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Price To Pay
Lyrics: John Popper
Music: Chan Kinchla

Standing here with a tale to tell
I might as well tell to you
Nothing near Wagnerian
As Terminator Two
It's an old one about a little dirt farm girl
Who wanted to get out for good
She'd do anything to keep that dream
She'd do anything she could

Who was she
To feel so free
With her heart on her sleeve
She just couldn't believe...
There was a price to pay

Her very first chance to escape that year
Came when the circus had come to town
She wound up in bed and quite madly in love
With some rubber nose juggling clown
He promised he'd return for her come next spring
And he swore that he wouldn't forget
Needless to say come the following May
More than her appetite was getting wet
And when the carnival finall came again
She was packing her bags to go
And with a dusty old ticket that she'd bought in advance
She went down to the crazy show
She proceeded unheeded and quite undefeated
To the trailer behind the tents
And her heart began to soar at his trailer door
She was gonna go wherever he went

Who was she
To feel so free
With her heart on her sleeve
She just couldn't believe...
There was a price to pay

She waited there until after the show was over
THen she waited and waited some more
Many hours later, the sun was up already
And her watch said 8:04
He arrived at last at about half past
With a girl under every arm
But all of this in itself could have been innocent as hell
But what began to cause her alarm
Was when he reached into his pocket for a pen and a pad
And he signed her an autoigraphy
And for a second it looked as if he might recognize her
Then he patted her hair and laughed
When he locked the door behind him like she'd always been
She was standing alone in the dirt
And her eyes were so dry that she began to cry
And something began to hurt

Who was she
To feel so free
With her heart on her sleeve
She just wouldn't believe

She wanted to tear the hair out of her head
Yeah and she wanted to wish that she was dead
But a voice in her just would not let her drop
And her heart began to break but it didn't stop

"Run all your races
And don't you fear
You and I
Are getting out of here
And we'll survive
That I guarantee
Cause you don't need much
When all you have is me"

She listened to the little voice inside her
And then she hit the road
Free at last and with just a tiny scar
And finally on her own
No one knows what became of her
All we know is she got away
And though there really ain't no guarantees down here
I like to think she did okay

Who was she
To feel so free
With her heart on her sleeve
She just wouldn't believe

That there's a price to pay
That there's a price to pay
That there's a price to pay
That there's a price to pay

© 1994 Blues Traveler Publishing Corporation

First release: four
Released: 09/13/1994
Earliest time played: 02/21/1994
Last time played: 11/23/2002
Playing frequency:
  87 plays (see all shows)
  4.68% of shows in the database
  6.01% of shows since debut
  Detailed statistics
Song information:
  John has said that this song is about buying hairpieces [Price toup?e... awful, isn't it?].

Other recordings of "Price To Pay":
  When the Lights Go Down, 1994
  Four studio tape, 1994
  Chunky but Funky, 1995


Nothing near Wagnerian
Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was a famous German composer, best known for his influence on the history of opera and musical romanticism. His pieces invariably centered around sweeping, dramatic themes and a great deal of musical bombast. The adjective bearing his name has come to mean dramatic and impressive, if a bit overwrought.
As Terminator Two
Terminator 2: Judgment Day, released in 1991, was widely hailed as state of the art in visual effects and a highly dramatic movie. It is perhaps most closely thematically aligned with Wagner's Götterdämmerung ("Twilight of the Gods") in that at the end of Wagner's opera, the gods are defeated and the humans once again take control of the earth, much like the machine armies are defeated by the humans in the movie.
It's an old one about a little dirt farm girl
A dirt farm is a plot of land used to grow food crops, but it is very low-tech and low-yield. Basically, John is establishing the protagonist as from an extremely rural family.
With her heart on her sleeve
To "wear your heart on your sleeve" is to show your emotions plainly, and supposedly originates from an old Valentine's Day custom in which boys drew girls' names from a box. Each boy would then wear the chosen name on their sleeve. The expression dates as far back as Shakespeare's "Othello" and possibly further.
More than her appetite was getting wet
A play on the expression "to whet one's appetite" - to whet literally means to sharpen. This is combined with what is most likely the sexual connotation of "getting wet".
"Run all your races
The liner notes have "your" misspelled as "you're". This line is later repeated in "Pretty Angry".