Are We Not Men? Pick Your Favorite Song from Devo’s Debut.

For some reason I’ve been thinking about Devo lately. Not in any profound way, just thinking about listening when I got a chance. I got a chance today while making dinner. On goes Are We Not Men? We are Devo, which starts with the brilliant Uncontrollable Urge, moves onto (Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, which I owned on 7″ long before the elpee came out, and then goes all over the freaking place. And I do mean freaking.

Remembering, at the time, I grouped the band with the Talking Heads, who had a similar angular geeky-ness, and the Tubes, who had an over the top theatricality. When I listen now I hear mostly classic rock moves, filtered through a novel lens, a lens which made it both surprising the band existed and that they then made hits with mainstream success and surprising that we didn’t see just how inevitable that was on first listen.

I think what I mean is, we knew weird. We loved Zappa, dug Alice Cooper, admired Captain Beefheart, but each of those personalities carved out his own space on the edges of taste and sensibility. They had some pop exposure, but they were happy to exist as novelties.

Devo carved out that space, then tried to bring the whole dang world into it. They were weird, uncompromising, and ambitiously popular, not content to reside on the sidelines with the other freaks. That was cool.

So, while listening to their first elpee tonight, I was struck by how strong the songs are. How little there is that is thrown away. Maybe none of it. And as I went from song to song I said to myself, That’s a great tune. Then, Oh, that’s a good one. Oooh, love it. Which got me thinking that maybe we all have different favorite songs from Are We Not Men? We Are Devo.

I’m laying claim to Mongoloid. It was the first Devo song I heard, it is the one I know all the words to and compulsively sing along to, but I’m pretty sure there are strong cases for others. What’s your favorite song on Devo’s first album?


Hibbidy Dibbidy: Dregen & Backyard Babies

Dregen (the guy who looks kind of like Nikki Sixx) was an important part of the early Hellacopters, the best Hellacopters. Somewhere along the line, Dregen split for the Backyard Babies. I don’t know exactly why this happened and it’s a great mystery to me.

Whereas BB is nothing but a big dog and pony show (dig all the tattoos and weird hairstyles, man), disguising a mostly poppy, dare I say almost hair-metally pile of mush, The Hellas were always the real deal (even post-Dregen).

Why would ol’ Dregen wanna leave The Hellacopters for the vastly inferior Backyard Babies?

Honestly, one of the biggest problems I have with Pandora is it has always tried feeding me the Backyard Babies and, again, you can’t fool me. I know the difference.

Compare BB’s version of “Star War” (probably the best BB song I’ve ever heard):

to the pumped, locked and loaded version by Supershit 666 (half of the Hellas, with Nicke and Dregen, so this counts). S666 even had the courtesy to call this “Star War Jr.” which is ridiculous. Feel free to do the boogie-woogie:

Name That Tune No. 1: Can You Identify This?

I’ve stripped the metadata from this clip, and renamed it. Your mission, if you choose to accept it is identify, the year, the band, the song. Let me warn you, you may not be able to do it. This is tres obscure.

But I think there are also some things to talk about with this one. Please discuss! No prizes!

The answer will appear soon in the comments.

A Mystery Song Challenge: Can You Name It?

My buddy Thornton sent me this link to a Vimeo clip. A friend of his says it was a song included in the mixtape Thornton made to celebrate the guy’s 50th birthday. 50 for Phil, it was called.

Maybe this was the one for good luck, because Thornton doesn’t recognize it.

I laughed with smug confidence that I could ID it, thanks to Apps, but neither Soundhound nor Shazam makes a match. And I’ve Googled most of the lyrics, but not the one’s from the Beatles Revolution, and come a cropper.

So, maybe we can crowdsource it. What I think I know:

The singer is in her 50s, since she went to the Concert of Bengla Desh in 1971.

This is a real song, not a demo. Too much mixing.

And it was probably recorded around the time Phil turned 50. Though I’m not sure when that was, I would guess that it was about 10 years ago, give or take a few.

The confounding issue is that the song doesn’t show up in the Soundhound and Shazam databases. I don’t have any idea how extensive their lists are, but I would assume any commercial release would show up. But maybe not.

And the fairly prosaic lyrics don’t punch up in Google, at least not for me.

Which leaves us with the song, in the style of Jill Sobule, or Beth Orton, or, well, I don’t know. It’s not a great song, but it is a mystery I don’t know the answer to. Do you?



The Lunch Quiz

What happened here?


Just to be clear, I learned to ice skate here (professionally), I saw many Long Island Duck hockey games, and this is where my friends and I came to see the NY Nets play with red white and blue balls, long before the arrival of Rick Barry, Dr. J. and Larry Kenon.

But something Rock happened here besides your everyday run of the mill conerts, those happened too, and it surprised me when I heard about it today.

Answers in the comments please. If you’re not registered it will take a while to approve you, but the earliest answer will win.

What? You get to make your own Breakfast Blend post. Retail value? Almost $4,000.

Good luck.