If you have ever been in a band–and I hope my buds Steve and Gene affirm this–you are doomed to play covers.
Speaking for myself, and the Biletones, between my own catalog of originals, and that of bandmate/singer/rhythm guitarist Tom Nelson, we could easily play a two hour set of tunes we penned.
However, especially if your group does not have, shall we say, “a name,” then for the most part you have to get used to playing Little Queenie, Dead Flowers, Moondance, and a zillion other tunes that I have played way more often than I wish.
Still, it goes with the territory, as people want to hear and dance to stuff they know. We do play Tom’s Rich Girlfriend as a regular tune, and have done my own Geography Matters, as well as a couple of more Tom wrote (Bad Dreams, DUI Bars) but for the most part we have to squeeze the desire to play originals into playing more obscure covers.
That means we play a chunk of Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, and Wilco, all of which are fine by me, to go along with Queenie and the more mainstream cover ilk.
Sometimes those odd covers work (Gravity’s Gone, by Drive by Truckers) and sometimes not (Having a Party by Sam Cooke, and Borrow your Cape by Bobby Bare, Jr.).
Well, about a month ago, the song Reform School Girls, by Nick Curran and the Lowlifes appeared on the weekly practice list.
The song is a great paean to the Phil Spector sound, as well as an homage to the Bitch Groups like the Shangri-Las, and well, once we started playing it, I found myself humming it for days at a time.
Written by the very talented Curran, who sadly passed away from oral cancer in October of last year at the age of 35, Reform School Girls is as beautiful a send up to the genre as is the Tubes Don’t Touch Me There.