Monday, March 8, 2010

Screeching Weasel vs. Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm

Now what am I rambling on about THIS time? What could I possibly be doing pairing a loud, fast, hormone-enraged skate punk band with two adorable, iconic cartoon babies? Well, let me tell you.

So here I am, watching Boomerang late at night, and The Flintstones come on. I hadn't seen the episode before, because I'm not a terribly avid Flintstones fan (although I know a thing or two), nor an avid television watcher. I prefer watching DVDs late at night, because then I can watch whatever I want. But my point is that I discovered this completely by accident.

At first the episode disgusted me with its horrid, outdated, and narrow-minded views on rock 'n' roll. I was willing to accept the laughably out-of-touch quality of "The Bedrock Twitch" and the terribly unflattering caricature of The Beatles that shows no understanding of their music whatsoever. But when Fred AND Barney, the latter normally being a much more liberal-minded fellow, started ranting about stuff like "TEENAGERS ARE EVIL AND ARE TAKING OVER THE WORLD" and "THIS MUSIC IS AWFUL AND MADE BY TALENTLESS HACKS" and "ME WANT BIG SPORTS GAME"- which has been proven embarrassingly wrong a million times over in the past forty-plus years- I almost wanted to cry.

Things started looking a little better when I realized that this was an episode described in one of my favorite books: The Rocklopedia Fakebandica, which is all about one of my favorite subjects- namely, fictional rock groups. I looked forward to whatever dopey song the two toddlers got to sing. Here's the song:

So we've got this cutesy Christian folk pop song sung by cartoon babies, right? I thought it was a little odd that any religious message at all would show up on The Flintstones, but that wasn't what got my attention.

What it was was that I already recognized the chorus from another song.

This is a song by the pop punk band called Screeching Weasel, about thirty years later. I had become interested in them because they had the word "Weasel" in their name, and I had discovered them when I was looking for any cartoon weasels other than the ones made by Disney, like the Toon Patrol of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? fame. Also, I had been wanting to gain a greater understanding of punk music. I was immediately hooked by their incredibly catchy hooks and strangely heartwarming lyrical themes, although I was annoyed that they insisted on using swear words, seemingly leaning towards the political right, and claiming that they hated Led Zeppelin even though they wouldn't exist without them. That, and The Ramones had at least some respect for them (I think...).

Yes, the chorus is almost exactly the same. That's just completely messed up, right? A song by one of the few punk bands I've seen that are considered a "real punk" band (whatever that means), who spew out the f-word on a regular basis and obviously stick to the tough-guy punk image and probably sing about masturbation, ripping off such a gosh-darned cute Christian pop tune sung by CARTOON BABIES??!!

I don't know about you, but my mind is completely blown.

It's obviously not a straight cover of the Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm song (although the song predates them, apparently), because the verse is completely different, there's no Christian message, and the words to the chorus are slightly different.

This can't possibly be a coincidence. The song credits say that most of the songs on Screeching Weasel's first album were written by Ben Weasel. Could Screeching Weasel have ripped off the song? I don't see why they would have, unless they were desperate for inspiration and figured that no one would notice. MY theory is that they watched the episode at some point in their lives, probably during childhood, and so the melody and words came to him, drifting out of his subconscious and not knowing where it came from.

I can't say for sure what the roots of the song are, but it's grounds for a copyright infringement lawsuit. Do I dare reveal this to the world? I would hate to be the little troublemaker that gets Screeching Weasel sued.

Perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised, since a lot of punk bands are obsessed with pop culture, and first wave punk as a whole is rooted in bubblegum music. Glam rock took inspiration from bubblegum, right? And first wave punk took inspiration from glam rock, right? And there are plenty of punk-ish bands who relish in a cutesy image, like Cub. Is it really so much of stretch that Screeching Weasel could take inspiration from a Flintstones episode? Or am I giving too much credit to a band who formed after attending a Ramones concert?

It's just that I doubt there's much crossover between Screeching Weasel fans and Flintstones fans. This is what I get for being such an enormous dork...

~Typhlosion/Fatal hilarity

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