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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Q: What's wrong with you? A: Wavy Gravy

Back in the summer of 1989 (feel free to stop reading if you hate blogs posts that start this way), I worked in Yellowstone National Park, waiting tables at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone Lodge.   It was that summer that a cassette tape changed my musical taste... forever.   

Living amid a hive a college students, free time was spent drinking and smoking pot, or road-tipping to Idaho/Jackson Hole/Canada to drink and smoke pot, or occasionally hiking.  There were three guys from Minnesota (one from Bemidji, I remember b/c of his speech impediment), who had a home-recorded cassette called WAVY GRAVY.  It was only recently that I realized the title had less to do with the '60s psychedelic icon than with Cleveland DJ The Mad Daddy.  I could describe it to you note for note, but his guy's already done it, "There are, broadly speaking, two types of people in the world. Those who realise that the Wavy Gravy compilations are the greatest albums in the history of mankind; and those who suffer from unsightly genital warts. Which are you?"

I probably listened to that cassette 120 times in 120 (late) nights that summer.  Not every night, but some nights 3 times in a row.  By mid-summer, it took every fiber in our gaggle of stoners to not quote it verbatim every time we'd play it for someone new.  We were annoying college students.

I got my own copy of this precious gold, but it never rang quite as true after that summer.  A couple years later-- about the time I realized that the music I really loved was this thing called Garage Rock-- I saw The Hate Bombs at the Star Bar and their encore was "Go Go Gorilla".  It was probably pretty close to when this was taped:

I never knew my favorite track from the summer of '89 wasn't just an novelty/obscurity, but a Garage rock classic!  I've since become instantly enamored with any band who covers it.  Clearly there was no better track to use in the climactic scene of Stomp! Shout! Scream!

[For the record, the Shandells' track is actually called "Gorilla."  "Go Go Gorilla" is by the Ideals and more of a doo-wop classic.]

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