The Cold War was the war that just kept on giving. The space race, Yakov Smirnoff, Invasion U.S.A.; none of these would exist without the paranoia and constant fear that with the press of a button the world would be reduced to a cinder and we'd all start wearing clothes made out of used tires and spikes, driving sweet tricked-out dune buggies and fighting in a gladiator ring for the pleasure of Tina Turner.
Sadly, none of this came to pass and today we're stuck with the much less entertaining sequel, the War on Terror. All we got from this war is a deeply divided country, torture porn movies, and the possibility you'll be detained at the airport if you wear a Transformers t-shirt. Back in the 80's you could really celebrate Armageddon. These days, well, it's just kind of depressing. It's in that spirit that today we're really going to put the "Apocalypse" in the mixtape and check out some Reagan-era songs that are sure to make Michael Stipe feel fine.
Fishbone Party at Ground Zero
In mid-80's Fishbone came out of nowhere, playing a mash-up of ska, funk and rock that didn't sound like anyone else. Their live shows became the stuff of legends but they never really garnered much mainstream success and had to take a backseat while similar bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers went on to become superstars.
Party at Ground Zero to this day is Fishbone's signature song and remarkably sounds as fresh today as it did twenty years ago when it was first recorded. Even the video holds up pretty well despite being shot on videotape and having a severe deficiency in proper lighting. The world turning to "flowing pink vapor stew" never sounded like so much fun.
Bonus Fishbone fun fact: Fishbone has had a pretty distinguished film career playing "the band in the background" in a number of movies, including cult favorite 80's comedies "Back to the Beach", "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka", and "Tapeheads" and more recent films like the Outkast vehicle "Idlewild" and David Arquette's venture into horror movies "The Tripper".
The Minutemen Dream Told by Moto
The Minutemen came out of the same California funk/punk scene that spawned Fishbone. The band lived up to their name by packing five minutes worth of song into a tight minute and a half package. Songs don't come much tighter, funkier or wittier than Dream Told by Moto. Most songwriters would take three verses, a chorus and a bridge to say what D. Boone gets right to the point and says in one sentence worth of lyrics. I for one can't argue with what he says. The man has a plan and it is a good one.
|Minutemen - dream told by moto|
|Found at skreemr.com|
7 Seconds 99 Red Balloons
German singer Nena originally recorded 99 Luftballoons, imagining a nuclear war breaking out because of a trigger-happy general mistaking a mass of ballons floating over the Berlin Wall for some sort of advanced military technology. When the song became a surprise worldwide hit she rerecorded it in English as 99 Red Balloons. A few years later a scrappy young positive punk band from Reno, Nevada called 7 Seconds covered the song on their "Walk Together, Rock Together" album and an 80's punk anthem was born. The hand claps and "whoa-ohh's" and "bah-dah-dah-dums" make the song downright jubilant even as the lyrics are about the only remnant of civilization being a red balloon lying in "this dust that was a city". Where's that red button when you need it?