Big Big Yeah

Release Date: 3/99

Album: THE SCAPEGOAT FACTORY

Writer: ADAM MARSLAND

Audio:

Video:

 

Lyrics:

Welcome to the reception

I think we all know why we came

No getting around it

I think the band is really lame

 

Trying to grab some free hors d'ouevres

This guyís getting on my nerves, he says

They're the next thing, you can bet it

Though about slipping out

Why is everyone flipping out?

I don't get it

 

'Cos they're a big big yeah

They're a big big yeah

They're a big big yeah

They're a big big yeah

 

Wanna give 'em a second chance

But I canít believe my ears

Such a strange dichotomy

'Twixt what I've heard and what I hear

 

I read it in a magazine

They're supposed to be a cross between

Bob Dylan and Mahandas Gandhi

Wanna grab that writer bloke

Ask him was this an inside joke

That was on me

 

Read about a ruler

Who ran naked in the yard

Who was his PR man?

Who is his A & R man?

Who will tell us he is cool and avant garde?

 

Their own record company

Talked all the way through their set

They won't remember the music

But they'll remember who they met

 

They're on tour now, so go see 'em

$15 a day per diem

And no one knows or cares that they got signed

Theyíll go home broke and pooped

All their royalties unrecouped

And their label's got a brand new find

 

Welcome to the reception

I think we all know why we're here

The lead singer's so beautiful...

Do you think he's queer?

'Cos he's a big big yeah...

©1998 Adam Marsland (BMI)

Musicians:

Adam - vocals, guitars, Farfisa organ
Robbie Rist - vocals, bass
Kurt Medlin - drums

Adam sez:

Living in Los Angeles and having been at the epicenter of the music scene here, I was really disgusted with the music "biz" by early '99, even before the Big Deal bankruptcy debacle. It was just so transparently about anything but music, and many of the movers and shakers were people who functioned on a very shallow, political level. There's not much to say about this track except that it's a satire on how things worked at that time. I'm not sure how much the song applies now, with downloading and the industry's refusal to come to terms with its own customers having decimated the music industry. A lot of this is to the good -- I'm delighted to see major labels hoisted by their own collective petards -- though it's unfortunate that it's now that much harder for independent artists, if not to get heard, then at least to make any money to keep going. This song became a staple in the solo acoustic touring days and also appeared on the 232 DAYS ON THE ROAD album.

I really also felt there was a lot of "emperor's new clothes" going on with regard to the buzz bands at the time. You can put this down to jealousy if you like, but I kept going to see bands that were supposedly the next big thing and they were frequently atonal, incompetent, and/or drug addled and everyone was walking around thinking they were the bee's knees. I had a sense that in a year a lot of these bands would be totally forgotten and disavowed and by and large that's how it worked out. In the mid '90s it was a standing joke that if your singer had a heroin addiction, you would get signed...and you can imagine how well things went once the deal was inked and the band had to record and tour. Meanwhile, I had friends in bands that I felt had truly lasting qualities and who worked very hard who were generally passed over by labels. Image considerations aside, the business logic of this totally escaped me.

The irony of all this is (looking back from the hindsight of 2015) the song now is an absolute anachronism, and the satirical aspect of it is pointless and almost quaint because the culture it describes for the most part no longer exists. Record companies are shells of their former selves and these kind of parties are a memory of a more bloated era. I can say I was foresighted enough to see it coming and go DIY well before it was fashionable. I can't say I was foresighted enough to realize this song would become totally outdated and unnecessary in such a short period of time.

The awesome sky-high lead vocal in the middle is Robbie Rist, who also played bass on much of the album -- he stepped in to the band for about six months when Rob Cassell left and did a fantastic job before turning over the reins to Robert Ramos. Robbie also loaned me the farfisa organ I played on this track. Half the notes on it were out of key, so I wound up having to mark them all with a magic marker and come up with a part that avoided the bad notes.

In the continuing saga of my linguistic misadventures, I once dated a young Indian woman and she gave me all kind of grief about my improper pronunciation of "Mahandas". She had a real problem with this song.

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