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Thursday, December 9, 2010

266. "I Wanna Be Sedated" by The Ramones

Here's something that I've known for a long time would happen eventually, but it wasn't premeditated as I would have expected.

A long, long time ago, and I mean in the very earliest days of my rock music listening and guitar playing, I had this rather boneheaded idea that it would be funny to do a Ramones cover like a Donovan song. At the time, which would've been maybe 1986 or so, there was a really earnest faux-folky tinge to a lot of music coming out, and punk proper was in a bit of a hibernative phase, most of its early exponents having moved on to other things and the hardcore bands of the time being largely self-ghettoized, but I probably wasn't too cognizant of that: I knew the names of some punk bands, but the Ramones were probably the only ones by whom I actually knew any songs. I thought, as a fifteen-year-old might have (then; I think my not-quite-13-year-0ld stepdaughter is already more sophisticated than this) that it would be funny to hear something that started off like a Tracy Chapman song but turned out to be all about pinheads and freaks and going down to the basement, etc. For some reason, although I went on to find millions of reasons for that to be stupid, the idea still comes back around every once in a while, so, desperate to finish the job of getting back on schedule, I decided to move the concept from acoustic guitar (which I honestly use too much on 39-40 for too many different purposes for it to really signify, like, anything) to ukulele and work it out.

Now, the thing that I knew was going to happen is this: since starting this enterprise, I've been conscious that for every finished take I post there must be on average between three and twenty false starts (and far more if you count every individual fluffed overdub) where I just crap out and exclaim something really foul-mouthed. That's just the way it is; I once worked with a singer who was one of the sweetest, most devoutly mormon of persons, and marveled at how unfailingly she said "fuck" immediately after making a mistake on a vocal track. Feeling that this integral part of the process would eventually require some kind of acknowledgment, I thought that maybe some recording would see me collecting all of my anguished profanity and weaving it into an oral collage to be used in place of a keyboard solo or similar. But when this tune crapped out as it does, I felt like, hey, that's it! The Ramones are famous for their short songs... here, I've made this one shorter and documented the ever-present false start phenomenon without causing any undue frustration to myself, or, it is to be hoped, the listener.

Personnel: Rex

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