We're a novelty band, for cryin out loud! We have yet to turn a profit, and except for my nephews, god love 'em, we have no fans to speak of. But it amuses us to keep making funny music. Oh and our album covers parody famous rock album covers. No one seemed to mind, no one even noticed, until CAFEPRESS.COM sent us a warning.
Suddenly, we had violated the beatles' copyright. VIOLATED THE GOD-DAMNED BEATLES'S COPYRIGHT!!
The 14 CDs we sold last year somehow interfered with their profit-making margin, and we were told to cease and desist. Parody doesn't count when you're selling something. How about that.
Well, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MY BARKING ASS!! The only beatles with any musical chops are dead now, and Michael Jackson owns the rights to their music anyway.
What, will our feeble attempt at bringing the Sgt. Peppers album cover to mind prevent that sick overdressed pop music has-been from sucking every last red cent out of the moldering corpse of rock and roll?
They say that there's no such thing as bad publicity, but if you can't use your album cover, then it's NO PUBLICITY. What are you supposed to do? Put out a blank white album? No wait, THE BEATLES OWN THAT TOO! They own the color white. And between Yellow Submarine and Maxwell's Silver Hammer, It's a good thing Carl Perkins wrote Blue Suede Shoes before the Beatles got an injunction.
Since when does doing a parody of a song hurt the original? It reminds people of the song. You end up humming the original after hearing the parody. Sometimes you go out and buy the source material after you've been reminded. Remember OUR LOVE'S IN JEOPARDY? Weird Al's parody nearly doubled it's shelf life!
And say - isn't the whole idea of music really a copyright infringement of some neanderthal bastard named Ook? Ever since he first made that rhythmic grunting sound, he owns music. Oh wait - he didn't have a lawyer yet. So he doesn't get any of the gravy. Too bad, Ook.
And as for us, we're the Band that got Banned - Banned by the Man.
Remember back during the Crime Show Wars. It was just after the turn of the millenium, Cop shows got so popular they spun off others Until there were too damned many of 'em Law & Orders, there were more and more and more Those grisly new yorkers being streetwise And if you liked the gooeyer stuff There were all those CSIs
|Law & Order: Traffic Patrol||Tough guys and asphalt|
|CSI: Los Alamos||Lizards and cobalt|
|Law & Order: Court Reporters||Shorthand for days|
|CSI: Salem||Witches and auto da fe's|
|Law & Order: Patent Attorney||A filing cabinet|
|CSI: Piscataway||Have you had it yet?|
I couldn't tell the difference between CSI: Minneapolis and CSI: St. Paul And Law & Order: Teacher's Lounge was one long shot Of an empty lounge and the hall Manhattan got rezoned as one huge set For filming Law & Order scenes And The Who got hired as the network house band To do all of the CSI themes
|CSI: Mayberry||With coroner Opie|
|Law & Order: Squeegee Guys||Begging while soapy|
|CSI: Mohegan Sun||Indian gaming|
|Law & Order: Sigfried and Roy||Lions for taming|
|CSI: Columbine||Ran a week, went flat|
|Law & Order: Fast Food Trainee||You want fries with that?|
Soon there were so many cop shows So much legality and crime You had to tivo two sets at once And watch them three at a time The people finally had enough And put a stop to what they saw They hung McGruff in effegy And they passed the Jack Webb law - prohibiting
|Law & Order: Stoolies||Mooks tellin' lies|
|CSI: Cabbage Patch||Felt and button eyes|
|Law & Order: Janitors||Lysol and a mop|
|CSI: Jim's Apartment||Just a place to flop|
|Law & Order: Meter Maids||Handing out the tickets|
|CSI: SRO Hotel||Bedbugs and rickets|
|Law & Order: Mannequins||No movement 'less they fall|
|CSI: Disneyland||It's a small world after all|
|Law & Order: Photo Clerk||Film done in a rush|
|CSI: Airline Toilet||Don't forget to flush|
|Law & Order: Songwriter||Writing songs like this|
|CSI: Subway Tunnel||Smells a bit like piss|
There were three men came out of the west
You've heard their tale I think
They tortured and killed John Barleycorn
And then went for a drink
They thought they had gotten away with the crime
That I'd let my brother's murder lie
My name, you see, is Barleycorn
Sam Barleycorn, P.I.
I heard late one thursday, as smog rolled in
That John had breathed his last
The coroner had quite a tale to tell
Once the autopsy was past
A scythe had been used to cut him at the knees
And then he was bound to a cart
Then rolled, tied and ground between two stones
But that wasn't the gruesome part
The perps used a pitchfork, and crabtree sticks
First they made an unholy vow
They cut little Johnny skin from bone
Said a farmhand in custody now
I staked out a club called The Nut Brown Bowl
Where the killers spent their nights
And long about six, who should show up there
But the three I had in my sites
I ordered a brandy and turned to the first
He smelled of cheap cologne
I told him my name and the bar cleared out
Leaving him and me alone
He reached for his gat as I reached for mine
It was done before it began
And so I had finished the first of three
As the others turned and ran
And back in the alley behind the bar
Where the gunsels lay in wait
I came out blazing with gun in hand
And so finished up our date
I knew that Lieutenant McNulty would hear
So I gave him a call on the horn
And told him I'd just done his job for him
And avenged John Barleycorn
My dear children, young and old, each character in this tale is represented differently by our combo: Peter is represented by punk; the Roommate by reggae; the Bag of White Powder by surf; the Cop by the drums; Wolf, a recovering addict, by death metal; the Fly by a sort of Hendrix-influenced-acid-rock fusion; and the Burrito by the Champs; and now, dear children, here is our story.
Early one morning, Peter came out the door of his east village walk-up and headed towards Tompkins Square Park. He was going to get breakfast at the local burrito joint. Peter's roommate followed quickly out the door. He was glad to catch up with Peter, because he hoped that Peter would buy him some breakfast. Now, buzzing around in the morning sun was a big black fly. When it saw the roommate, it flew down and dive-bombed him repeatedly. "What's the problem with this fly, man?" said the roommate. If the fly had been able to speak, it would have made a comment on the roommate's personal hygiene. On they went, with Peter trying to avoid conversation with the annoying roomie, and the fly trying to start one. Suddenly something caught Peter's eye. He noticed a bag of white powder sitting on the sidewalk. "Now, I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, but you never know what might be in that bag." said Peter, and walked on by. The roommate disagreed, and stealthily crept toward the bag looking this way and that.
No sooner had the roommate picked up the bag than Wolf, a local, came hurrying up. Wolf had been on his way to the methadone clinic when he had lost that very same bag. He asked Peter and his roommate if they had seen it. Peter payed no attention to Wolf. New Yorkers soon learn to ignore scary people and tourists alike. Peter left his roommate trying to act nonchalant with Wolf and hurried on down the street to the restaurant. Once there, Peter ordered a super vegetarian burrito, hold the guacamole. Outside, Wolf was trying to go through the roommate's pockets. Soon, a scuffle ensued, and the bag of white powder flew into the air. Wolf, in a frenzy to get his bag back, and keep it from the roommate and any prying eyes, leapt up and swallowed the bag whole!
And now, this was how things stood. Peter was waiting for his burrito and watching the crazed Wolf. Wolf was too jazzed to go away now and starting harrassing his roommate out on the sidewalk. Peter figured that he should help out his roommate or he would never get his half of the rent. Then Peter came up with a daring idea. Buying an order of refried beans, Peter went out to the sidewalk where Wolf was circling his roommate. He hurled the beans at Wolf and they lodged in his already dirty hair. Although the lunatic didn't notice the beans, the fly sure did! It changed course, and circled around Wolf's head. The buzzing of the fly caught the attention of Wolf, who tried desperately to swat it, and Peter and his roommate slipped into the burrito joint.
Wolf now noticed that he was alone on the street and looked around wildly for the others. Then he saw them in the restaurant and came charging in after them, but he hadn't noticed the Cop who was finishing his taco grande over by the window. "Is there some problem here?" asked the Cop. But Wolf kept flailing his arms wildly, trying to get rid of the fly. Peter, up at the counter, said, "I saw that guy swallow a bag of white powder a minute ago." And so the Cop hauled Wolf off to the station, and Peter and his roommate followed along to watch.
Imagine the procession. Bringing up the rear, came Peter, happily munching on his burrito. In front of Peter, playing hacky-sac, was his roommate. He grumbled, "This is all very well, dude, but I never got anything to eat." Then came the Cop leading Wolf in handcuffs, and buzzing around Wolf's head, the fly, still trying to get at the beans. And if you use your imagination, you can almost see the little bag of white powder dissolving inside Wolf's stomach.
MUSIC: Banned By The Man (the Combo), L&O vs. CSI (Post, Townshend), Sam Barleycorn (Winwood, Mancini), Peter and the Wolf and the Burrito (Prokofiev, Burgess) LYRICS by Paul Rubin ARRANGEMENTS by Rubin, Strelecky & the Combo RECORDED: May-June '04 at The Batcave by Gary Dorfman