“Imagine a person, tall, lean and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan… one giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present…. Imagine that awful being, and you have a mental picture of Dr. Fu-Manchu.” —The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu

Playlist:

The Subject That Was Just Under Discussion Lucy Liu
To be honest I was never that big a Kill Bill fan, and not just for the obvious reason. I found Part 1 monotonously violent and largely incomprehensible. But I did like Part 2 more, and of course the soundtrack was great.

Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) Nancy Sinatra
Who deserves more credit here — Sonny Bono, who wrote the song (yes, that Sonny Bono, the first recording was by Cher and there is a fantastic video for it) — or Nancy and her arranger/guitar player Billy Strange, who found the grand pathos hiding in the cheesy trappings? I’ll leave the question open.

Lonesome Billy Ennio Morricone/Peter Tavis
“If you ever need an example of how much influence Sergio Leone had on the Italian western a viewing of Bullets Don’t Argue will tell you all you need to know. It’s a competently enough directed oater with a decent Morricone score [including “Lonesome Billy”] and good central performances by all concerned, filmed in the same Almerian locations and at around the same time as A Fistful of Dollars. Leone was even involved in the pre production work. But this film is as different an animal to Leone’s first western as a Bengal Tiger is to a badger.” —Phil H., spaghetti-western.net

Behind Blue Eyes The Who
What’s wrong with this picture?

Fu Manchu Frank Black
“I stole this song title from Desmond Dekker who had a great song called ‘Fu Manchu’ about the English literary character — criminal man with a mustache for which we’ve all come to know and love and we call it a ‘fu manchu.’” —Frank Black

Fu Manchu Desmond Dekker
The notorious villain Dr. Fu Manchu was created by English author and virulent racist Sax Rohmer in 1913. In the movies, Fu Manchu has been played by actors including Warner Oland, Boris Karloff, John Carradine, Christopher Lee, Peter Sellers, and… Nicolas Cage? Somehow I was unaware of this.

Burnin’ and Lootin’ The Wailers
For Real Tricky
Shallow Days Blackalicious
A moment of thought, please, for the dearly departed. Bunny Wailer (nee Neville O’Riley Livingston), the last of the original Wailers, left our temporal plane back in March. Mina Mazy, Tricky’s daughter with Matina Topley-Bird and a budding musician in her own right, sadly took her own life in 2019. And Blackalicious MC The Gift of Gab — a.k.a. Tim Parker — passed away just over a week ago. This one hits close to home. I actually interviewed Gab and his partner Chief Xcel once, many years ago; I also saw them live every chance I got, which was maybe not as often as one might have hoped. Gab did several solo shows up here in Humboldt over the years, including an extraordinarily weird one at the strip club in King Salmon, at which he worked very hard to entertain about 12 people. He was an artist, a craftsman, and a true professional, and he will be missed.

The Shame of Life Butthole Surfers
Back in 2001 the Butthole Surfers’ brief moment of commercial relevance — one of the more anomalous effects of the post-Nirvana boom — was long in the past. In the midst of management and record label problems, they had recorded an album called After the Astronaut that was shelved; parts of it turned up on the eventual release of Weird Revolution, which made it all the way up to #130 before disappearing into history’s sinkhole. And yet someone, somewhere, was willing to spend the money to make a music video for the single “The Shame of Life” — possibly the greatest music video ever made.

“There were girls in the front/There were girls in the back,” says Gibby. Straightforward enough. But then he rhymes it with, “And there were girls pettin’ squirrels/And there were squirrels smokin’ crack,” and all this is duly depicted onscreen. And that’s just the first 20 seconds. “The Shame of Life” is a tremendous song on its own merits — if rather transparently an attempt to replicate the success of their hit single “Pepper” — but the video takes it up to another level. The real shame is that few people ever saw it. Thank Jeebus for “nothinking4meman,” who must have captured it on VHS. Well, the Surfers always were and remain chronically underrated — it’s probably the name. But you and I know better, don’t we?

Gin and Juice The Gourds
“Despite a sizable amount of original material, The Gourds are probably best known for a song they did not write, and for which they initially did not receive credit. A recording of the band’s cover of Snoop Dogg’s ‘Gin and Juice’ was widely shared on the popular file-sharing site Napster, with the song miscredited to the band Phish. In fact, for most of the 16 years following their first live performance of the song, fans could regularly be heard calling out for the band’s cover version of the song, sometimes before the show had even started. This led some to consider it an albatross, but the band continued to play the crowd pleaser, often adding a medley of impromptu cover songs to its midsection.” —Wikipedia

Cart Procurement Coyle & Sharpe
Since there was time left on the CD after “Gin and Juice,” I decided to throw on this bit, which hadn’t quite fit anywhere else. The best C&S terrorizations were the ones where they ran into somebody willing and able to spar with them on an intellectual level, like this delivery guy. I’m always amazed at how nice people are to them. Nowadays these kinds of shenanigans would get your ass whipped, I think. But who knows, humans are full of surprises.

4 comments on “Gangsters & Pranksters II, Part 4

  • Dr.+Von+Funk+Nyugen

    3 things, I first heard Gin & Juice at Fight Club and Colleen can often be heard singing it throughout the house when she doesn’t know she is not alone in the house, and finally, I have a recommendation for …” the greatest music video ever made.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW-17JDIPjI you know my propensity for lesbian vampire nuns, lesbian vampire anything really.

  • Bill

    I know we’ve had this exact conversation before. Agreed that the JSBE is very high on the list. When it comes to lesbian vampires and squirrels smoking crack, there are no losers.

  • xian

    Limp Bizket may have a better claim to knowing “what it’s like to be hated” than Townsend ever did.

    • Bill

      A fair point. I have never actually heard the LB version and I refuse to look it up on principle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *