Monday, November 12, 2007

Zappa

I floated the idea to our drummer of doing a Frank Zappa medley of "I'm the Slime/Dirty Love," like Billy Beck's band. He wants to do a medley of "I'm the Slime/San Ber'dino," because we grew up in Rialto, which is next door to San Bernardino.

Both songs are satirical and negative. They strike me as hippie attacks on bourgeois, middle class values. Of course, not everything aspect of the middle class is rational and tasteful, but a little of Zappa's bile goes a long way with me. He was a killer guitarist, though.

I'm The Slime

I am gross and perverted

I'm obsessed 'n deranged

I have existed for years

But very little has changed

I'm the tool of the government

And industry too

For I am destined to rule

And regulate you

I may be vile and pernicious

But you can't look away

I make you think I'm delicious

With the stuff that I say

I'm the best you can get

Have you guessed me yet?

I'm the slime oozin' out

From your TV set

You will obey me while I lead you

And eat the garbage that I feed you

Until the day that we don't need you

Don't go for help . . . no one will heed you

Your mind is totally controlled

It has been stuffed into my mold

And you will do as you are told

Until the rights to you are sold

That's right, folks . . .

Don't touch that dial!

Well, I am the slime from your video

Oozin' along on your livin' room floor

I am the slime from your video

Can't stop the slime, people, lookit me go

I am the slime from your video

Oozin' along on your livin' room floor

I am the slime from your video

Can't stop the slime, people, lookit me go

San Ber’dino

She lives in Mojave in a Winnebago

His name is Bobby, he looks like a potato

She’s in love with a boy from the rodeo

Who pulls the rope on the chute when they let those suckers go

He’s a slobberin’ drunk at the Palomino

They give him thirty days in San Ber’dino

Well there’s forty-four men stashed away in Tank C

An’ there’s only one shower, but it don’t apply to Bobby

You may think they’re dumb an lonely

But you’re wrong ‘cause their love is strong

Stacked-up hair an’ a cheap little ring

They don’t care ‘cause it don’t mean a thing

Looka there...they don’t care

Best-est way that they can feel-o

Out on the highway, rollin a wheel-o

He’s her tootsie, she’s for real-o

Trailer park heaven, it’s a real good deal-o

Real good deal-o! Real good deal-o! Real good deal-o!

The rest of their lives in San Ber’dino

Gonna spend the rest of their lives in San Ber’dino

The rest of their lives in San Ber’dino

Come on with me

Come on with me

Come on with me

Down in San Ber’dino

Just 60 miles, 60 miles down the San Ber’dino freeway

They got some dark green air an’ you can choke all day, that’s right!

Gonna spend the rest of their lives

Rest of their lives

Rest of their lives

Say now

Ain’t talking' bout Fontana

Ain’t talking' bout uh uh

Ain’t talking' bout uh uh

Ain’t talking' bout uh uh

Ain’t talking' bout the Redlands, no, no

Zulch is the auto works

I’m telling you

That’s where they take

All the cars that they hurt

Come on and lets all go down to San Ber’dino

Ooo-ooo

Ooo-ooo

Ooo-ooo

Lets-a go down down down

Down in San Ber’dino

Wouldja b'lieve it

San Ber'dino

San Ber’dino

(got to call it)

San Ber’dino

(c'mere)

San Ber’dino

The rest of their lives

In San Ber’dino

Oh bobby, I’m sorry you got a head like a potato

I really am

****

The story I heard is that Zappa got a traffic ticket while driving through San Bernardino. (Back then you had to go through San Bernardino to get from LA to Las Vegas. Zappa got off easy compared to Sammy Davis, Jr., who lost his eye in an auto accident in San Bernardino.) Zappa's revenge was this song.

Spend the rest of their lives in San Ber'dino -- I am living the dream.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're kidding, right?

Love your blog, but there are some misconceptions I'd like to clear up.

"I'm the Slime" is an attack on television. Even by the 1970's, Zappa thought it corrosive and unintellectual, full of sound bites and superficiality. He thought it misinformed and dumbed down the public. (I wonder what he would have thought of it today.) I don't think it has anything to do with middle class or bourgeois values. Zappa was not a hippie and is well known for chastising them and squaring off with some of them.

Zappa may have gotten a traffic ticket in San Bernardino, but he was also arrested in Cucamonga (which I believe is in San Bernardino County) for "conspiracy to commit pornography." The town of Cucamonga wanted to seize his recording studio so they could open a strip mall (or something like that), and they either didn't have time to use eminent domain or eminent domain abuse had not yet escalated. They sent an undercover cop to order a pornographic tape from him and, since he needed the business, he gladly accepted. Even though he never handed the tape over (the cop wouldn't give him the mutually agreed-on price), he was arrested, and the studio was seized. His equipment and recordings were never returned. He spent over a week in jail. (See the song's lyrics; they're autobiographical.) This is well documented in many sources, including The Real Frank Zappa Book. He may still have gotten off easy compared to Davis, but I'd say that's a lot worse than a traffic ticket.

Jeffrey Falk

Myrhaf said...

Thanks for clearing those things up, Jeffrey. How do we characterize Frank Zappa's spirit? Iconoclastic? Satirical? Beatnik?

Billy Beck said...

If I remember this right, Frank recorded The Surfaris in that Cucamonga studio. They had an A-side all done, and were packing gear to leave, when someone had the idea that the record needed a B-side. They didn't have anything rehearsed, so they spend about an hour lashing something together.

The drums sounded like hell in that awful room, so Frank got the idea to close-mic them.

The song they recorded was "Wipeout", and it became a monster hit, and changed drum sounds forever.


And Jeffrey's right about hippies. Frank thought they were utterly ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

I would say Zappa was both iconoclastic and satirical. Certainly not beatnik. I'd love to learn how your cover medley progresses.

Jeff

Myrhaf said...

Thanks, Jeff. If you follow the link, you can see a You Tube of Billy Beck's band rockin' Zappa.

Billy Beck said...

We have a good time with it.

The two songs that you guys have in mind could work at least as well, I think, not least because of their keys: we're putting "Slime" in F#-minor, and "San Ber'dino" is in A, I'm pretty sure. That's a pretty cool progression, and it also works the other way (reversing the song order).

The only question I would have would be how to manage the segue. I think "Dirty Love" is a bit better-matched to "Slime" in tempo, but that shouldn't be a show-stopper.

Let me know how it goes, wouldja?

Billy Beck said...

Ps. -- to "characterize":

I've always said he was the H. L. Mencken of rock music.

Myrhaf said...

F# minor to A sounds natural. Maybe it's because F# minor is the 6th in the key of A.