Thursday, January 6, 2011
Golden Years 2: More on Musical Cannibalism
Further thinking on musical cannibalism made me think what is the shittiest type of cannibalism or musical 'reverence'. My thoughts are that there are bands that pay homage to other bands in their music but perhaps the worst form of this is when bands start quoting their own songs. A prime example is alt 90’s group Veruca Salt who had a one hit song called Seether about a girl who was a bit of a bitch (I listened to their debut album a few times recently - still great). When the Salts returned for their second album, Eight Arms to Hold You With, they went all cock rock at a time when it was unacceptable to admit that AC/DC are awesome and they copped a lot of shit for that. Years later bands were seen as revolutionary for shamelessly mining these influences but for the queasy PC police of the 90’s, it was a little much. I guess it was too close to the hair metal decade and everyone ran around yelling “TOO SOON!” Even recording an EP with Steve Albini wasn't enough to save Veruca Salt.
Anyhow, the first single from that album was called Volcano Girls. In the final verse they basically play the lick out of Seether and openly mention it with the lines:
I told you about the Seether before.
You know the one that's neither or nor.
Well here's another clue if you please,
The Seether's Louise.
Now, if you’re the Beatles (who did this in Glass Onion - Paul was the Walrus! Who knew!), I reckon it’s ok to quote yourself but when you’re a one hit wonder riding the grunge wave of the nineties, I think it’s slightly presumptuous. You might say it’s all very well for me to say that now that Veruca Salt have wilted into a shadow of their former glory but even when Volcano Girls was released in 1997 I thought, geez that’s a bit soon isn't it for that kind of malarky isn't it (for the record, I like Volcano Girls too apart from the Seether bit).
Is this the worst type of musical cannibalism? Is it worse to eat someone else's body or worse to eat your own? Some people might call it fun or cheeky but I think it's kind of lazy and tastleless. Whatever the case may be, I really need to read up on the ethics of cannibalism...
[As an interesting appendum to this story, that line about the seether being Louise was about Louise Post, who with Nina Gordon, were the musical force in the band (Nina wrote Seether). Eventually, Louise kicked Nina out of the band so I guess Seether was right about one thing: Louise was probably a bit of a bitch. Or maybe it was Nina. I guess we’ll have to wait for the reformation album with the original line up to find out...]