Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fight for Your Right (to Satire)

A few years ago, we made it to the second round of Tucson's Acoustic Battle of the Bands. To make things interesting, everybody participating was tasked with learning a new cover song ...

... from the Beastie Boys.

Beastie Boys tunes performed by sensitive folk singers are about as hilarious as you'd expect them to be. We had fun with it. Our pick was "Fight for Your Right (to Party)." We added a vocal melody (so nobody had to suffer the trauma of hearing me rap) and inserted a piano riff that kinda sorta echoed the original guitar riff but didn't sound anything like it. To make the goof complete, we played it totally straight.

What we didn't realize was that the Beastie Boys themselves didn't take the song any more seriously than we did.
... the Beasties hated the whole rocker scene, feeling it was populated by obnoxious, testosterone-laden douchebags. They wanted to poke fun at mindless party anthems like "Smoking in the Boys Room," so they cut the lyrics to "Fight for Your Right" as an in-joke before going on tour ... Thinking the song's success was hilarious, the Beasties made what they assumed was an equally ridiculous video to go along with it.

Slowly, they began to realize that the whole "parody" part was lost on most of the listening public, and the majority of their newfound fan base was now made up of the same toolbags they were making fun of.
Beastie Boys: That is awesome. I would have liked your song a whole lot more—or, you know, at all—if I'd realized it was satire.

In case you were curious, here's our heartfelt version, live from Ron the Drummer's living room.


Brian McDonald said...

Nice work. I do like mellow cover songs of upbeat songs, like Jonathan Coulton's "Baby Got Back" or Tori Amos' "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Pity the Beasties turned their back on the song. It was fun, even if it drew the "wrong crowd".

Also, I'll just leave this here:

cinderkeys said...

Heheheh. If I could attribute the pic, I'd insert it into the post.

When there isn't other music on in the background, I have to find Coulton doing "Baby Got Back."

DeppityBob said... so...perverse.