Once upon a time the Dead Kennedys (With Jello Biafra) made a song titled “California Uber Allis.” It was quite campy, with the subject being “Moonbeam Brown, Dictator” and was treated as a joke. Next release (an E.P.) had “We’ve Got a Bigger Problem Now,” A remake that was Epic in many ways, longer (4 1/2 minutes long), more dynamic (soft and loud sections), and more serious (Ronnie Reagan Was A Real Issue). Probably one of the best remakes of a song ever done by the same band/person, up there with “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” by Neil Sadaka.
So, evidently not afraid to go back to the rewrite well again, the members of the Dead Kennedys who won the right to use (more than one meaning intended here) the name through a lawsuit came out with a different version of “MTV Get Off The Air,” entitiled “MP3 Get Off The Web.”
(Now understand, this was an impossibly hard listen. Between what the title promises and twenty-five plus years of memories both good and bad, there’s a cachet that “MTV Get Off The Air” has that the other has to live up to.)
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First, the introduction. Now Ron “Skip” Greer is right that MTV is hardly into music anymore, but he then does downhill quick when he starts pointing at the audience and blames them for the tragedy of getting iced milk instead of a Gelato. A Gelato?
Ron then goes into a spiel that rips into people who do Social Media. And as he goes on, his voice gets as ugly as Jello Biafra’s in Goons of Hazzard (which comes too close to glorifying the goons he’s trying to lampoon, in my opinion).
And we just finished the first part of that song. Thankfully the thrashy second part was totally undecipherable outside of the “MP3 Got off the MP3 Got off the MP3 Got off the web” chorus.
Then we get to the third section – the part with the trumpet player has a star turn – and the parts where we can see them straying from the original rant sounds lame in comparison to the original rant. And The RIAA? Never mind that last bit being a bit too long…
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Now I understand what was intended: A message for the audience to buy CDs so the band gets their money. However, there has to be a better way to get that message across.
The fact is, the singer here sounds like a spoiled brat. Ice Milk instead of Gelato? One thing the “Dead Kennedys” (The present band that got their name via a judicial ruling, not the original) need to understand is that people who go to the shows may not buy their music, but they’re showing up at their gigs…and are probably buying stuff. Last time I showed up at a gig I bought a CD AND a T-shirt…and contemplating buying a second one. That gets a band more $$ than buying a CD from Amazon.com, or a record store.
And trust me, the RIAA wants everyone to buy every PLAY, not just every song. They’d rather every house had a jukebox in which people had to put in $$$ every time they wanted to play a song.
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A sour feeling all throughout the song. And I’ll bet that if I find the lyrics, I’ll feel sourer still.