10,003 Maniacs

Posted On: Thursday - January 18th 2018 6:53PM MST
In Topics: 
  Music  History  Pundits  Poetic Stupidity

Time has gone by to where there are people in America, who speak English even, who have no idea that the famous singer Paul McCartney used to be in a famous rock-n-roll combo , err, band. Yes, it's true, and the band was called Wings. Peak Stupidity featured these 4 3 lads blokes and blokettes from Liverpool England on videos of "Helen Wheels" and "Junior's Farm". Anyway, this post is about a similar bunch of culture lost by most in the mists of time and marijuana fumes.

We all know about the 1960's, really the era from 1965 to the early 1970's; it was the era of the hippies, yipees, the dropouts, the freaks, pinkos (well "the pinkos you'll always have with you.", "they" say), ... that whole bunch of craziness. However, I personally did not know about until a coupla decades back, and most don't, the bunch of weirdos that existed in our land as precursors to the '60's bunch. These were the "Beatniks", composed of the Beat poets and, I would imagine, Beat musicians, Beat artists, Beat financial advisors ... well, you get the idea - lumped together they make a bunch of niks. This stuff started when WWII was still on, I was shocked to find out during research for this post (yes, I looked a few things up, as it was very interesting).

Well, back in the late 1980's, years later, Natalie Merchant and her great band,
The 10,000 Maniacs
wrote a great song played by her band called "Hey, Jack Kerouac" on the album In my Tribe, a hell of an album, BTW, which was about these Beat guys. Man, the more I read up doing my research, the more I learned that lots of these guys were real pieces of work, in the modern parlance, but then known as wild-ass nutcases. (Yes, and I think saying "Man .." to begin a sentence may have started with this Beat generation, and it's damn hard to shake, man.) It wasn't just sitting in coffee shops and talking about "the system" and standing up reciting that Beat poetry for lots of these guys. There were shootings, amphetamine-fueled cross-country road trips. homo-orgies, regular-orgies, and high-tailing it to Morocco by way of Mexico due to some of the former. It was a scene, man! To think that this was well before the 1st real hippie was out of his diapers opening up the medicine cabinet.

Let's listen to the 10,000 Maniacs while we learn about 3 more:

Jack Kerouac took to the road .. wrote ... "On the Road" ... a book using the .... oh yeah, stream of consciousness style .. can you dig?

Hey Jack Kerouac, I think of your mother
and the tears she cried, they were cried for none other
than her little boy lost in our little world that hated
and that dared to drag him down, her little boy courageous,

who chose his words from mouths of
babes got lost in the wood.
Hip flask slinging madman, steaming cafe flirts,
they all spoke through you.

Hey Jack, now for the tricky part,
when you were the brightest star who were the shadows?
Of the San Francisco beat boys you were the favorite.
Now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their blood stoned days.

You chose your words from mouths of
babes got lost in the wood.
The hip flask slinging madman, steaming cafe flirts,
in Chinatown howling at night.

He was one of the "beat boys" who seemed, at my quick reading, to be having a good time with the beat life. Everyone likes an occasional road trip.

Allen Ginsberg (right side), one of the more homosexual of this crowd, and somewhat insane like the rest of them.

Allen baby, why so jaded?
Have the boys all grown up and their beauty faded?

Well there ya' go. She wouldn't even be able to sing this now without a bunch of grief from someone or other.

William Borroughs, "Billy", possibly bi-sexual or more, shot his wife in the head down in Mexico, got checked into, or checked into insane asylums like people go to Zippie Marts for slushies... oh, yeah, forgot about the drugs and stuff.

Billy, what a saint they've made you,
just like Mary down in Mexico on All Souls' Day.

You chose your words from mouths of babes got lost in the wood.
Cool junk booting madmen, street minded girls
in Harlem howling at night.
What a tear stained shock of the world,
you've gone away without saying goodbye.

Well, as the Peak Stupidity blog has maintained over our time on the web, it's the melody and sound that beat out lyrics completely for making a great song. However, this song has all three. 10,000 Maniacs is a great band, and Natalie Merchant could really belt out those lyrics, and they were well written at that.

Great ending too! "You've gone away babe without saying... say-e-a-e-a-e-a-e-a-e-a-e-a-ing goodbye."

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