So Now We All Need to Learn the Words

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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20 Responses

  1. Avatar Glyph says:

    Slight lyric quibbles:

    Now fires and rockhouses and grape-flavored rat poison

    and at least on the one I have, instead of :

    Ah Homeboy… Isn’t that a Mexican name?

    John Doe sings:

    Hey girl, I wouldn’t trust you as far as I could throw youReport

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      My comment below was meant to respond to you.Report

    • Avatar aaron david says:

      There are a couple of different versions floating around of this song, I have a version somewhere with “Ah Homeboy… Isn’t that a south central gangster name?” This being a very LA reference…
      But, yeah, it’s a great song.Report

  2. Avatar NewDealer says:

    There is a pretty big difference in the second example.

    I wonder how much Billy Zoom kicked himself about leaving X right before they got big. Well big for them anyway.

    I’ve been watching music videos of X for the past few days and it is interesting to see the changes. For White Girl and Hungry Wolf, Exene Cervenka seems to do this very hipster-bored poet/bohemian kind of performance. By Burning House of Love, she seems to have developed a slightly happier persona that involves smiling and dancing while performing.

    Bill Zoom seems like a fairly happy dude. He always seems to smile while playing guitar and can’t put on a tough guy actReport

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Isn’t X one of the obscure bands from the 1980s and not even late 1980s but early to mid-1980s? They were kind of like Sonic Youth but slightly older when they started or at least I thought as much. Are they still around?Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Your recollection is correct. Not really still around as a unit, though they have done occasional reunion shows now and again, and members have done solo stuff. This song came out in ’87.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X_%28American_band%29

        @ND – it is a big difference, which is why I noticed it. My *guess* as to why it’s different, is that even though I don’t think the printed (original?) lyric is actually anti-Mexican (I think the song’s narrator is actually attempting to draw a distinction, in his 1987 way, between a truly “Mexican” name which he’d presumably have no problem with, and a “gangbanger” nickname like “Homeboy”) it could be taken as anti-Mexican, which is why I wanted to point out that lyric isn’t the one on the album version.Report

        • Avatar NewDealer says:

          I think X are still around in the way that many of the early indie-rock/alternative rock acts are still around. They lacked success at the time because the form of music was too new but now they have a range of older fans (with more disposable income) and younger fans who were raised on this stuff thanks to Spin, 120 Minutes, and other sources.

          I might be dating myself by saying that Spin and 120 Minutes were my sources for new music during my formative years. And the fact that I can remember when Spin was the rebellious upstart to Rolling Stone. Also CMJ.Report

          • Avatar Glyph says:

            Spin used to be pretty good.

            120 Minutes: Kendall, or Pinfield?Report

            • Avatar Chris says:

              Ugh, Pinfield in that raspy voice expounding on the influences of the Gin Blossoms. I’m going with Kendall.Report

              • Avatar Glyph says:

                I’m a Kendall fan too, that snooty Limey bastard (I used to do a pretty obnoxious impersonation when drunk). Pinfield annoyed me at first, but I came to grudgingly respect him – dude was actually pretty knowledgeable and very enthusiastic (though that last part could have been due to the rumored coke-fiending).

                RE: Gin Blossoms – I do this every time, but this is a good read. They are a more interesting story than you think; had band founder and ace songwriter Doug Hopkins not been a hardcore alcoholic, their story might have turned out very differently:

                http://www2.metrotimes.com/editorial/story.asp?id=12123Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Heh… I saw that coming.

                It is an interesting story, though that doesn’t make me want to hear that song ever again.Report

            • Avatar NewDealer says:

              I don’t really remember the hosts. I remember a special 120 minutes weekend hosted by Henry Rollins.

              I had a huge crush on Karen Duffy though. I’m afraid to Google her and to find out if she has any kooky views.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                I remember a Henry Rollins episode, too. It must have been around ’96 or ’97.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer says:

                That sounds about right. Maybe a bit earlier because I think I was a freshman or sophomore in HS. So 94-96 is more likely.Report

              • Avatar Glyph says:

                Duffy was very ill for a while, don’t remember the details.

                Kooky views? Son, you live in SF. If you want a date, that comes with the territory.

                Speaking of kooky views, I was in the minority – I found Kennedy (the VJ, not the president) entertaining as all hell, but I know she was pretty unpopular.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer says:

                Perhaps.

                I remember being annoyed by Kennedy for some reason.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer says:

        They were an LA Punk band from the late 1970s to mid 80s but like Sonic Youth known for being intelligent and arty. They were critically well-respected but did not get much mainstream success and this frustrated them. I think they always wanted Mainstream success. You can find videos on youtube where they are performing on American Bandstand and really early David Letterman. They are possibly a bit younger than the people in Sonic Youth though.

        This song comes from their 5th album I think and has a more proto-adult alternative/proto-alt.country. Their earlier albums were more punky loud. Compared and contrast:

        Hungry Wolf or Burning House of Love with the song above or 4th of July. The later songs are much less sonic and probably more palpable to a mainstream audience but still very good.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          X were hugely influential on the Alt scene but didn’t have much mainstream success. John Doe has released many solo albums and has had some success as a character actor.Report

          • Avatar NewDealer says:

            They are another variant of the Velvet Underground story. Not many people bought their album but everyone who did formed a band….Report

  3. Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark says:

    It’s always a shock to me to read the lyrics of a song that I’ve loved half my lifetime (I’m more a music-person than a lyrics-person).

    So, I guess I’m glad we have a theme song now, but I’m feeling kinda depressed…Report