Cheap Trick and The Roots

You know what yesterday was? Well, it was Square Root Day, of course (kind of a cheap trick using the band name The Roots in the title...I figured I'd sucker in a few fans of that band).

I don't know about you, but I didn't celebrate Square Root Day. I think it's just another one of those ploys by Hallmark, to get us to buy extra cards. Sorry, Mr. Root, no card for you!

For those that are actually interested in the "holiday"...it occurs when the day and the month are square roots of the last two digits of the year (3/3...square root of 9). It won't happen again until 4/4/16. Mark it on your calendars!

Ya know what else yesterday was? It was Two-fer Tuesday, on KGB. Yes sir, it was. That means double-shots of your favorite rockers (gotta love those classic rock DJs, with their "Rock-tober" and "more rock, less talk" talk).

(on a side note: look for a piece that KGB jock Coe Lewis did for the Reader on Thursday).

I heard a double-shot of the Doors, with my favorite song Whiskey Bar.

But it was the songs of Cheap Trick around 6:00 p.m. that will be the topic of this blog.

This is a band I love, yet I'm not sure why. Okay, I know why. I was a kid when they came out. And the songs rocked.

Rick Nielsen would whip out these weird Hamer guitars, some with 5 necks. The drummer looked like my high school biology teacher (and some guys got him to play the drummer during the air band competitions).

I was a frequent guest on a local radio show a few years back, and I'd wear an old Cheap Trick shirt I had, since it was the favorite band of one of the DJs (I felt awkward when I ran into him at a Cheap Trick concert at 4th & B, right after he lost his job).

Anyway, KGB played one of the hits, Surrender. And it made me realize how bad a songwriter Nielsen was.

Most bands have a primary songwriter. Rush has the drummer, Neil Peart. The Doors had Morrison (but guitarist Kreiger wrote a few hits).

Anyway, let's break down the lyrics to the song I heard today -- Surrender.

Mother told me, yes she told me, I'd meet girls like you She also told me, "Stay away, you'll never know what you'll catch"

---- Okay, the phrasing on those first two lines is lame on so many levels. Let's continue...

Just the other day I heard a soldier falling off, some Indonesian junk that's going 'round

---- I may have gotten that verse wrong, but I think I get the point. Not sure why it couldn't have been worded better. Now, the chorus:

Mommy's alright, Daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself away

Father says, "Your mother's right, she's really up on things" "Before we married, Mommy served in the WACS in the Philippines" Now, I had heard the WACS recruited old maids for the war But mommy isn't one of those, I've known her all these years

---- Why are there two mentions of WACS? And, I'm not even sure what they are. And he's saying his mommy isn't one of those "old maids"....so, what's he saying? His mom is hot? She's a milf? What?

Another chorus and then:

Whatever happened to all this season's losers of the year? Every time I got to thinking, where'd they disappear? When I woke up, Mom and Dad are rolling on the couch Rolling numbers, rock and rolling, got my Kiss records out

---- The first two lines suck. The second two are cool. As a kid, I didn't know "rolling numbers" meant joints. And, it's always cool when bands name-check another band.

(don't even get me started on how awful the lyrics of "I Want You To Want Me" are)

The second song they played on KGB was She's Tight. Which could be one of the best rock songs ever. It has everything you'd want; the catchy guitar riff, that stops all of a sudden. It has a sexual premise with innuendo. It has the singer moaning, it has telephone sound effects. I think the song was written for a movie (Up the Creek, or some title like that).

I've met the guitarist a number of times. He's an amazing story teller. I asked him why they hardly ever play that tune in concert, and he didn't give me much of an answer. But not because he isn't talkative. He is. He told me a story about being so wacked out on drugs that either Hall or Oates, I forget which, brought back from some other country. The cops kept showing up because of all the noise at his house, and the last time they arrived, they asked if everything was okay. He said it was, and the cops just stared at him like he was crazy. It wasn't until after he shut the door, he saw he was wearing a dress shirt, but no pants. I was laughing hard, and it wasn't until I got home that I realized I should've asked...why were his pants off with Oates?

I've heard him talk about their #1 hit The Flame (a truely awful ballad if ever there was one), which basically rips off the guitar riff from Spirits song "Nature's Way." (Spirit may be the most underrated of the bands people lifted from, as one of their songs also was "borrowed" by Led Zeppelin and became Stairway to Heaven...in usual Zep fashion, they didn't pay, or credit, for this use).

Instead of waiting for next Tueday, maybe I'll throw the Budokan CD in my car, and create an entire "rock block" of Cheap Trick.

Comments

Can't find "Country Closer," but I found this:

Scary. And I just GOTTA mention this one:

"What if they hadn't made it to Vulcan in time?"

Indeed.

And you thought that one scene in Brokeback was rough. At least it wasn't "Vulcan style."

Wait a minute. Is THIS it?

http://rateyourmusic.com/release/single/nine_inch_richards/closer_to_hogs/

'Cuz I don't think it's this one:

(The keys kinda sound like the theme from Sesame Street, don't they? EXTRA creeeeepy.)

Board, you get me closer to Blogs.

:)

Thanks for the clarification! For years I made up my own words to Surrender. Although I am not sure if I am happier now...

Do you remember in the early '90s that Nine Inch Nails song "Closer"? Someone did a hillbilly version and it was called "Country Closer". I cannot find a clip of it ANYWHERE. If anyone can find it, I would be eternally grateful.

NIN is my girlfriends favorite band. We went and saw them in Vegas a few months back. I'd love to hear Country Closer, although I can hardly imagine where it would go.

Obviously, you've heard Johnny Cash's wonderful version of NIN, right?

I saw NIN with David Bowie! Tres cool. Yes, I have heard Cash's cover. It is great. Country Closer was so damned funny, and I have not been able to find it. I was in a bar in Scottsdale, AZ, many years ago and it came on over the PA and EVERYONE was laughing and dancing to it. It has the bangos and everything! I think Mr. Reznor may have gotten POed and sued or something. He takes himself kinda seriously.

Hahahaha...thank you, anti.

I was just thinking about other Cheap Trick lyrics. What is with the line "I'm begging you to beg me"?

"I want you to want me... I need you to need me... I'd love you to love me... I'm beggin' you to beg me..."

And I forgot to post the link to "Closer to Hogs" on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Closer-Hogs-Nine-Inch-Richards/dp/B0000072KT/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1236328061&sr=8-2

Grant, you can pick up a used copy for $1.45.

Once, back when I used to shop at the evil blue Borg that is Wal-Mart, I asked a clerk in their music department if they had any Nine Inch Nails.

She suggested I try the hardware department.

That Nine Inch Nails thing has to be a joke. A good one, though.

I went into Tower Records in La Jolla, about 4 months before it closed down. Comedian Jim Gaffigan was doing a bit on his website where you had to take a clever photo of yourself with his new DVD. The winners would get some prize or another. I'm a huge fan of his, and I thought of something that was kind of clever.

He does a bit about how horrible Hot Pockets are. How hot they are inside, how disgusting they taste, and how that song sticks in your head.

So I went into the DVD section, and told the guy behind the counter I wanted to pretend to rob him. I put a bandana over my face, and was robbing him using a Hot Pocket, with the caption that it was so hot, if he didn't hand over the Gaffigan CD, I'd use the Hot Pocket to scald his face.

Well, the first funny thing is that he kept saying "I don't know who this Jim Gaffigan comedian is. Why don't you use a George Lopez or George Carlin DVD? Those guys are funny."

(not sure why he stuck with two "George" comedians...and not sure why he didn't get that it had to be Gaffigan, as it was for HIS website).

Then, as my friend is taking this great photo of me "robbing the place" with a Hot Pocket...the guy says, "I'm not going to put my hands in the air. Because, I don't condone robbery."

So, he let me wear a bandana, point something at him, while holding a big bag to stash my loot, but he refuses to raise his hands. It still worked, but geeeeeez.

Clarification for you on the lyrics to Surrender. First off you have to know Rick Nielsen is a very clever songwriter. He puts double and even triple entendres in almost every song- as well as many puns and nods to other bands- i.e.- ELO Kiddies- obvious nod to Electric Light Orchestra (aka ELO) and Wrong All Along- nod to the Nazz's Not Wrong Long- and those are just in the titles). Rick told me Woke Up With a Monster has 3 meanings- though only 2 could be printed in a family newspaper. Anyway, re:

True story: The original lyric was "Now, I had heard the WACS recruited old maids, dykes and whores/but Mommy isn't one of these I've known her all these years" Problem was, when their record label wanted to release this as a single, they said radio stations wouldn't play it because of the word "whore" so Rick had to change it.

Anyway, if you look a bit deeper you will find a lot of nice puns and wordplay in most of Rick's lyrics.

fasted....first, let me say, Cheap Trick is a guilty pleasure for me. I saw them in concert once open with ELO KIDDIES, and the intro is just so great to start a concert with. I still hate the songwriting. Yet I love the songs. Does that make sense? It's like the opposite of Leonard Cohen and Dylan, where I love the songs lyrics, just hate the songs (or, even add Kris Kristofferson to that list as well).

As for the double ententres, Rick is horrible at them. (steven tyler and AC/DC do them so much better) I've heard most of them, as I have a handful of albums and CDs (Woke Up With A Monster I bought used for $5...and other than a really cool cover, I was very disappointed).

California Man is a great song. And there are about 5 other tunes I would say are "great". Basically, because they have catchy riffs. I much prefer Ricks Hamer jams, to his songwriting. But proof that you don't need strong songwriting, is Budoken. I'm guessing 85% of the crowd didn't understand the lyrics, and they went nuts!

Hey Josh...I don't really think you know the band, California Man is cover. As for lyrics...have you tried to understand The Beatles??? These guys still rock, yes they are no Aerosmith or AC/DC, but they really don't wanna be,do ya remember Fast Times at Ridgemont High?? No mention of AC/DC or Aerosmith, for a fact Rick got Steven Tyler and Joe Perry together after years of those two fighting...

My thing with Cheap Trick is that they rock so much harder live than they do on their albums. I wish I knew half the songs they do live, cause I'm not sure what I'm listening to, but I love it. When playing live, they almost sound like a heavy metal band. Really, if anyone can direct me to a playlist, I would be very happy. (I also bought "Woke with a Monster" in attempts to find this playlist, and... I'd use it as a drink coaster, but my drinks refuse to land on it.)

As far as Led Zepplin goes, I think a number of years back, even though they did not have to, they went and paid the people from which they borrowed the music. Also, it's not fair to slander Zepplin for what the industry standard was at the time. That's like applying today's morality to various points of history.

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