Well, babies and gentlemen, another Miðviku is upon us, meaning that Odin the Shaggy Cloak Wearer and I are back again with another song. To wit, dribbling out another number from that show at the Roma PalaEUR, March '96 on the Eurotour with Green Day, and revealing the minor secrets thereof. "Can I Do the Thing?" https://youtu.be/vccwGDoNAxc (You can consult the "minor secrets" write-up for the previously-posted video from this set for the story of how and why your dumb little MTX wound up playing for a crowd of 15,000 in Rome: https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/863813758623551488. And once again, apologies for the "fragile" sound, which is what it is, and is the only sound we've got in the way of documentation of this particular show.) The origin of "Can I Do the Thing?" stretches back to the Jon von years of the MTX enterprise, though nothing was recorded till '95 (for the Love Is Dead album) after Jon had left the band for greener pastures. Jon was a rudimentary guitar player -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- something he'd never deny. He used to say, when the subject of guitar playing came up, "Johnny Ramone is my guitar hero" before saying stuff like that was rote and required. And quite right too. Big chords, huge sound, frantically strummed and multi-tracked is a well-known formula for magic, as long as there's a good-to-great song lying underneath it all somewhere (something we always at least tried to organize.) But there was one "fancy" bit of guitar that I taught him, a minimalist version of the Keith Richards suspended-fourth figure (you know what I'm talking about, just listen to pretty much any Stones record.) This was in conjunction with the song "Danny Partridge." Within our band community, this guitar figure became known as "the thing" and each time I'd introduce a new song to the band, Jon von would inevitably ask, with regard to his guitar part: "can I do the thing on this one?" He liked doing the thing. And I can see why. The thing is great. Sometimes the answer was yes, sometimes no. And sometimes the thing would manage to creep in unbidden, as things of that kind often do. But the phrase stuck in my mind, and when that happens songs can result, which is what happened here. The song itself leaves "the thing" ambiguous, and properly so. The Keith von Zelowitz guitar figure isn't the subject of the song in any way. But "the thing" does feature prominently, in the guitar break and in the basslines of the verses. (Is there a word for the type of song this is, where the subject is referred to but never identified, as a sort of gimmick? It's quite a traditional trope, I think. e.g. https://youtu.be/kjlZQJHfz2g -- which I just realized is called "The Thing" as well: full circle, sort of.) As I've said before, it is our inside jokes that sustain us. Without them we're nothing. I hope that's not too much demystification for you, for anyone who holds that song in high regard if any such there be. And that will conclude today's song for Odin. Link, share, subscribe, like, upvote, comment, whisper sweet words of love to the person sitting next to you and mispronounce his or name, eat a big breakfast, and take a long, refreshing ice milk bath. Or, don't.