“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.

“Big Lizard” by The Dead Milkmen

This is basically the title track to an amazing album Big Lizard in My Backyard. Of course it contains their big hit “Bitchin’ Camero”. I also love “Swordfish”, “Right Wing Pigeons”, & “Nutrition”. It’s a blast to just listen to the album straight through.

The story behind the song reminds me of Little Shop of Horrors. Rather than a plant that grows too large and gets out of control, it’s a big lizard.

Back in the early 90s my best friend had the album on cassette. I have it on CD now but I would love to find the LP in good condition.

I got to see The Dead Milkmen perform at the Phoenix Amphitheater in Pontiac. They were great and lived up to their zany reputation.

courtesy of discogs

The image above is of the cassette release. It’s sideways or “landscape” rather than the typical “portrait” orientation.

“Jocko Homo” by Devo

It’s hard to call a song by Devo a favorite because I have like 20 of them. This one is from the very early times of the band. The music video is delightful. The sounds and music are weird. This track and many other classics can be found on the album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!.

Pretty cool animated gif right?

“My Many Smells” by the Dead Milkmen

A ridiculous number of National Days are all being observed concurrently today. Spending an hour on each of them would eat up your entire day!

Buckle up, here we go!

Internationally it’s Jazz Day.

In the USA, we’ve got National Sarcoidosis Day, National Rebuilding Day, National Raisin Day and Oatmeal Cookie Day. Plus it’s also National Military Brats Day, Kiss of Hope Day, and Bubble Tea Day. It’s even National Bugs Bunny Day as well as National Adopt a Pet Day.

It’s Honesty Day as well, so please know that this is all indeed true.

All of these Days offer great themes for me to choose from in deciding on the song of the day. But wouldn’t you know it, we are actually observing yet another National Day today. That’s right. It’s National Sense of Smell Day.

The Dead Milkmen have a lot to say about smells.

The song first appeared on their album Beelzebubba in 1988.

Recently someone posted a karaoke version of this song. Since the ability to carry a tune is completely unnecessary to perform this song, I challenge everyone reading this to record themselves singing it.

Upload it to YouTube. Send me the link in the comments! Have a smell day!

-Wacky Alex