Friday, June 15, 2012

Song of the Day: Cheech and Chong, "Earache My Eye"

Nobody should buy comedy records. Yes, support your stand-ups, catch their tours and watch their specials. But how many times have you actually listened to Steve Martin's "King Tut" or Chris Rock's "No Sex in the Champagne Room?" Recreationally? The next time you put either of those on a mix CD, count how many times you laugh and how many times you skip forward to the next track.

That stated, for however thousands of Adam Sandlers, there area few Lonely Islands or Flight of the Conchords who can make a laughs record with staying power. Metal is a prime contributor to this exclusive club, most famously with Spinal Tap and more recently with Dethklok and Steel Panther. Scott Ian has at least five songs that are as funny as anything by Tenacious D. But the heaviest, catchiest comedy metal song of all time is claimed by Richard Marin and Thomas Chong.

I love "Earache My Eye." That stupidly infectious, three-chord progression is weirdly heavy, especially for 1974, when it debuted. The lyrics, credited to "Alice Bowie," detail a a cross-dressing delinquent and don't have anything to do with earaches, eyes, missing prepositions or the "plot" to Up in Smoke, where it makes its most famous appearance.

Supposedly the boys were stone cold sober while filming this, making it all the funnier that they don't even pretend to play their instruments.

Being uproarious, left-field and easy to play, "Earache My Eye" is ripe for live covers, as the Rollins Band, Rush, Soundgarden (in a medley with "Big Bottom") and Korn have testified. Against all logic and sanity, two things that this song is not known for, the best cover version is Korn's. Mainly because it features Cheech on vocals.

As comedians, Cheech and Chong proved that a good-natured, mishap-prone duo with a low budget could invent, popularize and influence a new film genre for decades. And as Alice Bowie, they rocked as hard as David and Cooper.


Anonymous said...

Does this count? Because I defs own this. Vinyl.

Ben Apatoff said...

Wow! What's it like to be cooler than cool?