobby Taylor wrote this song for Collie's 2001 performance at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Tennessee. The song is written from the perspective of a death row inmate who envisions the day of his death. He looks back on all the bad things he's done, but finds solace in his faith, knowing that he will meet the Lord on his execution day.

    In our interview with Mark Collie, he said: "It's as much about my demons and my confessions and missteps as it is some of the guys who shared with me. I was absorbing what they're saying, their confessions.
  • The message of this song, Collie told us, is, "There is always one true way."
  • Collie visited inmates at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary before his performance there. He wasn't sure he should play the song at the concert, but the prisoners convinced him to do so. "I played it for a couple of guys in cells, and asked them about it," said Collie. "That was probably the most frightening time I had when I was just sitting inside with them. And they said, 'You've got to do that song.'"
  • Thanks to turnover at Collie's record label MCA, it was 11 years, before this song was finally released on the Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary album in 2012. The album was re-issued in a variety of formats four years later.
  • In 2004, Collie played an assassin in the movie The Punisher. For that job, he was required to contribute a song, so he offered up "On the Day I Die." The song got tied up when the album release was held back, so Collie wrote another one for the film, "In Time," which he sings to the main character to let him know he's trying to kill him.

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