Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Continuing Journey With The Ramones.

My brain is hanging upside down
I need something to slow me down

I was listening to my ipod on shuffle in the car a week or so ago while driving, and a song came on which I don't remember hearing on my ipod, but was very familiar to me. I thought I recognised it as the song playing over the montage of Jack Black teaching his kids the finer points of rock'n'roll in School of Rock. I reached down to flick the scroll wheel to light up the display to see who it was playing, and the name of the song. It was The Ramones and some longish name with "brain" in it, I think. Anyway, I was surprised to see it was The Ramones. I'm not overly familiar with them, but I know a few of their songs, and the vocal didn't remind me of those other songs.
To me, The Ramones were on the periphery. I'd seen their shirts, I knew they all had the same last name maybe. They looked like slackers or the kids smoking behind the toilet block. They weren't Dylan or The Floyd, so I guess I wasn't interested. But I guess I must've had friends who maybe listened to them, or something, because somehow I started listening to them. I think what it was when that documentary came out about them, and I went and saw it. I like rock documentaries, and this seemed like a good way to fill in some gaps in my knowledge. So I went and I enjoyed it. Before the movie I would have know maybe a couple of their songs. I definitely was aware of "Rock'n'Roll High School", maybe one or two more, but I remember walking away with strong impressions of that and "The KKK Took My Baby Away", mainly because of the story behind it. Then there was "Judy Is A Punk" from The Royal Tenebaums soundtrack, which appealed more to Jared than myself, but it was still another song of theirs I know. Then some where along the way, I was re-exposed to "I Want To Be Sedated", a song with obvious appeal due to its lyrics and title. A catchy tune, easy to remember. I'm sure I heard it in the above mentioned doco, but Richard had a greatest hits compliation, so I got to listen to that, and there were a couple of songs on that that stood out for me. "I Want To Be Sedated" and "I Don't Want To Live This Life (Anymore)" were the two I really listened to repeatedly. When Zoë died, there were about three songs I listened to to help me grieve or express something or I'm not sure what. Offer some kind of comfort maybe? Whatever. These three songs were expressing something of what I was feeling. The first was "I'm Not There" by Bob Dylan, the second was another Dylan song, but the cover by Jim James & Calexico of "Going' To Aculpuco" and the third was "I Don't Want To Live This Life (Anymore)". That was certainly a sentiment I could relate to, and I'm glad they could express it where I couldn't. Still a good song, I liked it before that dark period, and I like it still.
So I knew some Ramones material, but was in no way an expert, so I heard this song on my ipod while driving in my car, then forgot about it. But it didn't go away, must've just been bubbling away. I'd think about, but usually when I wasn't near my computer. But then the other night it was like an itch I couldn't scratch, but I remembered I could look stuff up on my iphone, so I googled the School of Rock soundtrack, saw there was a Ramones track on there with the word brain in it, looked up my ipod, and played "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bongo Goes To Bitburg)". It sounded like it was good match for the scene in School of Rock. Without really understanding what it was about, it seemed to be about expressing some anger at politicians, which lines up with the theme of rock'nroll in School of Rock, of sticking it to the man. Some of the lines that stand out clearly are:

If there's one thing that makes me sick
It's when someone tries to hide behind politics
I wish they're time would go by fast
Somehow they manage to make it last

It might actually be "I wish that time would go by fast", but I prefer what I hear. Anyway, I've included a couple of youtube clips, the first is the song as used in Scool of Rock, and the second is some kid just doing an acoustic version. With the first, if you watch it stick around to the end to hear some dialouge in Spanish. The second clip reminded me of Brad.
Also, for your further education, I've included the link to the Wikipedia page on "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down..."

1 comment:

brad mccoy said...

thank freaking goodness they're not dylan or the pinks!

what's bob dylan doing these days? playing the sort of bland generic blues you'd hear at any bar around america. (http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/12979-together-through-life/)

what are the ramones doing? nothing! because half of them are dead! enough said!

and don't get me started on pink flop, the most beoring band ever.

maybe we could start a band called punk floyd and just do ramones-style covers of pinkf songs?