Friday, June 17, 2011

Song of the week: Red Zebra - Spit On The City

This one is dedicated to Gerrit, who has recently helped me to expand my musical horizon.

Here's a quick and dirty track from Red Zebra, a band formed in Bruges in 1978. Their biggest hit is "I Can't Live In A Living Room" from 1980, now considered a true punk classic.

Red Zebra.

"Spit On The City" features on Kookaburra, which was released last January. The song is a straightforward rejection of modern society, with a decisively rougher edge to the lyrics than your average Green Day track. In other words, don't play this if you can't stand the mental image of a gigantic man dropping his pants and relieving himself onto an urban area.



Lyrics:

I don't need an elevator
'Cause I'm running up the stairs
'Till I reach the top of a building
The only place where my thoughts are clear

I'm gonna spit on the city
Spit on the walls
Spit on all the blocks
and the shopping malls
Spit on the traffic
Spit on the cars
Spit on all the restaurants and bars

I don't need to watch television
To find out what's wrong with this world
I just take a look around me
The more I see, the more it hurts

I'm gonna spit on the city
Spit on the walls
Spit on all the blocks
and the shopping malls
Spit on the traffic
Spit on the cars
Spit on all the restaurants and bars

We don't need
another McDonalds
We don't need
another Starbucks
We don't need, we don't need, we don't need
another McDonalds
We don't need, we don't need, we don't need
another Starbucks

I'm gonna spit on the city
I' m gonna shit on the city
Spit, shit, spit, shit, spit, shit, spit, shit

I'm gonna spit on the city
Spit on the walls
Spit on all the blocks
And the shopping malls
Spit on the traffic
Spit on the cars
Spit on all the restaurants and bars

Let's have a ball on the ruins of the city
Let's have a ball on the ruins of the city
Let's have a ball on the ruins of the city
Let's have a ball on the ruins of the city

Let's have a ball
Let's have a ball
Let's have a ball
Let's have a ball

4 comments:

  1. Glad I could help with expanding those musical horizons :)

    Red Zebra is one of Belgium's longest lasting and most grotesquely underrated bands. These guys now still go strong but have to play on local carnivals. They deserve so much better. I sometimes doubt Belgians realise how much impact they've made across the borders : I remember when I lived in Berlin I was in a goth/punk/newwave club and "I can't live in a living room" was played. It was one of those "hey, this is Belgian!" moments ; it seems some Belgian bands get more credit abroad than they do at home as Red Zebra have released some tracks played very frequently in punk venues far beyond the borders of Belgium. These guys should not be playing local village festivities, they should be playing big concert venues and festivals. "Beirut by night" is another beauty from the same band.

    PS: "Spit on the city" has an irresistable video. That yellow face on the belt is great! :)

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  2. What a bad-ass song :)

    Reminds me of our own country, though. Overcrowded and poorly organised. Ugh, and let's not talk about the traffic! -_-

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  3. @Gerrit: first encounters with many Belgian bands have left me wondering why they're not more famous abroad. I suppose it's an indication of the vast gap that often separates domestic success from an international breakthrough.

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  4. Well, first of all, this is a tiny country. The music industry is quite small in Belgium. Like in many countries: I remember in Belfast (where I lived 2 years) several of my friends were in a band but they had to relocate to England to get a small chance of getting a record deal. It was either that or paying a demo recording with own savings. Also, there are things like Pop Idols where artificial hypes are created by jamming them down the throat of people week after week, letting them have their short career of fame until the next load of hypes is ready to take over. The really talented bands perform without a record deal in small pubs, waiting to be discovered, but seeing how the industry prefers the easy way to get profits. It is very frustrating (as a poet I can confirm it is hard to even just get an interview in a local magazine and you really have to constantly "sell" yourself... with music, which reaches a large audience but the big stars are always the ones being promoted, I can imagine for a beginning band it must be equally hard to get noticed when the record companies don't even bother to search for talent in the local music halls)

    That said, I think Belgium didn't do that bad. Arid has limited success abroad, Zornik has had a few successes abroad, Hooverphonic and dEUS are actually quite big abroad and perform and sell all over Europe, K's Choice used to be very popular both in Europe and (to limited extent) in the US before they went on hiatus, Red Zebra were quite famous abroad during the early years of punk, ... In the dance genre (not my style but still a quite popular genre) Belgium has been doing very well with Sylver, 2Fabiola, Lasgo, Milk Inc, ... Then there's bands like Ancient Rites, Breath of Life, who get limited exposure abroad but who do have a following abroad within their own style of music. Arno and previously TC Matic have gotten a lot of success in mainly France but also to limited extent in Southern Europe.

    Guess that's not such a bad record for a tiny country as Belgium.
    Oh, and let's not forget the Wallace Collection. "Daydream" was a global hit when it came out. We talk about a few decades ago but stil....

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