March 1997
s m u g
ear candy
by Jack Smith

Rocking in Your Dockers

You were a punk rocker. But the Buzzcocks got fat (punk rock is the rock for skinny rockers) and then Green Day had a million selling record. Now you're approaching 30 and you're too old to still be angry. There had to be an easier way. And lounge was the way. It was as easy as snapping up a couple of Dean Martin and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy records and throwing on a suit. I'd love to just point the finger and laugh, but I remember getting a Bryan Ferry haircut because I thought his "Boys and Girls" record was the shit. So, I'm not casting any stones. Not at all. I'm here to help. Show you that there's another way.

While the guys in Combustible Edison would like you to believe that lounge is "more punk than punk," they're lying. (I can't blame them for wanting to try and sell a couple records, but, c'mon, they don't really expect us to believe that, do they?) How punk can you be when you have gel in your hair? Uh huh.

If punk has been coopted and lounge ain't cutting it, then what really is more punk than punk as we approach the millenium? The answer is fairly complex, but I can sum it up in two words: redneck rock.

While you may believe that rednecks are "bad," or unclean or whatever, consider the hard jammin', beer drinkin', gun shootin', massive guitar solo rocknfuckinroll. You're thinking Skynyrd, now, I'm sure. I'm thinkin' it extends from the far south (ie. AC/DC) right through Jacksonville to Minneapolis on to New York City with brief runs to Texas for beer and steaks. Rednecks are where you find them and you don't just find them in the south. No matter where you go the rednecks all look the same. Only the accent changes.

Their bands range from the old school of Motorhead and David Allen Coe to Scratch Acid and Travis Tritt. Redneck music is better than cocktail music because in the lounge no one ever loses their dog/wife/truck, shoots someone, huffs some lighter fluid and gasoline (for that double super buzz) and washes it all down with a Jack Pepsi. But redneck rock serves a more important purpose. It provides the ulitmate soundtrack to breaking the law.

Let's face it, if you're going to drive drunk - and you really shouldn't, I'm just saying "What if..." - if you're going to drive drunk, what do you want to have on your car stereo right before you Jackson Pollock that Civic into a curley maple, Esquivel or "Flirtin' With Disaster?" Thought so.

The hipster crowd is still drinking overpriced martinis while listening to Ferrante and Teicher and sitting on a velvet couch in a smoke filled bar. I say, "Man made fibers are for halter tops, baby." Hanging in bars where everyone is "cool" and no one gets arrested or gets their ass kicked is no longer my idea of fun, that's for damn sure. The lounge scene has no sense of danger and it's boring the shit out of me. Before I get to middle age, I need to commit some crime. I'm not talking about bank robbing or child molesting just a few ways to go play outside and stick it to the man one more time before fading away.

There are plenty of ways to break the law and once you've made that decision, you've made a new lifestyle choice. And for those of you who didn't grow up where redneck music was regularly heard hourly on bad AOR stations in the south will need some advice to the appropriate music to match a particular crime. I will be your felonious sommelier.

Since this is a "music" column and not a police blotter I'll name the song and describe the crime perfectly suited to the song.

Sister Double Happiness: "The Whipping Song"

You're ready to rock and loaded for bear with a .357 magnum. There's no better way to blow off a little steam than shooting out some street lights. The slide guitar cuts through that nasty ear ringing and if you time it just right the explosion of a sodium lamp complements the crash cymbal, quite nicely. (TIP: try the longer barrels for better accuracy.)

Willie Nelson/Waylon Jennings: "Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"

A redneck would never even consider listening to Cypress Hill while putting the torch to a giant hog leg. Pot is a dish best served with Willie. Waylon, too, if you can get 'em both.

Cosmic Psychos "Rain Gauge"

Living the Miller Highlife is not nearly as exciting as living the scenester highlife and boredom is a key ingredient to breaking the law. Joyriding in a stolen Chevelle will get you out of the trailer and onto the open road. Substitute "Staring at the fuel gauge" while the front end rises as you approach 110 on a dimly lit two lane side road.

Jerry Reed: "Amos Moses"

Hearing that funky swamp music will get you in the mood to go poach deer. The phrase "They raised up a son who could eat up his weight in groceries/Named him after a man of the cloth/Called him Amos Moses" could well be the retro earworm of the year. Get on this one now. (Hint: After you're done, the spotlight works nicely in blinding oncoming drivers.)

Hank Williams Junior: "Family Tradition"

They come over here and they steal our women. They take our jobs and leave us with restaurants that serve small portions. As a god fearing American, you'll need to get busy whipping some French ass. Blaring some post-plate-in-his-head Bocephus will annoy and distract the French while you deliver some well aimed swift kicks to the old yarbles.

I know you're just getting warmed up. Ready to go spraypaint a cop car or break a few store windows? I'd love to help you out, but I can't travel down that dirt road for you. Being a redneck is about action. About making something happen when you've got nothing except a copy of "Back In Black," 3 gallons of gasoline, and a bic lighter. Now that you're reaching thirty a little action will do you some good. Get the blood flowing like it did when you heard "Death Comes Ripping" or when you first wrote "FUCK" in paint thinner on someone's lawn. (Not that I've ever done anything like that, mind you.)

We're almost too old to care, so get out of the velvet lounge. You're not getting any life experience in there. Once you've taken those first few steps foward, becoming a redneck will provide a myriad of life lessons. And the two most important bits of knowledge you can take into your 30s are that hairspray removes blood stains and it's more fun to be Hank Williams than Bryan Ferry.

back to the junk drawer

and such
and such

·feature· ·net worth· ·bumping uglies· ·smoking jacket· ·ear candy· ·feed hollywood· ·target audience· ·three dollar bill· ·compulsion· ·posedown· ·the biswick files· ·mystery date· ·and such and such· ·blab· ·kissing booth·

·contents· ·freakshow· ·fan club· ·junk drawer·

copyright © 1996, 1997