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Drift Away

Dobie Gray

Drift Away


Nearly a full two decades before an erstwhile (and now again) Darius Rucker decided not to tie his Timberland boots, proto-Hootie Dobie Gray came up with a full-voiced good-timey chorus and not much else, and conquered MOR radio.

Playing now at a Safeway near you, “Drift Away” politely announces itself with something that sounds like a generic ringtone, followed by some dead space in which one would assume is contained the first verse of the song.  There likely are words to this verse, too, but whatever they are is anyone’s guess.  In fact, the lyrics to the verses of “Drift Away” could likely be lost to history.  But no matter, because soon enough here comes Dobie, calling on his “boys” to give him “the beat”, because of course he wants to get lost in their rock & roll and . . . yeah.  Whoops — I guess the boys didn’t hear him.  Hey boys — give Dobie the beat and free his soul already, so he’ll shut the hell up.

At this point you may be saying to yourself, “Who in the hell is Dobie Gray??”  Nobody seems to know.  After releasing his opus on the pre-Mayer masses, he was never heard from again.

As each repetition of the wordy exhortation gets lost and drifts a-waaayyyy, it’s followed by a sort of pregnant pause, which suggests nothing more than an aspiring Dobie/Hootie, sitting on a bean bag chair someplace trying to come up with the rest of the song and drawing the proverbial blank.  But after three minutes and change of such fruitless attempts, the whole extravaganza does, mercifully, drift away.



Ever seen a 60-year-old man crowd-surf?  Well, I have.  Last night.  Wait…I figure he’s gotta be at least 50…let me check Google.

Back.  OK, he’s 53.  But Eric Reed Boucher a.k.a. Jello Biafra showed a bunch of largely puzzled kids at the Boardwalk in Orangevale Wednesday night that, while resembling someone who just finished nine holes at the local muni, he can still get up there and flagellate quasi-political-revolutionary shtick that blew by barriers of credulity thirty years ago, and now seems quaint amidst a landscape of pugnacious thugs like Bill O’Reilly and Nancy Grace.

Purple-haired, mascara-smeared kids — who likely weren’t even born yet when the Dead Kennedys broke up — perhaps were expecting someone a bit more iconoclastic to represent the “DK” patches they proudly sported on the backs of their ripped jean jackets.  They gamely attempted to look interested as Jello stopped in between songs to yell about Dianne Feinstein.  I asked the guy next to me, “Do you know who Dianne Feinstein is?”  He shook his head.

“Holiday in Cambodia”?  Try “Holiday When You Find One Person Here Who Can Find Cambodia On A Map”.  No, he’s actually saying “Pol Pot”, not “Grow Pot”.  See, Pol Pot was…never mind.

Interestingly, when Biafra and backing band the Melvins (uber-professional bog-rock boilermakers who frankly ought to know better) came on for an encore nobody seemed to want, the guy removed his shirt (!) to reveal a physique which resembled a landslide while launching into a tirade to introduce “Rock & Roll McDonald’s”, which is about how fast food is bad for you and makes money for big corporations.  “A BIG MAC HAS 26 GRAMS OF FAT!  A QUARTER-POUNDER — 28 GRAMS!!”

I was sure to hit the drive-thru on the way home.  I got a #2 combo, large.  Apparently they don’t do “Super Size” anymore.

The Douche Song

Manfred Mann (“…and The Earth Band”?)

The Best of Manfred Mann


The ’60s popsters who gave us “Doo-Wah-Diddy” somehow morphed into the bloviating outfit responsible for this unrepentant classic rock radio staple.

YES, we KNOW the lyrics are NOT, “…wrapped up like a DOUCHE, another boner inna night”, but . . . well, yeah they are, for god’s sake.  Listen to Manfred hork (“horking” is like “yarling”, but more esophageal) the line over and over and OVER again and then seriously try to convince yourself that he’s anything other than wrapped up like a douche, another boner in the night.  You can’t.

FUN FACT:  The Douche Song was actually written by one Mr. Bruce Springsteen.  No, seriously.  While obviously too embarrassing for The Boss to have his name closely associated with it, hallmarks of his are there amidst the syllabic pummeling, like decaying boardwalk-carnival imagery — “…the calliope crashed to the ground”.  But wordy-within-an-inch-of-your-life was apparently not wordy enough for the brothers Mann, as after the first instrumental break, we hear TWO vocal tracks, singing DIFFERENT lyrics, overdubbed over one another.  You’d think, “Jeez, that would sound like a mess — like a colossal recording-engineer screwup or something”, and you’d be right.  BUT — unmistakable in the mess is Manfred with his voice torqued up into a higher register, shouting, insistent that whatever is indeed “WRAPPED UP LIKE A DOUCHE!  ANOTHER BONER INNA NIIIIGHT!”


Led Zeppelin

Physical Graffiti


The song goes on almost literally forever, except for those times when it stops entirely so that Robert Plant can go, “OOOOOOOOOHHHEEEEEEWWWW.”

No classic rock radio staple better illustrates the axiom that classic rock is neither classic, nor rock, than this monstrosity.  FUN FACT: Sometime in the ’90s, rapper Puff Daddy remade the song, which made possible a horrifying appearance on TV’s Saturday Night Live alongside a Mathers-esque Jimmy Page.  Diddy’s retread, gobbled up by rap audiences oblivious to the stupefying ubiquity of the original, showcased his mad skizzilllzz as he sampled and looped the Zep instrumental track which already sounded like it was sampled and looped, and then yelled over it.