JUNE MIX by Ben Loory
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I like the Melvins, and so should you. So here are some of their songs. I’m no good at writing about music, though, so I just jotted down some things I remember from different grades in school.
1. “Night Goat” from Houdini
In first grade I was fascinated by the stapler. I always wanted to staple things. But the teacher kept it in a drawer in her desk and she never let me use it.
2. “Let Me Roll It” from Freak Puke
In second grade the teacher threatened to wash out some kid’s mouth with soap and I raised my hand and told her that she wasn’t legally allowed to do that and she looked at me and said “So what.”
3. “Black Santa” from The Bootlicker
Third grade… I got a C in Penmanship. And, I gotta say, it was well-deserved.
This is like the best song ever recorded. I don’t really remember much about fourth grade except that the teacher read us James and the Giant Peach. Which is almost as good as Danny, the Champion of the World! Though not quite. (But hey, what is.)
5. “Shevil” from Stoner Witch
Fifth grade… I learned how to do the Rubik’s Cube by memorizing a book, like a fucking robot.
6. “It’s Shoved” from Bullhead
I had to give a class report on Egyptian Gods and after I was done and sat down the teacher stood up and said, “Of course now we all know that there is only one God.”
7. “Youth of America” from Melvins EP
I taped every AC/DC album off of Rob Esposito. Also my family finally got a TV so I watched a lot of “Three’s Company.” (This is a Wipers cover; it’s really good when the Melvins do it live. You should probably go see them.)
8. “Isabella” from King Buzzo
In eighth grade I was very unhappy and prayed to be dead a lot. (It didn’t work.) I mostly like this song because I used to have a parrot named Isabella, but still, the drums are pretty cool.
9. “The Smiling Cobra” from Nude With Boots
In ninth grade I discovered chocolate donuts and ate them every day for lunch. Don’t ask me how I didn’t know about chocolate donuts before. We’re all blind to the things we don’t see.
10. “Up The Dumper” from The Bootlicker
It’s a love song! You should email it to your girlfriend. Oh, and in tenth grade… in tenth grade… I have no idea. I saw the Melvins play this song live one time in San Diego and afterward I walked outside and a plane flew overhead. But, like, really LOW overhead. Like it seemed like I could reach up and touch it if I wanted. Pretty exciting story, huh? I’ll tell you it again sometime.
11. “Roadbull” from Stoner Witch
Junior year I asked this girl to the prom and she said yes and then the next day she called me up and told me she’d rather go alone.
12. “My Generation” from The Bride Screamed Murder
Senior year… I played so much tennis my elbow turned black and I couldn’t move it for two weeks. This despite the fact that I never won a single tennis match in my life. Also I listened to a lot of Slayer. (South of Heaven, mostly.)
13. “Foaming” from Hostile Ambient Takeover
College… I ate a lot of pizza. I took a class called Hitchcock/Renoir/Godard and read The Canterbury Tales and ate toast in my room late at night and had a Mad Max poster on the wall. Right before Christmas break my room caught on fire and the fire trucks came screaming across the freshman yard and sprayed water all over everything I owned. It was pretty amazing, actually.
14. “Black Betty” from Everybody Loves Sausages
Nothing caught on fire, but I did bowl the best game of my life — a 239! In San Jose.
15. “Lovely Butterfly” from Honky
I discovered gin.
16. “Leeech” from Gluey Porch Treatments
Yes, three E’s in “Leeech.” I guess because the leech has drunk so much blood the middle part of it has expanded. (Sorta like me with the gin at that point… never went by “Been” though.)
17. “Ramblin’ Man” from The Crybaby
Well I guess two years of film school get condensed into one entry, which is fine: I wrote some screenplays (don’t ask me what they were about) and watched Enter the Dragon about 850 times. But what the hell — I just realized I forgot Kindergarten! And nursery school — where I got bitten on the nose by the guinea pig during naptime! But now I guess it’s too late. By the way that’s Hank Williams III doing the vocals on this track. And, also, that’s the last track. Though not for any particular reason.
So yeah. There’s the playlist. Melvins fans will no doubt be scandalized by the absence of “Boris,” which is probably their most famous song. Personally, I’m more pissed about the lack of “The Bit,” which is for some reason not available on Spotify. So, to make up for it, here’s the entirety of Stag from YouTube (“The Bit” is the very first track):
And while I’m sitting here linking from YouTube, here are the Melvins live in concert. Be sure to watch the whole thing! There may be a quiz on it later.
— Ben Loory’s fables and tales have appeared in The New Yorker, on NPR’s This American Life, and live at Selected Shorts. His book Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day (Penguin, 2011) was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program. He lives in Los Angeles, California.