04.14.13 — “All That Jazz/Happy Death Men” as covered by The Flaming Lips

Flaming Lips way back in the day

If you only listen to one cover song tonight, make it the medley of “All That Jazz” and “Happy Death Men”, as done by The Flaming Lips (1991, from the Yeah, I Know It’s a Drag… But Wastin’ Pigs is Still Radical EP). The two songs were originally done by Echo & The Bunnymen, and were the last two tracks on their seminal Crocodiles album in 1980.

The Flaming Lips. You know who they are now. But way back in the day, way before the Santa Claus suits and the bunny rabbit outfits, way before the confetti cannons and giant hamster wheels, way before the balloons and bullhorns, they were just a hard-working blue-collar punk rawk band from Oklahoma City. Between 1986 and 1990, they released four albums on the metal/punk label Restless Records. There’s little to no common musical ground between the Lips of 1990 and the Lips of 2013. It’s always been Wayne Coyne, and while some of the members have dropped in and out of the lineup, the band’s style has changed a lot over the years. It’s the 1992-1999 stuff that I like the most, and tonight’s offering was at the very beginning of that era. The Wastin’ Pigs EP was released on Halloween Day 1991 to launch the Warner Brothers Records portion of their career. It was an effort to promote their major label debut album Hit To Death in The Future Head, which actually didn’t get released until August of 1992. That album’s first track — “Talkin’ ‘Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants to Live Forever)” — was the featured track on the Wastin Pigs EP, which was backed by “All That Jazz/Happy Death Men” and some other song.

I remember this cover medley being one of the first things that I ever played on the radio, back when I used to essentially live at WQFS between 1991 and 1994. The Bunnymen are one of my favorite all-time bands, and I absolutely love Crocodiles. I didn’t know anything about the Lips back then, and this was most likely my introduction to them.

“All That Jazz/Happy Death Men” as covered by The Flaming Lips

It’s not one of those “spot on, note for note” covers, and it’s not wildly inventive either. It’s really good in its own, slightly psychedelic way. I wish they had made the “Happy Death Men” portion of the medley longer, but I can’t complain about that too much. Nothing about this medley is as intense as the original, especially not the drumming. It would be silly to think that anyone could come close to the genius of The Bunnymen’s Pete de Freitas. At the end of the day, this medley is still well worth the time investment and the investment of 99 cents.

You can download the cover medley from the amazon shop here.

I hope that you already own at least one copy of the massively influential Echo & The Bunnymen album Crocodiles. If not, I recommend the “Expanded and Remastered” version of the album.

I also recommend the spectacular live album of the Bunnymen doing their albums Crocodiles and Heaven up Here back-to-back. Get that here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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