Makes the Old Style of Squeamishness Look Positively Libertine...
So, it's Wodnesdæg and time for Song for Odin, that thing I do where I post a song video of some kind and type up some typing about it. So there's my introduction done. (This one may be a bit long, as the fellow said, because I don't have time to make it shorter.)
Here's MTX Shards vol. 3 on 180 gram sea glass vinyl playing "Sex Offender".
As before it's a picture of the vinyl spinning, with the re-mastered digital audio as the soundtrack, but you get the idea. Sounds nice this way, but of course it's only that much better out in the room all analog and everything. As you may know, the original release included a snippet of the intro of the original Blondie recording, intended as a gag to freak people out with the MTX assault when they'd be led to expect the real thing. In this day and age, there's just no practical way to do that sort of thing, plus it maybe wasn't all that great of a gag anyway. We learned a bit of a lesson with "Danny Partridge" (see link in notes below) and in this case it's definitely not a great hill to die on, so we left it off.
This was originally a single, released in 1990 on this little label called Vital Music, recorded with Andy Ernst at Art of Ears in San Francisco rather than in the usual Kevin Army / Lookout manner. I can't recall how or why that came about, but I've always liked the result. This was one of those cases where I had a fairly elaborate guitar arrangement in my head, but no way to test out whether or not it would work till we were right there in the studio. It could really go awry very badly, but when it did work, as here, it felt like some outlandish magic. I mean, those leads do everything they were meant to do, and things like that don't always do that.
This arrangement is kind of how I'd imagined "Book of Revelation" would go - and I think that song was half-written at that time -- but as you know it all went just a bit different in the event. It would have been the same guitar set up, that old Gibson SG with the Mea Boogie Mark IV amp and a couple of 2 x 12 mini-cabs.
One thing I remember about the recording was that I had do that final "you" high note a few times before getting it sort of almost pretty close to okay, as was and is my wont. Andy casually offered to slow the tape down on that part no problem, take care of that right right away, make it easy for ya. Possessed by some misguided spirit of ethics in vocals, I declined, but now I wish I'd done it, as it would make this particular anecdote kind of Beatles-y rather than the utterly non-Beatles-y reality.
So like I said, this is a Blondie cover, and we put a good deal more into it than the usual sort of cursory work-for-hire covers that we used to do. This was one of my favorite tunes as a kid during my self-administered rock and roll education from a distance via college radio (link below) -- though I didn't quite grasp what was going on in it, not really. To be honest, I'm not sure I grasp it all that well even now. But in my naive dreams of joining the punk rock ranks one day I'd always imagined playing it. And that's what happened. I meant it, man.
The Blondie track's name is "X-Offender": "Sex Offender" was the original title, but it was re-named because of record company squeamishness and objections. It seemed only right that a small-time band whose label had no pull over it would "restore" the real title. I wrote a bit about this title bowdlerization in a previous write-up a couple years back and I'm going to go ahead and quote myself on that:
'That's the sort of thing that, at one point in time, seemed so silly and quaint -- like Rob and Laura Petrie having to sleep in separate beds or only showing the top half of Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show or Spiro Agnew being mad at the Beatles for getting high with a little help from their friends.
'But nowadways... well, it's not so quaint. Things get banned and suppressed for far less than that. And though we live in a cultural world awash with sleaze and gross-outs and mandatory vulgarity, we are squeamish about the least little thing as well, in a way that makes the old style of squeamishness look positively libertine. Different rhetorical pretexts, same basic result, which is literal or de facto censorship. The more things change the more they stay the same. I genuinely thought we got over that hump long enough ago to laugh at it, but I guess I laughed too soon.'
This situation continues. There was a time when I genuinely thought liberality and free-to-be-you-and-me in art and culture and stuff had permanently triumphed, but boy was I wrong. Rob and Laura can get away with being in the same bed now, but they had better watch what they say out loud while they're in there. It's too easy to say the wrong wrong thing. Best to remain silent and dissemble as to your secret hidden thoughts and the lack of conformity they might signal. It wouldn't make the greatest sitcom script, but that's how we live now.
Essentially, our liberal society is dying. But you can still sign up for the 180 gram Shards vol. 3 "dibs" list -- the buy links go out on August 2, just around the corner. That'll show 'em, somehow. The link is in the notes below. The street date, for the standard edition, is still September 10. Thanks to our man Klode for the thumbnail. Bye now.
-- previous aforementioned write-up of this song: https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/945371466784976896
-- Amazon and "Sex Offender": https://drankf.medium.com/sex-offender-3b8adf9161b7
-- The "Danny Partridge" Problem: https://drankf.medium.com/dr-frank-weakly-reader-for-10-25-2019-31fee09df6a7
-- How College Radio, Dr Demento, and Monty Python’s Flying Circus Turned Me into a Punk Rock Antiquarian: https://drankf.medium.com/how-college-radio-dr-b894cbd74720
-- The Dick Van Dyke Show: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dick_Van_Dyke_Show
-- the Shards vol. 1 story: https://drankf.medium.com/rad-003-1-the-mtx-shards-vol-1-story-2b71fbf4b766
-- the Shards vol. 2 story: https://drankf.medium.com/rad-004-1-the-mtx-shards-vol-2-story-fa37a02d4764
-- sign up for Shards vol. 3 "dibs": https://www.soundsradical.com/shards3.html
-- Songs for Odin playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLommF46BbnATopffORs0YkspebJHka2o_#music#songs#product#punkrock#minds