Note – Eddie hasn’t put up the 2011/12 entries on the official site yet. Here’s a link to them at a temp site.
Al and I created this cover song for ‘The Gift of Music’ – it’s a secret santa contest for other musicians, and a benefit for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation – the contestants ultimately vote on the winners, and the money goes to fund research. Win Win for everyone.
To enter, you pick 4 songs you’d like someone to cover. Any songs. They can be songs you’ve written, favorites, the most hated song you’ve ever heard… you pick. Then you’re matched up with someone else’s picks, and you need to do one of them. Pretty simple.
We ended up with Caravan Ray, who has done some fun songs over at Songfight.org and the Nur Ein competition we were in last year. His reaction to the song?
“Heh! Boffo Yux, You’ve Done A Lovely Cover. That is truly bizarre. Funny – when Bon died, I don’t remember Peter Noone being suggested as a replacement, but you have demonstrated it could have worked!”
I think we succeeded on all counts this one. Here’s the song…
Here’s our thoughts on this puppy. First up, Al:
“Jailbreak”: With the “Gift of Music” cover, we were given four choices of a song to cover and this one stood out to us as a) within our musical abilities to tackle and b) contained the best possibilities for mischief. (On a side note, we also provided someone else with four choices, and they unfortunately did not complete the challenge.
Which is too bad, because I thought we, or certainly I, provided annoying enough choices for an entertaining outcome.) Oh, sure, we had to tweak the choice in a fun way, but how? Pulling on my internal database of justifiably semi-obscure pop trends, I thought “Herman’s Hermits”, ’cause that’s just how I roll. Tom is typically a genius at isolating specific elements which sell a concept, and this was no exception. He found the method used to get that typical HH “plunky” guitar sound (answer: stuff a rag between the strings and the pickups, no joke), which I think sells the endeavor.
One trawl through the HH catalog for sonic signposts and a Dick Van Dyke-level Cockney accent later and we had it. Musically, we’re like The Professor on Gilligan’s Island: mostly what we have in our repetoire is the aural equivalent of coconuts, but we can build a pretty decent radio transmitter out of ’em. (Though, oddly, not a boat. Never a boat.)
I liked the idea of doing something odd with an AC/DC tune. It seemed subversive and devilish… but I wanted it to be cheeky, in the British sense of humor vein. How to make it ‘smart’ just not too pretentious? I also liked one UK band doing a cover of another by us yanks. So – part homage, part tweaking people, we started on the idea of using Herman’s Hermits doing a cover.
I remember seeing an interview with Peter Noone a long time ago where he explained how they got their ‘plinky’ sound for the guitar, and I knew someday I’d use it. It came in handy here.
Al ran with it, doing all the instruments including the tin whistle (Inspired!) and spoons. I just helped with a few backing vocal tracks. I’m very happy with the resulting song – I’m sure it’ll be used to torture purists for years to come.
I tried to get Peter Serafinowicz to give it a listen – thought it’d be up his humor ally, and tweeted him about it, but never got a response. If you know him, give old @serafinowicz a shout about the song and a link. I’d love his opinion. Enjoy.