Night Music: Reform School Girls, and Don’t Touch Me There

If you have ever been in a band–and I hope my buds Steve and Gene affirm this–you are doomed to play covers.

Speaking for myself, and the Biletones, between my own catalog of originals, and that of  bandmate/singer/rhythm guitarist Tom Nelson, we could easily play a two hour set of tunes we penned.

However, especially if your group does not have, shall we say, “a name,” then for the most part you have to get used to playing Little Queenie, Dead Flowers, Moondance, and a zillion other tunes that I have played way more often than I wish.

Still, it goes with the territory, as people want to hear and dance to stuff they know. We do play Tom’s Rich Girlfriend as a regular tune, and have done my own Geography Matters, as well as a couple of more Tom wrote (Bad Dreams, DUI Bars) but for the most part we have to squeeze the desire to play originals into playing more obscure covers.

That means we play a chunk of Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, and Wilco, all of which are fine by me, to go along with Queenie and the more mainstream cover ilk.

Sometimes those odd covers work (Gravity’s Gone, by Drive by Truckers) and sometimes not (Having a Party by Sam Cooke, and Borrow your Cape by Bobby Bare, Jr.).

Well, about a month ago, the song Reform School Girls, by Nick Curran and the Lowlifes appeared on the weekly practice list.

The song is a great paean to the Phil Spector sound, as well as an homage to the Bitch Groups like the Shangri-Las, and well, once we started playing it, I found myself humming it for days at a time.

Written by the very talented Curran, who sadly passed away from oral cancer in  October of last year at the age of 35, Reform School Girls is as beautiful a send up to the genre as is the Tubes Don’t Touch Me There.


3 thoughts on “Night Music: Reform School Girls, and Don’t Touch Me There

  1. I didn’t know Tom Curran, but that song hits it. Still… “Then she blew this town” seems a bit much.

    I tried to post about Don’t Touch Me There months ago, but I could not find the studio version of the song anywhere. And the live versions, like this one, are pretty draggy.

    A couple years later I fell in love with a gal who was a few years older than me and she loved the Shangrilas and the Crystals in a first hand way. I played Don’t Touch Me There for her, thinking she would find it as funny and oddly touching as I did, and she hated it. All she heard was mockery and condescension. She felt the deep feelings of teenage girls as expressed in the popular song was not a ripe topic for parody.

    She liked White Punks on Dope however.

  2. Blech. I couldn’t even get through the video for the hot retro girls, although I did like the moontan on the first one. The Tubes were really popular here in the Lehigh Valley and they played here regularly. I never caught on.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.