Ahhh, I love the smell of cowbell in the morning.

Lard 70’s Rock Must Die has more cowbell than the average human mind can comprehend and I love it, which must by my calculations make me one of the finest minds of my, or indeed any other, generation.  Easy.  Lard basically being Jello Biafra fronting the best line-up of Ministry (Jourgensen, Barker and the late Jeff Ward).  I’ve only heard snippets of their classic LP The Last Temptation of Reid, which also has one of my favourite song titles in ‘Mate, Spawn, Die’ and it is as good as you’d want it to be.  I love Psalm 69-era Ministry and I always enjoy Jello Biafra in whatever guise he turns up in, so this band could have been created especially in a lab for me.

It's a complex visual joke
It’s a complex visual joke

I spotted 70’s Rock Must Die in Probe Records in Liverpool in September 2000 one fraught lunchtime when I was looking for something funny and angry to take my mind off my crappy job at the time, a quick glance at the cover and I, and it, was sold.  You get a cool insert booklet with this 12″ with lyrics and fake Winston Smith -style collage, full of interesting titbits and horrifying quotes, faked or real.

The title track is just brilliant, a rock solid pastiche of all those rockers we grew up wanting to be and all the Sunset Strip scenesters.  I love 70’s rock and more hair metal bands than I should and I just find this record hilarious*.  The fact is, apart from the rock ‘n roll dude with the ‘Farah Fawcett hair’ baking in his leathers what Biafra really does take aim at is all the knee jerk wallowing in nostalgia that often stymies the music of the present.  He’s not slow to have a go at the punkers accepting ‘Pistols reunions pass for rebellion’.  Now this would all be very worthy and good but not remarkable if it wasn’t wrapped up in a wonderful shot at exactly that sort of music, cowbell, a slow-down-and-say-something-profound-section, a revved up bit and Biafra’s best shot at a rock falsetto is a thing of pure joy.  If you have a sense of humour then listen, if not you probably haven’t made it this far anyway.

The B-sides?  ‘Volcanus 2000 (We Wipe the World)’ is a mean, hard slice of industrial misanthropy where Jello gets to be really angry about something, probably the imbalance in world power and wealth, trash and waste, or maybe pop tarts, or squirrels – actually I’m just guessing now, it’s as unintelligible as it is angry; and it is very angry.  About something.

The last track ‘The Ballad of Marshall Ledbetter’ is a good track about his protest/hostage sitation – I’d never heard of this before.  Maybe I’m just an irresponsible armchair anarchist but more please!  Anyone whose demands include telephone calls with Timothy Leary, Ice Cube, Jello Biafra and Lemmy is clearly damn cool.  And no-one got hurt.


Can’t beat cowbell folks!

168 Down.

P.S – inspired by my friend David Orange

* you deserve the lyrics in full

I was cruisin’ in a car
Down Melrose Boulevard
When I stopped all the traffic
I was laughin’ so hard
Standin’ on the corner
Was this rock n roll dude
In leather pants thinkin’ he was cool
He had the jacket
He had the shades
Farrah Fawcett hair
Or was that a wig
Face like a turtle
Trying in vain to look stoned
You could tell he’d been practicing
At home in the mirror
He’d probably been posing like that all day
Didn’t matter that is was a hundred degrees
In the shade

Well c’mawn, well c’mawn
Seventies rock must die
Well c’mawn, well c’mawn
Seventies rock must die

Bogus bands, plastic rock stars
Stupid clothes and the worst made cars
Country rock making us all sick
While John Travolta wags his double-knit prick

Being a teen back than
Man, it was a drag
Bicentennial and no one burned the flag
You think we live in pretty desperate times
When people wanna go back to nineteen seventy five
My Saturday Night Fever fantasy
Lock the Bee Gees in a Pinto
And ram it from the rear
Burn, baby

Well c’mawn, well c’mawn
Seventies rock must die
Well c’mawn, well c’mawn
Seventies rock must die

Suck my ego, pay to play
Got nothing more to say
As we sell you a stairway to boredom

Look around at the hip people
Set in their ways
Reaching back to the things they used to say they hate
Young old brats playing fossil rock
Pistols reunions pass for rebellion

Radio and TV gettin’ to damn bland
With collegiate boy Neil Young copy bands
Underground’s becoming an alternative joke
Even Aerosmith hates all the Aerosmith clones
I know they don’t make ’em like the Son of Sam
But even punks wanna go back to seventy seven

Well c’mawn, well c’mawn
Seventies rock must die
Well c’mawn, well c’mawn
Seventies rock must die

10 thoughts on “Farrah Fawcett Hair

  1. I heart cowbell. This called to mind the science of the 1600s, as your posts often do. The term “nostalgia” first appeared in 1688 and was considered a disease. Well, a condition caused by demons, to be more precise. History, philosophy and music. A delightful combination. Thank you. 🙂

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