December 23, 2017

Munsters Theme

My buddy Will found this on a VHS tape (all it had on it was two MTX songs from this same performance and the Quincy punk episode.) If it's not obvious, the method of transfer was his taking a cell phone video of the TV. This had to be 1985 or 1986, probably before Everyone's Entitled... was recorded, and it's the only document that I've seen of our Munsters theme cover, which we used to play in all our sets in the beginning. No idea where this is from, but it kind of looks like a campus room of some kind.

This "move," mining your childhood for bits of pop and trash culture to recapitulate semi-ironically, is something we used to do all the time and it has had a long history in punk rock and alterna-culture generally. You know the kind of thing I mean: you take a Brady Bunch song, or a song from or about the Partridge Family, feed it through your own machine and make it your own. (Well, "your own," except that, everyone else is doing that too.) I probably learned it from the Dickies. I can tell you that for 13 year old me there was nothing in the world more amazing, more brilliant, more perfect, more meaningful, or more transcendent, than the bare fact of the existence of a recording of a punk band playing the Banana Splits theme. (I've kind of, you know, gotten used to the idea by now.)

But what I was thinking was, what's the contemporary equivalent? I doubt very many people under 35 are familiar with the Munsters or the Banana Splits, and like so much of what amused us to death back then it's completely incomprehensible to them now: but they must be aware of SOMETHING. What stuff from twenty years ago do "the kids" mine for semi-ironic thrills in 2017? i.e., what would the 2017 version of the 1985 Mr T Experience present a warped re-capitulation of from the year 1997 that would be suited to this use? Well, the answer is, there isn't one, so: nothing. Rock and roll as "the now sound" is gone, for good, probably. But if there were? Some video game thing I'd expect. Is there still "trash culture," and if so what is it?

Posted by Dr. Frank at December 23, 2017 12:21 AM