Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Growing Boy Needs His Force

[5/6/06: It has been brought to my attention that the infamous penis/vagina landscape I talk about in the following experiment was actually a poster that came with "Frankenchrist." At no time was it ever the cover of the record. I guess the shriners were always on there. Some Dead Kennedys fan I am! Go ahead and disregard every instance where I refer to the penises and vaginas as the cover, and also the part where I say it was replaced with the picture of the shriners.]



Star Wars (1995 "Faces" VHS).


Frankenchrist, perhaps the best album title of all-time. This was the DK's third full-length record, and their most controversial. The original cover had a bunch of gray penises penetrating gray vaginas; some nutty parent saw that in their kid's record collection, flipped out, and decided to sue the band for distributing harmful matter to minors. The court case that followed was a pretty big deal (Gene Simmons tried to buy the film rights to it). When the dust settled, the court ruled in the DK's favor. The music on the record? Not as incredible as the cover, if you ask me.


- The explosion that convinces C-3PO to get into the escape pod coincides with the start of the drums in "This Could Be Anywhere."

- The lyric "kids at school takin' sides" in "This Could Be Anywhere" is heard as the droids start arguing about which way to go on Tatooine.

- The line "lots of exotic deformed babies" in "A Growing Boy Needs His Lunch" coincides with a shot of Gonk and the various other incomplete robots that surround him inside the sandcrawler.

- The line "we're going down to the chicken farm" in "Chicken Farm" is heard as the droids start walking toward the Lars homestead (which is also a moisture farm).

- The end of "At My Job" coincides with Admiral Motti recovering from Vader's Force choke; the evil laughter in the song sounds like Vader himself, laughing at the Imperial stooge's idiocy.

- Jello sings, "see homeless people passed out on the lawn" in "Stars and Stripes of Corruption" as Luke spies his dead relatives (who are "passed out" roughly where the lawn would be if they didn't live on a desert planet).


Not exactly gangbusters, but some interesting stuff.

By the way, the photo the Dead Kennedys replaced the penis/vagina thing with on later pressings of Frankenchrist? They got in trouble for that, too. It was a picture of some shriners riding around in their little cars from Newsweek. One of the shriners found out about it and objected. He filed suit against the band, I think, but the photographer who snapped the photo held the copyright and had authorized it for use as the record's new cover.

Defeated, Ol' Shriner McGhee withdrew from society. He was shamed by the fact his face was on a record by one of those "new-fangled rock groups," and he was hardly ever seen at the lodge or bingo thereafter. Some say he died staring at the very record that was his albatross, muttering obscenities with tears in his eyes.

You think the DKs would have learned their lesson about putting private citizens on their records after all the hassles they had with Fresh Fruit. On the back of that record, they originally slapped a photo of some cheesy 1960s lounge band with the DK logo superimposed on the kick drum. The lounge band found out about it and complained to the Kennedys, who tried to meet them halfway; they excised the band member's heads from the photo on the next pressing. That wasn't good enough for the loungers, so the fellas scrapped the picture entirely and replaced it with a nice photo of four old ladies sitting around having tea (who, apparently, never found out their likenesses were featured on a punk rock record).

Take note, future bands of tomorrow: avoid possible legal entanglements by leaving shriners, lounge acts, and genitalia off your record sleeves. Instead, why not use drawings of puppies? That will please everyone (unless you call your records Puppy Destroyer and Build More Pounds).


Blogger reno said...

Hello !

Nice blog !



5:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the penis thing that you said was the album art
was actully a poster included with the album
i think thats even better
i love this blog
my favorite by far

12:36 PM  
Blogger james said...

Glad you like it, guys!

5:44 AM  

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