Friday, August 12, 2005
Half Japanese: "Hog Wild" - a lost cut?
Gordon Gordon of the WDC Period fanzine (and later Teen Fag) passed this tape to me "back in the day." This shambling, rambling cut from the band that would be King, that band so good our universe doesn't deserve them, the band that proved that you can play rock and roll and not really know what you are doing and still sound fresh and original and not be assholes about it... okokok -- I'll shut up now. It was originally to appear on the WDC Period compilation tape but that compilation never happened and for some odd reason G2 gave the tape to me. Maybe for this moment, I dunno; ha ha ... I pulled it out of my cassette pile after Gordon visited Washington last week - I hadn't seen him in like 15 years although we occasionally corresponded.
This may have appeared on another fanzine compilation - my hazy memory is unclear --- also this song is not to be confused with a similarly entitled cut on Jad Fair's solo Greater Expectations (1995) that while I haven't heard in its entirety, is nothing at all like this cut. So... if it's appeared on any other records or anywhere, drop me a line as I'm interested in both the provenance and whether the band still has it. It's surprising that it didn't show up on some of the later collections as it's a really great recording (and I'd love to hear it with higher fidelity if that's possible).
I believe this was recorded in the late '80s probably around the time of Charmed Life and Music to Strip By and I'm betting the line-up was the Charmed Life one (Jad Fair - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals; John Dreyfuss - Organ, Saxophone; David Fair - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals; Don Fleming - Guitar, Vocals; Jay Spiegel - Drums; Mark Jickling- Bass, Guitar) but I dunno fershure.
Some observations: Obviously most of the lyrics are improvised. Early in the song, Jad quotes "Tom Dooley" by the Kingston Trio which has gotta be one of the weirder associations the band ever made. At one point Jad sounds like he's mimicking Michael Jackson and that kinda makes sense - he's the low-fi Michael Jackson (80's version). He also addresses Don (Fleming) several times during the song. At one point it seems to veer into Southern Rock territory, too. The poem at the end reminds of Bob Goldtwait for some reason.
"Hog Wild" - Half Japanese (113 kbps VBR; 4.9 Mb)
Half Japanese Discography (Fansite)
Trouser Press Entry
Jad Fair's Website - where I found the photo above
Imaginary cassette art for this song