Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One For The, Gipper

If the WGA writers strike does nothing, at least it’s given me the opportunity to clean out my DVR and catch up on my Netflix rentals. Sometimes you just have to look at the positive. I’m sorry there are a bunch of folk out of work, but hey at least I’m caught up on ER!

Anyway, I’ve been working my way through a bunch of B-movies I’ve had in my Netflix queue. See, I’ve always had a greater appreciation for the low budget stuff. Perhaps it was my early fondness of horror films, or that my dad starred in a few 70’s karate flicks and did stunts on a couple of B grade thrillers. (you can catch him going up in flames in a few scenes of Don’t Go In The House) Maybe it was living near Times Square (I was on 43rd between 5th and Broadway) and haunting the five films for a buck theatres that would affectionately be referred to as Grindhouse by hipsters who’ve never been to a film outside a multiplex. Whatever the reason, I loves me some b-z movies.

That’s why I was so excited when The Tripper appeared in my mailbox.
What’s that? A slasher pic where the killer wears a Reagan mask and kills faux hippies at a music festival? Sign me up!!!

If the premise isn't sweet enough, the movie is written and directed by David Arquette. That’s right Deputy Dewey from the Scream movies. If that’s not enough to pull you in the film features Jason Mewes, (Jay of Jay and Silent Bob) Jaime King, (Goldie from Sin City) Thomas Jane, (The Punisher) Paul Reubens, (Pee Wee frickin’ Herman) Courtney Cox Arquette, Lukas Haas, and Ric Overton. If you’re still not sold Fishbone makes an appearance.

Now let me set the record straight. The film isn’t much more than I described above. It never fails that when someone attempts to make B movie, midnight movie, or a cult film and they don’t have the last name Tarantino, they usually fail miserably and this movie is really no exception. The story is almost nonexistent. The acting is a little clunky. The gore is funnier than it is shocking. The music festival setting is unbelievable. I hated every character because, well, they were hippies. Not flower children, but hippies and contemporary hippie to boot. If it’s 2008 and you’ve got nothing better to do than follow around your favorite jam band and smoke pot and drop acid all day then you should be summarily dispatched by a guy in a Reagan mask. Heck that guy may even be me!

So why am I writing about it? Take a look at the scene below, listen to the scene below. In what may actually be one of the more surreal moments of my life, I’m sitting on the couch watching a guy in a Reagan mask get mediaeval on a drum circle and who’s drums do I hear?...........mine.

This big slaughter scene takes place over the song Reagan Youth by the band Reagan Youth of which I was a founding member. There has been some question as to who actually played the drums on this track. I’m not credited, yet it sounds uncannily like my playing even down to the same mistakes I make to this day. Other musicians have told me they remastered the original demo and sped it up a little to avoid having to rerecord for the first albums release and I believe them. Heck, if you heard my drums today, I still tune down just as the drums on this track are. People familiar with my playing think it’s me, especially when played against other tracks off the same album (different tuning, different style). Of course none of this really matters. Did Andy (the original bassist R.I.P) and I get cheated on mechanicals and publishing? Sure we did. At one point Reagan Youth did a self copyright with all our names on it and we were considered equals in the writing process. Let’s face it, in a group of four 15-16 year olds it would be ludicrous to believe that the guitarist and singer wrote every part for every song and were solely responsible for the sound of the group. It’s probably why only a handful of songs were written after Andy and I were gone even though the group continued for several years. I’ve been contacted about lawsuits, but really, when I see a 16 year old kid wearing a Reagan Youth pin or t-shirt, it’s all worth it.

What makes it even more ironic is that my stage name in RY was Charlie Tripper, a moniker I picked up in junior high, and not from drugs surprisingly enough. Remember that dad I mentioned, the stuntman? I used to pratfall all over the place after my dad taught me how. I could throw myself down a flight of stairs, stand up and take a bow if I felt like it, and I often did.

Most of the kids knew me as Tripper.

Having the song in a horror flick was just icing on the cake. The RY song USA for Anarchy was originally written by me except it was called mangled bodies at the time and was about horror films which I loved. I was trying to write a song that sounded like the Plasmatics since I loved the drums. Dave (R.I.P) changed the lyrics when he decided we would be named Reagan Youth and do political punk instead of Pus as we were originally called when we did songs about jewish American princesses and necropheliacs. Dave didn’t like my lyrics since he considered slasher pics to be stupid. Of course I don’t have a co-writing credit for USA either.

I replayed the scene with commentary, and it was a bit strange to hear Deputy Dewey saying how hard it was to get the rights for the song since most of the band is dead and having the Punisher and Pee Wee chiming in with that’s a shame and similar platitudes.

So was The Tripper a good movie? No, but it was fun in spite of it’s shortcomings. If nothing else The Tripper made my day. After all how wrong can you go with a slasher in a Reagan Mask?

I think it bears noting that this is David Arquettes 2nd film with a Reagan Youth song, the first was Airheads.

1 comment:

Another Limited Rebellion said...

Damn, that is a crazy surprise. And yes, it's totally your drumming.