Monday, March 2, 2009

... Other Times It's Raining Out!

I'm a sucker for punk remakes of sappy songs.

I used to go to this record store on the second floor of a mini-mall above a Chinese restaurant. Everything I bought there smelled vaguely of that sticky red sweet and sour sauce.

So when I heard the Pop O Pies punk retread of the Grateful Dead's "Truckin'," I flipped went over there and plunked down 4 bucks for the The White EP. On the back cover, it explained that most bands use the same members to play different songs, but Pop O Pies used different band members to play the same song -- "Truckin'."

Early in their career, the band was infamous for gigs where they would play "Truckin'" over and over again -- in different styles, with extended jams and altered lyrics ("Sometimes the light's all shining on me... other times it's raining out!" or "I'm tired of traveling, I wanna stop at McDonald's!"). And, if by some miracle they weren't booed off the stage and got called back for an encore, they'd just play "Truckin'" again. Eventually they expanded their repertoire (and even developed a more or less stable lineup) and went into the studio. The White EP contains two versions of "Truckin'" (punk and rap) as well as originals like "The Catholics are Attacking" and "Timothy Leary Lives." It may not be something you'd want to hear over and over again, but it's definitely worth a listen. The Chinese food smell may have faded away after a few years, but this record always brings me back to that cramped record store on the second floor. The EP is sadly out of print now, but you can check it out here.

Speaking of punk retreads of sappy songs, where would the Twin Cities be without Mary Tyler Moore and Husker Du? (And what better way to celebrate the Twin Cities than combining these two pop-cultural touchstones?) Husker Du's version of "Love is All Around" (the theme from the Mary Tyler Moore Show) was originally the B-side of the "Makes No Sense at All" single (from Flip Your Wig. I tried to buy this, too, but by then the record store above the Chinese restaurant had gone out of business, replaced by a Hallmark Store; I never bought anything at the Hallmark store -- all their cards smelled like dumplings! (Link for Gmail subscribers.)

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