“Love Rollercoaster” by Red Hot Chili Peppers As seen in Beavis & Butthead Do America

The Peppers are releasing their second album this year with returning guitarist John Frusciante. Beavis & Butthead are back with a recent movie and new episodes on Paramount Plus. Both of these GenX favorites are hot again. I love it!

Fans will remember that the movie Beavis & Butthead Do America features a song performed The Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was 1996 and Dave Navarro was the lead guitarist in the band.

In the film, the boys find themselves at a Las Vegas casino dancing to the music of a cover band. The band is dressed in look-alike blue suits. They look nothing like Red Hot Chili Peppers.

It cracks me up that The Peppers played a cover band in the movie. They could have just covered any RHCP hit but it’s a lot funnier having the band play a cover as a cover band. RHCP also made an animated video for it, but it’s just not as entertaining as the scene from the movie.

Decades before Beavis and Butthead were seen dancing to this song as performed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1996, it first made famous by The Ohio Players in the 1970s. Here is footage of them playing live-to-tape on Midnight Special as introduced by Wolfman Jack.

The RHCP version was released in North America and Spain as a CD single that also functioned as a promo for FM radio. It included three mixes of the song. Today it’s a collector’s item.

courtesy of discogs

The song was released as a single on cassette as well as CD in the UK. The UK release was different than the North American one. The UK version featured only one mix of the song but also included Engleberth Humerdinck’s version of “Lesbian Seagull”.

Believe it or not, “Lesbian Seagull” was not written for the movie. The song was first released in 1979 by an obscure folk singer called Tom Wilson on his album Gay Name Game. That makes it a cover version also.

courtesy of discogs

If you want to jam out to the album version, here you go!

“Viva Las Vegas” by Dead Kennedys – First Made Famous by Elvis Presley

Las Vegas, Nevada is facing a water crisis. Things are not looking good. I think this shows that efforts to terraform other planets in the future may prove successful at first but ultimately fail.

The song “Viva Las Vegas” was written by Doc Pomus & ‎Mort Shuman for Elvis Presley to record as well as for the Movie of the same name featuring Elvis.

In the early days of Punk Rock, a lot of bands actually did cover versions of pop and rock songs from prior decades. They would dare to “punk-up” a song almost as a gag. Sometimes they were just out to piss on the concept of pop music itself.

The problem is that most of these cover versions never made it to release. The band may play the song live but it never appeared on an album or 7 inch record. The reason was because of the licensing fees required to keep it legal. These fees were partly due up-front. This made it a risky investment for a working class band to afford.

We got lucky with Dead Kennedys. They included “Viva Las Vegas” on their 1980 debut LP, Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables.

The song had been a part of their live set almost since the band’s inception. Their version strips the musical arrangement down and uses a slightly faster tempo, yet maintains the song’s melodic structure. It features satirical lyric changes by Jello Biafra, the lead singer at the time. It was later featured in Terry Gilliam’s film adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

The band exists today but without Jello. There is bad blood there. A new remaster of the album was just released. The problem here is that Biafra was not consulted and he has been vocal about his dissatisfaction with the results.

I have listened to the new mixes and I concur totally. Stick to the OG mixes. Good luck to Las Vegas with that predicable global warming water crisis thing. I hope that all rich people in charge are properly compensated for their losses when they file with the IRS.

“Major Tom (Coming Home)” by William Shatner

The unofficial “part two” of The Major Tom Saga, this song was written and first made popular by Peter Shilling in 1983. You may have heard the 2009 version by Shiny Toy Guns. Shatner released this version in 2011 as part of his Seaking Major Tom album, which also features of cover of the original “Space Oddity”, by David Bowie.

Since then Bill Shatner has actually taken a rocket to space and then returned to the planet surface safely. Of all the artists to cover this song, Shatner is the only one to actually live it out both on screen and in real life. Bill IS Major Tom.

The photo above is a still frame from Star Trek The Original Series.

-Wacky Alex