Dr. Demento has always been way up there on the list of people I wanted to punch. I love the silly as much as the next guy (and there’s 8 years of that in this blog’s archives), but there’s a proverbial fine line between clever and stupid, and he never seemed to know where that line was.
In the classic sense of the blind dog finding a bone, Dr. D’s latest CD of reinterpretations of punk classics is ridiculous fun, and in one fell swoop almost absolves the good doctor for inflicting Weird Al on the world.
The highlight of the CD is the tease track of William Shatner’s version of the Cramps’ “Garbageman,” and it features Dictators NYC alumnus Dean Rispler (AKA the only man in NYC rock history with hair as epic as original Cramps guitarist Bryan Gregory) on guitar.
No one who hears William Shatner sing ever comes back the same. The term “emotional scarring” comes to mind. As with most of his recordings, he Shatners all over the original tune here and is very much in on the joke. I hope to be this hip when I’m 86.
While it’s cute to hear Adam West and Fred Schneider and Joan Jett tackle other tunes on this comp, they really are mere amateurs at the feet of the master. Just as no one watches Japanese monster movies to see Mothra or Rodan, there’s no point in doing a “Golden Throats”-style CD without letting the Godzilla of song destruction have his way with ALL of the songs.
Which brings me, in a roundabout fashion, to the crux of the matter: Which Dictators song would best survive being Shatnerized? A disturbingly large piece of the catalog would translate, but these strike me as the highlights/lowlights. Let these play in your head in his voice, and then get back to me:
I Stand Tall – “Everybody should pick up a guitar. It’s the Canadian Way.”
Young, Fast, Scientific – “I took a pledge they called the Saskatoon Man.”
Disease – “I’m into nozzles and whats? That’s it. Where’s my agent? I don’t have to be here, you know. I could be doing Hamlet on the St. Lawrence!”
— Salvi C.