Violent Femmes – American Music…. 80’s Underground Mondays

The Milwaukee, Wisconsin band Violent Femmes are best known for their song Blister in the Sun released in 1983. A girl that I knew drove me crazy playing that song but after a while I started to like it…more than the girl. The song started to be played on alternative and college radio.

James Honeyman Scott (Pretenders guitar player) was booked to play a gig and he was so impressed by the Violent Femmes that he let them open for him. They were were then offered a record deal by Slash Records and soon after that they released their 1982 debut album, “Violent Femmes.” The album slowly hit and later went platinum.

This song was on their Why Do Birds Sing? album in 1991 and it was their fifth studio album. The album peaked at #141 in the Billboard Album Chart but the song peaked at #2 on Billboards Modern Rock chart.

Through breakups and reunions the band minus the original drummer Victor DeLorenzo  are still together. Gordon Gano is the singer- songwriter and Brian Ritchie is the bass player with new drummer John Sparrow.

They released an album in 2019 called Hotel Last Resort and it peaked at #29 in the Billboard Indie Charts.

American Music

Can I, can I put in something like…
“This is “American Music”… take one.” 1-2-3-4!
Do you like American music?
I like American music.
Don’t you like American music, baby?

I want you to hold me, I want your arms around me.
I want you to hold me, baby…
Did you do too many drugs? I did too many drugs.
Did you do too many drugs, too, baby?

You were born too late, I was born too soon,
But every time I look at that ugly moon, it reminds me of you.
It reminds me of you… ooh-ooh-ooh.

I need a date to the prom, would you like to come along?
But nobody would go to the prom with me, baby…
They didn’t like American music, they never heard American music.
They didn’t know the music was in my soul, baby…

You were born too soon, I was born too late,
But every time I look at that ugly lake, it reminds me of me.
It reminds me of me…

Do you like American music? We like American music.
I like American music… Baby.
Do you like American music? We like all kinds of music.
But I like American music best… baby.

You were born too late, and I was born too late,
But every time I look at that ugly lake,
It reminds me of me…
It reminds me of me
It reminds me of me
Do you like american music
It reminds me of me
Do you like american music
It reminds me of me
Do you like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me

Rolling Stones – Worried About You

When Tattoo You came out I bought the single Start Me Up and couldn’t get enough of it…yea I have had about enough of it now. I bought the album played it non stop. 10 years later a friend and  I took a trip to Pensacola after playing a gig and this album was on all of the way. This song stood out at the time because I skipped the hits. Mick sings it in a falsetto voice that works well.

The Stones dug down deep in their vaults for this album because they wanted to tour in 1980. They had released Some Girls in 78, Emotional Rescue in 80, and Tattoo You in 1981 and needed some songs. This song’s origins go back to 1976’s Black and Blue.

This song features a guitar solo by Wayne Perkins, who had once auditioned as a potential replacement for Mick Taylor, and Billy Preston on keyboards.

Tattoo You peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada, and #2 in the UK in 1981.

Worried About You

Sometime I wonder why you do these things to me
Sometime I worry girl that you ain’t in love with me

Sometime I stay out late, yeah I’m having fun
Yes, I guess you know by now that you ain’t the only one

Yeah-hey, oh baby
Ooh, sweet things that you promised me babe, yeah
Seemed to go up in smoke
Yeah, vanish like a dream
Baby I wonder why you do these things to me

Cause I’m worried
I just can’t seem to find my way, baby

Ooh, the nights I spent just waiting on the sun, yeah
Just like your burned out cigarette
You threw away my love
Why did you do that baby

I wonder why, why you do these things to me well, oh

I’m worried
Lord, I’ll find out anyway
Sure gonna find myself a girl someday
‘Til then I’m worried
Yeah, I just can’t seem to find my way
Ooh

Yeah, I’m a hard working man
When did I ever do you wrong?
Yeah, I get all my money baby, yeah
I bring it, I bring it all home
Yeah, I’m telling the truth, yeah

Well, sweet things, sweet things that you promised me

Well I’m worried and I just can’t seem to find my way, baby

I’m worried about you, yeah
I’m worried about you, yeah
Tell you something now
I’m worried ’bout you (oh, yeah)
I’m worried ’bout you, child (oh, yeah)
I’m worried ’bout you, woman (oh, yeah)
That’s come on, tell you something now
I’m worried ’bout you (oh, yeah)
I’m worried about you (aw yeah), yeah

Yeah, I’m worried
Lord, I’ll find out anyway
Sure as Hell I’m gonna find that girl someday
Lord, I’m worried
Lord, I just can’t seem to find my way

….

Replacements – Sixteen Blue

Sixteen Blue was inspired by bassist Tommy Stinson. Tommy played his first gig with the Replacements in June of 1980 when he was just 13. The other members were 5-6 years older than Tommy.

Westerberg had witnessed how Stinson had been forced to grow up way faster than most kids, yet still faced the typical teenage issues and doubts. Westerberg also said it was about his lonely teenage years.

The song is on their Let It Be album released in 1984. Let It Be was the first of a three album stretch (Let It Be, Tim, Please To Meet Me) that they are probably best remembered for today.

Peter Jesperson (manager): “Hearing it the first time they did it, at a sound check in Boston, I thought, Jesus, he’s written a song about Tommy.”“Tommy was kind of the mascot of the band, and Paul had written about him in songs before. But this wasn’t just some goofy thing. This was serious and tender.”

Paul Westerberg on why they named the album Let It Be

“We were riding around . . . kicking around silly [album] names and we thought, ‘The next song that comes on the radio, we’ll name it after that.”

“We peed our pants [laughing], and Peter (manager and Beatles fan) is at the wheel, silent as hell, thinking, ‘They’re not going to do this, ““We did it pretty much to piss him off and pretty much to show the world, in a Ramones kind of way, how dumb-smart we were. . . . Just to figure how many feathers we can ruffle.”

Sixteen Blue

Drive yourself right up the wall
No one hears and no one calls
It’s a boring state
It’s a useless wait, I know

Brag about things you don’t understand
A girl and a woman, a boy and a man
Everything is sexually vague
Now you’re wondering to yourself
If you might be gay

Your age is the hardest age
Everything drags and drags
One day, baby, maybe help you through
Sixteen blue
Sixteen blue

Drive your ma to the bank
Tell your pa you got a date
You’re lying, now you’re lying on your back

Try to figure out, they wonder what next you’ll pull
You don’t understand anything sexual
I don’t understand
Tell my friends I’m doing fine

Your age is the hardest age
Everything drags and drags
You’re looking funny
You ain’t laughing, are you?
Sixteen blue
Sixteen blue

Tom Petty – Don’t Come Around Here No More

When I first heard this song in the 1980s…the instrument that stood out was the sitar. I’ve been in love with that instrument since I heard Norwegian Wood. I want one and if I find a cheap one I will get it. One strum and you are back in the sixties and it fit this song well…or this song fits the sitar.

Sitar - Wikipedia

After Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers toured in 1983, they took some time off, and Petty started working with Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics. This was the first song they wrote together, and the psychedelic sound was a big departure from Petty’s work with The Heartbreakers.

Petty released Southern Accents and it was going to be a double album produced by Stewart…but ended up being a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers single album, with Jimmy Iovine producing some songs and Stewart producing others. Personally I never thought this song fit with most of the other songs but I liked the album all the same.

Even in the 80s I wasn’t in love with videos after a few years but…this one I loved. It remains one of my favorite music videos.

The song peaked at #13 in the Billboard 100, #20 in Canada, #50 in the UK, and #42 in New Zealand in 1985.

From Songfacts

Stewart tells the full glorious story in The Dave Stewart Songbook, but here are the highlights: Eurythmics had a huge hit with “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” and became a phenomenon in the United States. They played the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, and Stewart met Stevie Nicks backstage after the show. She had broken up with Joe Walsh the day before, so she took Stewart home with her and they had a romantic encounter. The next morning, Stevie kicked him out, and Stewart flew to San Francisco for his next gig. After the show, he used a Portastudio to create a track using a drum machine, a synthesizer and a sitar. Reflecting on the last 24 hours, Stewart says: “I really liked Stevie and she seemed vulnerable and fragile when I was leaving that morning. I was thinking about that and the situation she was in and I started singing, ‘Don’t come around her no more.'”

A few days later Stewart was staying with producer Jimmy Iovine, who was working on Stevie’s Bella Donna album. Stewart played him his demo, and they started writing the song for Stevie. Stewart didn’t know that Nicks and Iovine were once a couple, and when she came over to record the song, tensions boiled over and she left in a huff. Iovine decided to give Tom Petty the song, and had him come by, where they finished it up. Petty and Nicks had worked with Iovine on the duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” which went on Stevie’s album, so it was only fair that Petty got this one.

The video used an Alice In Wonderland theme, which was Stewart’s idea – it reflected how he felt coming to Los Angeles. It was directed by Jeff Stein, who used a black-and-white tiled background and oversized, elaborate costumes starring Tom Petty as the Mad Hatter. Stewart appears in the beginning of the video playing the sitar on a giant mushroom. At the end, the girl becomes a cake and is eaten by the band, something that caused enough of a stir that they created a version where she doesn’t get eaten. The video was a huge hit on MTV, helping introduce Petty to a younger audience and building anticipation for his next videos. (Read our interview with Dave Stewart.)

MTV ordered a shot of a grinning Petty while Alice gets served edited out of the video before they would air it. “They said it was just too lascivious,” he told Billboard. “They were like, ‘Well, you can do it, but you can’t enjoy it that much.'”

Louise “Wish” Foley plays Alice in the video. At the casting call, she was dressed demure, like Alice would, while the other girls auditioning (mostly models) were to the nines. Foley went on to land roles in the TV series Santa Barbara and Family.

Don’t Come Around Here No More

Don’t come around here no more
Don’t come around here no more
Whatever you’re looking for
Hey! don’t come around here no more

I’ve given up, I’ve given up
I’ve given up on waiting any longer
I’ve given up, on this love getting stronger

I don’t feel you any more
you darken my door
Whatever you’re looking for
Hey! don’t come around here no more

I’ve given up, I’ve given up
I’ve given up, you tangle my emotions
I’ve given up, honey please admit it is over

[Chorus]

Stop walking down my street
Who do you expect to meet?
Whatever you’re looking for
Hey! don’t come around here no more

Squirrel Bait – Sun God…. 80’s Underground Mondays

I absolutely love this band’s sound…and you have to admit they were thinking outside of the box with the band name. 

They were originally known as Squirrelbait Youth, with David Grubbs on guitar and vocals, Clark Johnson, Ben Daughtrey and Brian McMahan joined on second guitar.

They were known as a pop punk band that came out in 1983 from Louisville, Kentucky. Squirrel Bait (I love typing that) opened for such bands as Hüsker Dü and Chicago-based bands Naked Raygun and Big Black, who recommended Squirrel Bait to their label, Homestead Records.

Through Homestead, Squirrel Bait released an eponymous EP in 1985, a single in 1986 and an LP in 1987, all of which were later compiled onto a single CD. The Squirrel Bait  record released in 1985 didn’t make any waves at first.. What helped them was Bob Mould from Husker Du and Evan Dando of the Lemonheads talking it up among others in the music press, people began to notice this band. 

The band broke up in 1987 and most of the members joined other bands and David Grubbs did the same and started to release solo albums as late as 2017. 

Sun God

I feel the power of the sun on my back
So good
That heat’s good
That light has a mind to take it away

Take it away…

Let something go
If it comes back it’s a good thing
A good life
A good feeling
But it has a mind to take it away

Take it away…
Take it away and it’s gone

I feel the power of the sun on my back
So good…that heat’s good
That light has a mind to take it away

Take it away…
Take it away and it’s gone

Billy Rancher and The Unreal Gods – Uptown

This band had one of the most inspiring rises and the most devastating fall a band could have. They had the help of the biggest rock star in the 80s but that couldn’t stop what was coming. A truly sad story and a what might have been.

When Billy Rancher was a kid…he didn’t dream of rock stardom…it was baseball that he dreamed of. Billy’s father Joe was in the Dodgers minor league system. Billy was born in 1957 and he was an all-city shortstop at Madison High School and played ball for Mount Hood Community College on an athletic scholarship. His mom wanted Billy to finish his education, but his dad died in 1978, and Billy dropped out and concentrated on music.

He taught himself how to play guitar and started a band in Portland, the Malchicks, with his younger brother Lenny. That band soon broke up and Billy formed the Unreal Gods with Jon DuFresne, Bill Flaxel, Alf Rider, and Dave Stricker. The band was a hit in the Portland club scene…they even opened up for Peter Tosh at one point. At this time around 1981, Billy found out that he had cancer. He went to the hospital and he was cleared of cancer afterward.

The band raised some money and went to New York to record for Joe Delia, a session musician and independent producer.

They rehearsed at an auto-body shop, a favorite rehearsal spot for local bands. They noticed someone walking through…and that someone was Bruce Springsteen. Bruce helped to get the Unreal Gods into the Power Station…a famous studio…which was the place to record in the Big Apple. The Rolling Stones were putting down tracks there at the time.

Clive Davis, head of the Arista label, heard about this Portland band that had impressed Bruce Springsteen and hopped a flight to see them. Davis, caught an Unreal Gods show at the club Starry Night. He signed them the next day.

The label hired Men at Work producer Peter McIan to produce them. Right away the band were at odds with Mclan…he wanted to take their rawness away. Billy argued with him and the band agreed they would have found common ground but it was not meant to be. At this time Billy found out his cancer had come back. The label was sending the band to England to tour but that was put on hold…permanently

Billy fought the cancer and he was thought to be cleared but it then spread through his body. Billy Rancher died on December 2, 1986.  He played live up until before he died.

In 2019 an album named Upstroke Down was released and featured some of the songs they were working on for Arista and others that sat in the vaults…including Uptown.

Jon DuFresne: Stuff started showing up on YouTube, I’d think, Wow, that was me. There we all are. There’s Billy. Did that really happen?

https://www.oregonlive.com/history/2019/08/billy-rancher-and-the-unreal-gods-kings-of-downtown-portland-streaked-toward-1980s-rock-stardom-until-tragedy-struck.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Rancher

Miracle Workers – You’ll Know Why

These garage bands were a breath of fresh air in the 80s. They sound like their 60’s predecessors but with an updated sound.

The Miracle Workers were formed in January 1982 in Chicago by Gerry Mohr, and Joel Barnett. The original guitarist and drummer left the band early on. Matt Rogers, a friend of Joel’s, became the guitarist. The band finally stabilized in 1984, with the addition of Dan Demiankow, and Gene Trautman.

They ended up recording 5 albums and 8 singles and EPs between 1984 and 1995. They play garage rock and fit with the  revival acts, such as The Chesterfield Kings and Lyres that I have covered.

They broke up in 1992 because of musical differences. The band came together back in Portland to record their last album “Anatomy of a Creep” and released it in 1995.

You Know Why

You thought you’d be back here but it’s not that
that it works for you, but you don’t know where it’s at
You’ll know why when you learn to cry
You can’t see through another’s eyes

Someday you’ll be hurt like others have been by you
Can you feel the pain inside when there’s nothing you can do
You’ll know why when you learn to cry
You can’t see through another’s eyes

You could be who you want to be if you change your state of mind
Look inside and you will find something you just can’t hide
You’ll know why when you learn to cry
You can’t see through another’s eyes

Jayhawks – Big Star

I love this band…it seems I have a fondness for bands that released good to great music but never could get over that hump to mass audiences. Maybe if they would have cleared that obstacle their music would have changed…but who knows… maybe it’s a part of their appeal.

This song comes out in 1997 and was on their Sound of Lies album. At first I thought it was about the Memphis band Big Star and it is kinda…and also about The Jayhawks and loving what you have now. The album peaked at #112 in the Billboard Album Chart and #61 in the UK.

They have a Kinks tie… They recently backed Ray Davies on his albums Americana and Our Country – Americana Act II. Their 2016 album Paging Mr. Proust was produced by Peter Buck of REM.

They formed in the mid-80s in the Twin Cities .

Gary Louris when asked if the song is about the band Big Star: “Not exactly. Maybe in the back of my mind.” “You could say it about the Velvet Underground or Big Star or The Jayhawks,” “world’s unluckiest bands. They should have been bigger. But everybody in the audience started a band. Everybody that saw them started a band. The old cliché. But it’s true.”

 “I have a lot of famous friends.” “about achieving a place that you thought you wanted to be and maybe it would make you happy. It’s a typical human response. If I get there, then I’m finally going to be happy. And in reality, you probably won’t be. You should just be happy with what you have.”

Big Star

I’m flat-busted
Wild-eyed and free
I couldn’t get arrested if I tried
A has-been at a mere thirty-five

Straight, honest, forthright and true
Great expectations for someone
Doesn’t anybody know how to have fun
But I’m

Gonna be a Big Star
I’m gonna be a Big Star someday
I’m gonna be a Big Star someday

Grape’s bitter
I’m no quitter
Revolutions come one by one
Seems it’s high noon and I ain’t got no gun

But it’s so hard
So hard
So hard getting by

Gonna be a Big Star
I’m gonna be a Big Star someday
I’m gonna be a Big Star someday

Fine bourbon, Cuban cigars
Rude remarks observed at the C.C. Bar
I’m perfecting the finest art of wasting hours
But I’m

Gonna be a Big Star
I’m gonna be a Big Star someday
I’m gonna be a Big Star someday

I’m gonna be a Big Star
I’m gonna be a Big Star someday

Game Theory – Erica’ s Word…. 80’s Underground Mondays

Game Theory was a power pop band founded by Scott Miller in 1982. I remember they got some MTV airplay. Miller was the only constant member of the band which changed members frequently. Game Theory got a lot of college play in the 80s.

Mitch Easter, who produced R.E.M. produced Game Theory. This song was on their album The Big Shot Chronicles which was praised when it was released and now. In the 2007 book Shake Some Action the album was #16 in the top 200 power pop albums of all time.

Scott Miller was a special songwriter. He influenced artists such as  The New Pornographers,  Jellyfish, Velvet Crush, Matthew Sweet, Ben Folds, Guided by Voices, and more.

Miller committed suicide in 2013. After Miller’s death, it emerged that he’d been planning a new Game Theory album with the working title, Supercalifragile. Miller’s widow enlisted The Posies’ Ken Stringfellow, along with some Game Theory bandmates, to finish the L.P. It was released in 2017.

There are many that compare him to Alex Chilton musically…and also in terms of being a really good songwriter that doesn’t beyond a cult following.

Alex Chilton and Scott Miller

Erika’s Word

Erica’s gone shy
Some unknown X behind the why
All is some less today
Mass not conserving in the old way

Checking out with Brother Jay
I’ll miss your half of me
Girl are you leaving something
You might later need?

Erica’s word, taking me clear and leaving me blurred
Erica’s news, singing the praise and playing the blues
Pulling the rug out under my shoes

Twelve years ago
Shorthand allegiance to the long throw
Make believe and pretend
I remember when they served the same end

You always liked the photo of us
Sitting in our car
Just like we’re driving
Girl it’s not looking like we’ll go all that far

Erica’s word, taking me clear and leaving me blurred
Erica’s find, blowing my hair and tearing my mind
Throwing for grabs and leaving behind

Maybe you’ll find that promised love
The tingle to the touch
Girl and I hope it comes through for you in a clutch
But I wouldn’t bet much

Erica’s word, taking me clear and leaving me blurred
Erica’s news, singing the praise and playing the blues
Pulling the rug out under my shoes

Erica’s find, blowing my hair and tearing my mind
Erica’s word, taking me clear and leaving me blurred
Knocking me down from second to third

Bangles – The Real World

I’ve been posting bands that were in the Paisley Underground scene back in the 80s. This one is probably the most well known. Over the last few months I’ve become a fan of this 80s movement. For me…a better alternative to the top 40 at the time. I want to thank Dave at A Sound Day for introducing me to the song! They were called The Bangs before they released this song.

The Bangles were a breath of fresh air in the mid-eighties. The band played sixties inspired rock with Byrd’s chiming guitars. The lead singer, Susanna Hoffs, caught my eye right away. Yes for the normal ways but also for the fact she was playing a Rickenbacker guitar…what more could I want?

“Paisley Underground” was a moniker that helped music journalists describe their sound, which didn’t fit the New Wave or Rock. This song is an example of the genre, with a jangly guitar and ’60s-style reverb reminiscent of The Byrds or early Beatles. Other bands that fit this mode were The Rain Parade, The Dream Syndicate, and Rainy Day.

The scene also had a bit of early alt country rock (The Long Ryders and Green On Red) made more popular in the 90s.

The Real World was a song on the self titled EP the band released after signing with Miles Copeland’s I.R.S. Records. The EP wasn’t too successful but it did help get the band signed to the major label Columbia Records, which issued their first album called All Over The Place in 1984.

Guitarists Susanna Hoffs and Vicki Peterson wrote this song. This is one of the few Bangles tracks bassist Annette Zilinskas played on; she left the group soon after, replaced by Michael Steele. The song was released on the small label Faulty Products.

Rain Parade covered this on a 2018 compilation called 3 x 4, where four Paisley Underground groups…Rain Parade, Bangles, The Dream Syndicate and The Three O’Clock – cover each others’ songs.

The Real World

Forgot to tell you
Sins are very hard to say
And you know that the words are there, my love
When I first saw you
I didn’t notice it that day
Now you’re the one I’m thinking of.

[Chorus:]
Oh, you never bring me down
Make me sad, it’s such a change, oh yeah (oh yeah)
If I was insecure
That was yesterday and now I’m sure
Oh, so sure (oh so sure, so sure).

When I was a little girl
I wanted everything ideal
Yeah, and a love I could depend on
This is the real world
And I believe our love is real
And it’s the only thing I’m counting on.

[Chorus]
Oh, you never bring me down
Make me sad, it’s such a change, oh yeah (oh yeah)
If I was insecure
That was yesterday and now I’m sure
Oh, so sure.

[Chorus]
Oh, you never bring me down
Make me sad, it’s such a change, oh yeah (oh yeah)
If I was insecure
That was yesterday and now I’m sure
Oh, so sure, oh.

This is the real world
I really want to be your girl
This is the real world (real world)
I really want to be your girl
This is the real world (real world)
I really want to be your girl.

Droogs – Ahead Of My Time

The lyrics won’t make you mistake these guys for Bob Dylan but the guitar action is pretty cool in this one.

Several years before it became fashionable…the Droogs were playing what would later be called “garage revival”. They started playing together as pre-teens in 1966 and began issuing singles in the early to mid seventies.

Ahead of My Time was released in 1974. They missed out on the garage band sixties and they were ahead of the curve of the 60s garage band revival in the late 70’s.

They started to release albums in the mid-eighties and were part of the Paisley Underground Scene. They released 8 albums between 1984 to 2017.

The Droogs just released an album in 2017  called Young Gun and are still together doing their thing.

Ahead Of My Time

Hey babe, this must be your lucky day babe
I wanna kiss you if I may babe
Don’t care what people have to say babe

I’ve got to love you, the only way that I can
So please don’t misunderstand
They’ll tell you that I’m not your kind
But I’m just ahead of my time.

In your neighborhood, got a reputation that’s none too good.
For knowing things no young man should
I know baby, you would if you could

I’ve got to love you, the only way that I can
So please don’t me be your man
They’ll tell you true love’s hard to find
But I’m just ahead of my time.
I’m just ahead of my time.
I’m just ahead of my time.

We’re just ahead of our time.
We’re just ahead of our time.
We’re just ahead of our time.

Hey babe, this must be your lucky day babe
I wanna kiss you if I may babe
Don’t care what people have to say babe

I’ve got to love you, all the way babe

Rain Parade – One Half Hour Ago

I’ve been listening to the Rain Parade’s album Emergency Third Rail Power Trip and I’ve heard influences from Buffalo Springfield to Rubber Soul. The Rain Parade were part of the Paisley Underground scene in Los Angeles in the early 80s. The Paisley Underground scene contained bands such as The Bangles, Green on Red, and The Long Ryders.

If you get a chance give this album a listen. 

They were another band formed in Minnesota by college roommates Matt Piucci (guitar, vocals) and David Roback (guitar, vocals) in 1981, while they were attending Carleton College. David’s brother Steven Roback (bass, vocals) joined.

Their roots were in punk music but in this band…instead of the Sex Pistols and the Clash they went for the Byrds jangly guitars. The critics were mixed on this band…some saying they copied the psychedelic era too much and others saying they were ahead of their time. The Roback brothers were the main writers. After this album Dave Roback left the band.

From Wiki: Critic Jim DeRogatis would later write in his book Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock (2003) that “Emergency Third Rail Power Trip is not only the best album from any of the Paisley Underground bands, it ranks with the best psychedelic rock efforts from any era”, with uplifting melodies offset by themes that were “dark and introspective.”

They were together from 1981 to 1986. They broke up in 1986 and reformed in 2012 and have been touring since. Dave Roback passed away in 2020.

Daveid Roback: “Rain Parade was very much a recasting of our punk interests in more musical terms, inspired by our fascination with music history.”

One Half Hour Ago

What’s the point of looking back?
All you see is an empty track
Of lives you’ve lived
And things you tried to love

What’s the use of anything
That brings you down?
You can’t believe it for an hour
You’re in here just a while

Half an hour from an hour ago
From a half an hour from an hour ago
Call me early on Saturday
It’s my favorite day
I’ll come out to play
That is only, I go to bed
So that I can rest
I can leave my head behind

Disappointing everyone
I’m so much fun
Until I’m lost
Things we do are the way we choose to live

Replacements – Bastards Of Young

This is my sixth song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. The Replacements Bastards Of Young.

I was really happy when I saw Mike’s choice of the Replacements song Can’t Hardly Wait in the draft. I had that one in the back of my mind but had this one ready to go later. I decided to go ahead and get this one in.

I could have picked a more instantly likable song like Skyway, Here Comes a Regular, or Alex Chilton but this song…was a great anthem that kicks you in the shins when it starts. It was recorded in the eighties but it has no giant production…it’s raw and honest about youthful uncertainty and alienation.

I recently visited Aphoristic’s site and he had his top ten songs of the 1980’s.  I thought about it and I included this song on my list in the comment section. In popularity would it be there? No… but this is a lost anthem of the eighties that should have been taken up by that generation. Just because a song isn’t heard and embraced by the masses doesn’t mean it isn’t great.

Westerberg’s songwriting in the 1980s rivaled any artist in that decade.

Everyone who knows me… knows I’m not a huge fan of the top 40 in the 1980s but alternative rock is a different story. In my opinion, the two best alternative rock bands to come out of the 80s were The Replacements and R.E.M.

R.E.M played the music business game much more than The Replacements. The Replacements didn’t play at all until the very end. That hurt them on not being heard on the radio or MTV. If it weren’t for their penchant for self-destruction they would have been known more by the masses.

This song was on their album “Tim” released in 1985. Why was the album called Tim? There was no reference to the name on the album. The band’s manager said that he asked Paul Westerberg what the name of the album would be. Paul told him “Tim” and the manager asked why? Paul said “because it’s such a nice name.”

“Tim” was placed 136th on Rolling Stone’s 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and 137 in a 2012 revised list. The album peaked at #186 in the Billboard Album Chart in 1986.

Paul Westerberg:  “To me, a part of that song is about my sister who felt the need … to be something by going somewhere else. It is sort of the Replacements feeling the same way … not knowing where we fit. It’s our way of reaching a hand out and saying, ‘We are right along with you. We are just as confused.'”

They also played this song on SNL and got banned for life for being drunk and a certain swear word slipping out….supposedly by accident. This is the only video I can find of it. Westerberg eventually appeared on SNL in the 90s as a solo artist. The studio version is the second video.

Bastards of Young

God, what a mess, on the ladder of success
Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung
Dreams unfulfilled, graduate unskilled
It beats pickin’ cotton and waitin’ to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
The daughters and the sons

Clean your baby womb, trash that baby boom
Elvis in the ground, no waitin’ on beer tonight
Income tax deduction, what a hell of a function
It beats pickin’ cotton and waitin’ to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
Not the daughters and the sons

Unwillingness to claim us, ya got no war to name us

The ones who love us best are the ones we’ll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones who love us least are the ones we’ll die to please
If it’s any consolation, I don’t begin to understand them

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
Daughters and the sons

Young
Young
Young
Young
Young

Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours

B-52’s – Rock Lobster…. 80’s Underground Mondays

I couldn’t continue these underground Mondays without featuring the B-52s. I always smile when I hear this band. I could not listen to them for hours on end but once in a while is great.

I like the sixties sound of this. It sounds that way because of the Farfisa organ played by Kate Pierson and the surf guitar sound that Ricky Wilson created.

Fred Schneider and B-52s guitarist Ricky Wilson were listed as the writers on this track, but at some point the other three band members – Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson and Keith Strickland were added to the credits.

Canada really responded Rock Lobster. The song peaked at #1 in Canada, #56 in the Billboard 100, and #37 in the UK, and #38 in New Zealand in 1978.

Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson’s fish noises on this song are an homage to Yoko Ono, whose work is filled with these kind of screams and blurts. Yoko performed these parts when she joined the band at their 25th Anniversary concert at Irving Plaza in New York City in 2002.

John Lennon noticed the The Yoko Ono influence on this song when he heard it in 1979.  It reminded him of Yoko’s music so much that it inspired him to return to the recording studio after a five-year retirement, resulting in the 1980 album Double Fantasy.

Yoko Ono: “Listening to the B-52s, John said he realized that my time had come. So he could record an album by making me an equal partner and we won’t get flack like we used to up to then.”

Fred Schneider: “We jammed on it for hours and hours and miles and miles of reel-to-reel tape. Keith and Ricky went and spliced ideas together, brought them to Kate, Cindy and I, and we put in our six cents and we came up with this six minute and forty-eight second song. We have a hard time editing ourselves, but who cares?”

From Songfacts

Many B-52s songs have fun, whimsical lyrics, and this is one of them. It’s about a beach party where someone encounters a rock lobster (which is also known as a crayfish, but that wouldn’t sound as good), and hijinx ensue.

Fred Schneider of The B-52s stopped eating crustaceans at the age of four after going crabbing with his family in New Jersey and watching the crabs get boiled alive. He explained in a video he narrated for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that he got the idea for this song when he was at an Atlanta disco called 2001 where a projector displayed images of lobsters on a grill. He thought, “Rock this, rock that… rock lobster!” The band jammed on the title and “Rock Lobster” was created.

The B-52s’ guitarist, Keith Strickland, recalled to Q magazine that at the end of the song, “Cindy does this scream that was inspired by Yoko Ono. John heard it in some club in the Bahamas, and the story goes that he calls up Yoko and says, Get the axe out – they’re ready for us again! Yoko has said that she and John were listening to us in the weeks before he died.”

This was the first single the B-52s released. They recorded it on a shoestring budget at Mountain Studios in Atlanta in February 1978, and released the track as a single on DB Records in April. Danny Beard, who owned the label, recalls spending about $700 on the single in a session where a key on Pierson’s Farfisa organ didn’t work. The recording was rough but effective: it earned airplay and established the band as quirky, innovative, thrift-store punk rockers with pop appeal. Warner Bros. Records signed them and had them record a full album, complete with a new version of “Rock Lobster,” in Nassau, Bahamas, with producer Chris Blackwell. The album was issued in 1979 along with the single, which reached its US chart peak of #56 in May 1980. In the UK, where the band initially had a stronger following, it reached #37 in August 1979. When the song was re-issued in the UK in 1986, it reached #12.

In 1985, Wilson became one of the first celebrities to die from AIDS-related causes. He was 32.

This song has one of the most famous bass lines of all time, but it wasn’t done with a bass guitar. Guitarist Ricky Wilson came up with the riff, and Kate Pierson played it on Korg SB-100 Synthe-Bass, a little machine with a big sound that can also be heard on early Soft Cell recordings, including “Tainted Love.”

The original 1978 version runs 4:37; the album version released in 1979 goes 6:49, with the single edited down to 4:52.

Fred Schneider mentions several unusual sea creatures near the end of the song, including a narwhal, which is a rarely seen whale-like creature with a horn that makes it look like some kind of aquatic unicorn (one appears in cartoon form in the movie Elf). To the best of our knowledge, “Rock Lobster” is the only Hot 100 hit where a narwhal shows up in the lyric.

Other creatures mentioned: sting ray, manta ray, jellyfish, dogfish, catfish, sea robin, piranha, bikini whale. As Schneider sings, Wilson and Pierson approximate their calls with some impressive vocalizations.

“We always just did things our own way,” he continued. “You don’t have any preconceived notions. I was writing lyrics with Keith on the way into the studio, but then I changed my lines and stuff and then the girls added their noises at the end.”

This reached #1 on the Canadian charts in 1980, following Blondie’s “Call Me” and preceding The Pretenders’ “Brass In Pocket.” It held the pole position for one week. >>

This is one of the great cowbell songs; drummer Keith Strickland is credited with playing it on the recording, but when performed live, Fred Schneider would play it.

A video was made for this song in 1979 by combining stock footage with various band antics. MTV was still two years away, but the video helped promote the song throughout Europe. The group got their star turn on MTV a decade later when “Love Shack” became one of the most popular clips on the network.

The song appeared in the movies One-Trick Pony (1980), Lobster Man from Mars (1989) and Knocked Up (2007); it was used in episodes of My Name Is Earl (“Joy in a Bubble” – 2008) and Glee (“The Hurt Locker: Part 1” – 2015).

The song is also a favorite on the show Family Guy, where the character Peter Griffin performs it on guitar in two episodes, first in a 2005 episode where he plays it (inappropriately) to cheer up Cleveland, then in a 2011 episode where it plays to a lobster with the lyrics changed to “Iraq Lobster.”

The B-52s performed this on Saturday Night Live, January 26, 1980. This gave the song a big boost; in May, it reached its US peak of #56.

Ricky Wilson didn’t have high expectations for the riff when he came up with it. His sister Cindy Wilson told the CBC: “I came home one day, and Ricky was just working on his guitar, and he was just laughing to himself. He says, ‘I just made up the stupidest riff there ever was.'”

Panic! at the Disco sampled the famous “Rock Lobster” riff on their 2016 track “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time.” Panic! frontman Brendon Urie is a big fan of the B-52s; he was thrilled when he found out the sample cleared.

Rock Lobster

Ski-doo-be-dop
Eww
Ski-doo-be-dop
Eww
(Ski-doo-be-dop) We were at a party (Eww)
(Ski-doo-be-dop) His ear lobe fell in the deep (Eww)
(Ski-doo-be-dop) Someone reached in and grabbed it (Eww)
(Ski-doo-be-dop) Was a rock lobster (Eww)

Aaaah
Rock lobster
Aaaah
Rock lobster

Eww
Eww
We were at the beach (Eww)
Everybody had matching towels (Eww)
Somebody went under a dock (Eww)
And there they saw a rock (Eww)
It wasn’t a rock (Eww)
Was a rock lobster (Eww)

Aaaah
Rock lobster
Aaaah
Rock lobster

Rock lo-o-obster
Rock lo-o-obster

Motion in the ocean (Ooh ah)
His air hose broke (Hoo ah)
Lots of trouble (Ooh ah)
Lots of bubble (Hoo ah)
He was in a jam (Ooh ah)
He’s in a giant clam! (Hoo ah)

Rock, rock
Rock lobster! (Aaaaaaaaah)
Down, down! (Aaaaaaah)

Lobster
Rock
Lobster
Rock
Let’s rock!

Boys and bikinis
Girls and surfboards
Everybody’s rockin’
Everybody’s frugin’

Twistin’ round the fire
Havin’ fun

Bakin’ potatoes
Bakin’ in the sun

Put on your noseguard
Put on the lifeguard
Pass the tanning butter

Here comes a stingray (ooh wok ooh wok)
There goes a manta ray (ah ah ah)
In walked a jellyfish (huah)
There goes a dogfish (rea-owr)
Chased by a catfish (geh geh geh geh geh geh geh geh geh geh)
In flew a sea robin (Laaaaa)
Watch out for that piranha (eh rek eh rek ah hoo)
There goes a narwhal (eeeeh)
Here comes a bikini whale! (Aaaaah!)

(Lobster rock lobster-ster) Rock lobster
(Lobster) Rock lobster (Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah)
(Lobster rock lobster-ster) Rock lobster
(Lobster) Rock lobster (Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah)
(Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah)
(Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah)

….

Lloyd Cole and the Commotions – Lost Weekend

I like this bouncy story song by Lloyd Cole. His hiccupping style of singing is appealing. I first posted a song by Cole and his Commotions back in June and I’ve been listening to them ever since.

This song was on their album Easy Pieces released in 1985. This band was a success in the UK but didn’t do much in America.

Easy Pieces would enter the UK album charts at number five, and sold over one-hundred thousand copies within a month. Two successful singles were taken from the album. Brand New Friend reached number nineteen and Lost Weekend reached number seventeen.

They released three studio albums total and all were successful. Rattlesnakes in 1984, Easy Pieces in 1985, and Mainstream in 1987. All were in the top twenty in the UK. In 1989, the band decided to break up and released a best of compilation, 1984-1989.

Lost Weekend

It took a lost weekend in a hotel in Amsterdam
And double pneumonia in a single room
And the sickest joke was the price of the medicine
Are you laughing at me now?
May I please laugh along with you?

This morning I woke up from a deep, unquiet sleep
With ashtray clothes and this lonely heart’s pen
With which I wrote for you a love song in tattoo upon my palm
‘Twas stolen from me when Jesus took my hand

You see I, I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it
Drop me and I’ll fall to pieces
So easily

I was a king bee with a head full of attitude
Wore my heart on my sleeve like a stain
And my aim was taboo, you
Could we meet in the marketplace?
Did I ever hey please, did you wound my knees?

You see I, I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it
Drop me, and I’ll fall to pieces
Yeah too easily

There’s nobody else to blame
I hang my head in a crying shame
There is nobody else to blame
Nobody else except my sweet self

It took a lost weekend in a hotel in Amsterdam
Twenty four gone years to conclude in tears
And the sickest joke was the price of the medicine
Are you laughing at me now?
May I please laugh along?

I was a king bee with a head full of attitude
An ashtray heart on my sleeve, wounded knees
And my one love song was a tattoo upon my palm
You wrote upon me when you took my hand

You see I, I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it
Drop me and I’ll fall to pieces too easily
Too easily
Too easily