Like a lot of my cohorts in college radio, I saw music as serious stuff. I adamantly clung to the notion that the songs we played on our end of the dial were revolutionary, transformative, and deeply important as compared to the frivolous nonsense all the other stations were playing. Even when one of our favored artists indulged in comparative silliness about, say, mass transit smooching, we knew deep down that it really represented a deep expression of existential agony. Bubble gum fun was for the helpless sheep, lulled into complacency by the repetitiveness of Top 40 radio and MTV.
Even so, I couldn’t wholly resist a punchy band that didn’t set aside a sense of humor when they strapped on their guitars. In addition to the band I’ve written about to near exhaustion in various digital pages, I regularly interrupted the stern but tuneful lectures of my playlists with the sonic handiwork of the Berkeley band that served as the main creative outlet for “Dr. Frank” Portman: The Mr. T Experience.
Within my first year or so at the campus radio station, an EP with the deliberately devilish title Big Black Bugs Bleed Blue Blood landed in the new music rotation. It boasted a tremendous cover of the Sesame Street standard “Up and Down.” Realistically, that was already enough to win my long-term devotion, but the Mr. T Experience only strengthened that admiration with the title to the full-length that followed a few months later: Making Things with Light, which, of course referenced the slogan of one of the iconic toys of the nineteen-seventies.
The whole album was great, served as a spiked tonic in the midst of any radio show. Or maybe even at the end, where a song like “So Long, Sucker” was ideally placed. This wasn’t the sort of record deployed to prove a point. I wasn’t going to get into late night, beer-soaked conversations about what each song meant, like really meant. Dang, it was fun, though.
Listen or download –> The Mr. T Experience, “So Long, Sucker”
(Disclaimer: The Mr. T Experience has been around for a long time and put out a lot of records, as recently as last year. I can’t claim I’ve heard everything, but I can say that everything I’ve heard is raucously entertaining. So I share this track not to prevent others from spending money on the band’s music, but indeed to encourage them to do so, preferably at a favorite local, independently-owned record store. Even though I mean no harm, I do know the rules, and I will gladly and promptly remove this file from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)