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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

26. "Egg Man" by The Beastie Boys

I reckon this one's a classic for just about anyone my age. I don't think I know anyone who actively dislikes the Beasties, except for those harboring a pathological disdain for hip hop (which is probably its own punishment). I was excited to see this one pop up on The Machine because I knew offhand that I had a good deal of the source material sampled on it-- the Mayfield, the PE, the film scores-- but it got even better when I discovered that I had a killer cheesy synthstrumental cover of "Superfly" by Synthesonic Sounds, of which I made liberal use.

The artist for this installment of 39-40 is Braine, a group which has theoretically existed for a nine months or so now since the name was made up by Eden and her guitar teacher Dan West: it was to be a power trio consisting of all my daughters and named after a combination of their last names, Broome and Hain. Eden's already writes songs for and fronts the band Wye, and Miranda is coming along nicely as a bassist and cellist, but the lack of a drum set has prevented Ridley from rounding out the lineup. Nonetheless they all appear on lead vocals here, so I'm calling it the band's debut.

Eden Hain ~ MCA (and additional engineering)
Miranda Broome ~ The King Ad Rock
Ridley Broome ~ Mike D
Rex Broome ~ Musical assemblage and the rest of it



By some reckonings the first true "classic" of 39-40, and I definitely can understand why. The things that grabbed the most attention in the early months of the project were (1) recognizable songs, which were rare at the time since the originals were being randomly selected from my vast-ass library, and (2) contributions by the kids, both for the adorability factor and then, increasingly, because they did stuff they probably shouldn't be able to do. Having them do a basically fun, prankster-y kind of rap was a natural.

Here I took the collage process about as far as I could without learning how to make real loops. And it was damned hard. I was running the Garageband loops that make up about 50% of the backing track at the approximate speed of the fake version of "Superfly" that was the source of my primary groove. It wasn't an exact fit so I had to do lots of trimming as I went along. From there on it was a slice and dice fiesta with me hacking up bits of the Psycho theme (which I'd captured from video years earlier as a soundbite for a Halloween compilation), the Jaws theme, Public Enemy, and, ultimately, the kids' vocals. This early in the game they hadn't quite dialed in how to keep up with the beat, so the vocals were done line by line and then required a lot of editing to get to the form you hear on the track. They would get much better at this, and the older the kid, the easier it was, for natural reasons.

The bottom line was that it was a long, long process that would've taken a lot less time once I learned how to create loops, but the editing basically worked out. What isn't so hot on the final product is the mixing, which is all the hell over the place. I wish I still had the session tracks for this one, because I could fix it up a lot now, but it's gone with the wind and this will have to do. A lot of people enjoyed it, so I don't worry about it any more than I have to.

EASTER EGGS (no pun intended):

In addition to the samples mentioned above, most of which are either the same sources used on the original or covers thereof, I rather obviously incorporated bits of "I Am the Walrus" by The Beatles and "The Little Black Egg" by The Nightcrawlers. "The Little Black Egg" would later be covered in its entirety on 39-40 with Miranda doing most of the heavy lifting, whereas big chunks of "Walrus" would be used in the Frankensteinian creation of this monstrosity.

The lounge-synth version of "Superfly" that I used in place of the real one is by Synthesonic Sounds, and it is dope.

Perhaps oddly, I didn't use any samples from the original Beasties version of "Egg Man" at all.

Most of the lyrics are intact with only a few shifts... "the eggs did crack on Andy's back" refers to the lead guitarist in Eden's band at the time, and then Eden raps "My name's Eden and I throw the yolk" where it useta say "Yauch". Her coughing fit at the end was a real coughing fit.

In my vocal turn as the actual Egg Man, I throw in a few references, one to Tony Perkins (as the Psycho music plays on the track), one boast about "egging by TARDIS like Doctor Who", and a claim to have "buried Paul" vaguely inspired by the "Walrus" samples. At the time, Eden and I were really into a weird entry in the 365 Project gleaned from a tape of a '70s radio show melodramatically detailing the "Paul is dead" conspiracy... we just found it endlessly amusing.


  1. Hmmm...I know a few folks who dislike the Beasties, not out of generalized anti-hip-hopism, but because their voices are screechy, or because their early personae tend toward the obnoxious... Anyway: If "Braine" doesn't work as a name, you could do something else with their names...let's could take their initials and form a name. Wonder if that's been done?

  2. Yeah, those initials have been remarked upon before. The best configuration, however, must be "ERM".

    Scarier still, the whole household including the cat = Miranda Eden Ridley Genevieve Exene Rex. Wheee!