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Inappropriate Sexually Explicit Lyrics......


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For any of you "Arrested Development" TV series fans, you may remember that the family, headed by the father (Jason Bateman) and Son (Michael Sera) had a little band. During one of their public performances they were singing "Afternoon Delight" by Starlight Vocal Band. About halfway through the song with the Father and Son trading off vocals, Jason Bateman came to a screeching halt and realized that he was singing about having sex with his son in the middle of the afternoon.

 

Well yesterday a more subtle scenario happened with my band at one of our performances. As we were grooving away to Morris Day's Jungle Love, our lead singer was going around the group and saying each person's name. Like

 

Lead Singer "John (Me), hows it going?"

Me "Great, just jamming away on the blues!"

 

To which he responded. "I wanna know ya!"

 

Being one of the more "Randy" members of the group and always looking for the "That's what she said moment", I realized that that may have been inappropriate.

 

At the end of the song, I leaned into the microphone and asked the lead singer and the audience .....

 

"If that song is about getting to know somebody, in the Biblical Sense, may it not be a little inappropriate for you to say that you want to get to know me????"

 

Our conservative Mormon lead signer quickly started playing guitar and led right into the next song.... No comment. I love embarrassing him.

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I dropped an f-bomb in "Cake By the Ocean" at a bar gig, at the break when the rest of the band stops, so it really stuck out. We had done the rest of the song with clean lyrics, and some of my band members said they heard people in the audience gasp. My band members asked me to find a different way for the future, so I have since switched to "you're crazy delicious".

 

About 10 years ago our band did a gig at a community fair where the audience was dominated by families with little kids. Our bass player sang lead on Mustang Sally, and kept on singing "motherf******" at each rehearsal leading up. Our guitarist's wife was at these rehearsals, and was petrified our bassist would do this same at the gig. And our bassist was just the kind of guy you would think *would* do this. When we did the song at the community fair, our bassist started directly at our guitarist's wife out in the audience, sang "mother" followed by a slight pause, just long enough to see the color drain out of her face, and then finished it with "lovin'". We all had a long laugh about that afterwards.

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For any of you "Arrested Development" TV series fans, you may remember that the family, headed by the father (Jason Bateman) and Son (Michael Sera) had a little band. During one of their public performances they were singing "Afternoon Delight" by Starlight Vocal Band. About halfway through the song with the Father and Son trading off vocals, Jason Bateman came to a screeching halt and realized that he was singing about having sex with his son in the middle of the afternoon.

 

Its actually Michael and his niece, Maeby.

 

[video:youtube]

 

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Context is the key with language I reckon.

 

1. Our tribute band was playing a gig to an audience that in part consisted of some "tween" kids and their parents. Our lead singer proceeded to get completely pole axed during the show and carried on like a pork chop on stage. Overtly sexual behaviour and too much swearing. Frankly it was embarrassing.

 

2. As a result of 1. above, we were auditioning new singers. Pre-requisite (if we didn't know them already) was to send a demo through. One guy sends a nice demo. I call him up to invite him to the audition. He advises me that he can't sing the lyrics to one song due to his personal beliefs, as it contains the word "bullshxx".

 

3. Appropriate use of swearing? Our classic rock covers band is playing what we play to an enthusiastic, packed and drunk house. Lead guitarist decides to pick up a wine glass left on stage by one of the patrons and use it to play a slide solo. Crowd goes nuts.

 

Song finishes - lead singer says "Did you F***ING see THAT?" In response to the solo. Crowd goes nuts again!

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Context definitely is key.

 

Many years ago played a very family-friendly festival gig, and the guitar player started playing Clapton's Cocaine. Bass player tried to wave him off but the guitar player said "relax, I got this."

 

He changed every instance of "cocaine" to "Rogaine."

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I did one wedding where the request for the first dance was Rihanna's "Love On The Brain," which might be the most lyrically and thematically inappropriate first dance ever. I'm frankly surprised our leader didn't veto it. Clearly, English isn't the first language of the couple involved (nor most of the guests) but one would think you would ... I don't know ... look up the lyrics of your first dance and Google Translate if need be.

 

We usually do the "clean" versions of any tunes that have swearing (Cake By The Ocean, I Love It) although if it's a corporate gig with 20-30-somethings then that goes out the window. I'm kind of surprised by harmonizer's anecdote of a bar crowd gasping, especially with current top 40 lyrical content.

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I have a couple of stories, but the are referred - of course - to lyrics in Italian, so I'll do my best to explain.

 

1) A very famous old Italian song, "Il Cielo in una Stanza", goes like this at its peak: "An harmonica is playing... it sounds like an organ vibrating for me and you"...

Well, one singer I was playing with in another life, had learned it slightly wrong. She sang, "I *feel* an organ vibrating for me and you..."

It was so hilarious that we let her singing like that for a few gigs, before taking pity and revealing the mistake. These were simpler times... :)

 

2) When I was in Japan in the late 80s, I met an Italian singer/bassist who had spent most of his life there. The Japanese adore the Italian melodic songs of the 60s, so he was forced to sing those songs thousands of times. Well, after a while, he found a way to change some of the lyrics in a way that they still sounded almost the same, but with strategic twists to mean sexual and obscene things. To give an example, one line said the equivalent of "Your anus is itching..."

I guess it was a way to fight boredom.

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Further to Marino's take on this subject, one of my profs told us a story that makes me laugh until this day.

 

In the '80s he was playing bass in a bar band. He was the only native English speaker in the band, the rest of the guys were Québécois and trying to learn rock lyrics off of the records by ear. They launched into their Beatles cover:

 

"I've been hard all night, and I've been working on the dog."

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Katy Perry: "I want to see your peacock-cock-cock". Wow. Subtle. It's offensive by its adolescence if nothing else. And the music video drove home the point, for those too thick to get it from the lyrical repetition.

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A million years ago, the Sonny and Cher show did a cover of "Cover of the Rolling Stone." Second verse, started by a bass singer: "I've got a little old lady, name o' Cocaine Propane Katy, who embroiders on my jeans..."

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I can corrupt any lyric to make it sexually explicit or at least morally questionable. It's a gift.

 

As an aside, I have a song whose title and chorus is a pretty good swear word, and it refers to the act in question, not the expletive form. I did a small show one year and noticed a mom and dad and young son sitting close, and I stopped before doing the song and said basically what I just said: this song is named after the thing you guys did to make him, and the word doesn't just appear once or twice but multiple times, meaning the act, not the exclamation, and they said, that's ok, as long as it's just a dirty word, they're fine with him hearing it, they raise their kids to be comfortable hearing but not necessarily using such words. (As I do.)

 

Anyway, the song goes on and I get to the third verse and remember it's completely and obviously about a blowjob, and I am already singing it when I realize, we didn't cover this in the pre-song speech. So I just went with it, through metaphorically gritted teeth, and found them afterward to apologize. "It's OK, it went over his head," the mom said, and the dad hit her with his arm, presumably because she said "head" about a blowjob lyric, and I knew these were my people.

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Holy phoque, Im laughing so hard I have tears running down my face!!!

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I was once playing a benefit hosted by a Phoenix Police Officer who is locally famous for being horrifically burned in a car accident, but working his way back to be a lead detective.

 

We started playing BOC's Burning for You and the bass player suddenly makes us stop. I'm thinking no one would have thought in inappropriate until we panicked in the middle of the song. I actually think no one noticed but us.

You want me to start this song too slow or too fast?

 

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For any of you "Arrested Development" TV series fans, you may remember that the family, headed by the father (Jason Bateman) and Son (Michael Sera) had a little band. During one of their public performances they were singing "Afternoon Delight" by Starlight Vocal Band. About halfway through the song with the Father and Son trading off vocals, Jason Bateman came to a screeching halt and realized that he was singing about having sex with his son in the middle of the afternoon.

 

Well yesterday a more subtle scenario happened with my band at one of our performances. As we were grooving away to Morris Day's Jungle Love, our lead singer was going around the group and saying each person's name. Like

 

Lead Singer "John (Me), hows it going?"

Me "Great, just jamming away on the blues!"

 

To which he responded. "I wanna know ya!"

 

Being one of the more "Randy" members of the group and always looking for the "That's what she said moment", I realized that that may have been inappropriate.

 

At the end of the song, I leaned into the microphone and asked the lead singer and the audience .....

 

"If that song is about getting to know somebody, in the Biblical Sense, may it not be a little inappropriate for you to say that you want to get to know me????"

 

Our conservative Mormon lead signer quickly started playing guitar and led right into the next song.... No comment. I love embarrassing him.

You called out your singer on stage ... in front of the audience?

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I live in a non-native English country, so people generally dont care about the English lyrics. Zappas Bobby Brown was a middling hit here, and is still played on mainstream radio occasionally.

 

I did veto when an eleven-year-old was going to sing Lily Allens Its Not Fair at a student concert. That seemed over the top.

 

Also, this (NSFW)

[video:youtube]

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Context is everything.

 

I used to know a guy who was lead singer for a small group in Minneapolis back in the 70's. The name of his group, "Deadeye and the Dicks", was already leaning to being off color, but when they would finish their sets every night, his last words were, "Well, folks it's hotel motel time. Remember girls, motel spelled backwards is "Let 'em."

 

Since the venue was usually a drinking establishment, no one ever said anything. I wonder how well he would fare today.

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I just did a show that was all tunes from 1968. One of the songs I played was "Stand By Your Man". There is a lyric in there that really got a couple of us thinking:

 

"You'll have bad times

And he'll have good times,

Doin' things that you don't understand"

 

We figured Tammy was talking about blow jobs or anal...

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I can't think of many songs we might do (classic rock 70s band) that would be a problem. You could always do the "funky kicks going down in the city" from Jet Airliner type of deal :)

 

I played in one band with a singer that thought it was a-ok to drop f-bombs talking to the audience. He was an ornery dude from Boston, maybe that is fine there. Not fine by me. That band disbanded for other reasons but I wasn't going to play another show with that guy.

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Inappropriate is sometimes just in the eyes of the guy who signs the checks.

 

Did a DJ gig a few years ago. Early in the night the two very attractive female bartenders (with equally attractive tattoos) asked me to play Jekyll and Hyde - which was pretty big on the mainstream rock charts that summer. This was a club catering to young adults. I didn't think anything of it.

 

Halfway through the owner approached me and told me songs with that kind of language were unacceptable in his club. I was shocked. I'd heard worse language on the jukebox setting up, and the bartenders were rocking out back there.

 

That was a tough gig to get through. I had to second guess everything I did that night.

 

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Halfway through the owner approached me and told me songs with that kind of language were unacceptable in his club. I was shocked. I'd heard worse language on the jukebox setting up, and the bartenders were rocking out back there.

 

Yeah you never know with club owners. I used to sing Jimmy Buffet's "Why Don't We Get Drunk And Screw?" and one night the bartenders asked us to play it. The owner walked in with his wife right in the middle of it and had a fit. He told me if we ever played that song again we would never work in his clubs again.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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Club owners, or a long-time patron, or whoever might be in there that night. Many of our shows are at dinner joints and there are sometimes kids there.

 

Best to just keep it rated pg all the time, you can still have fun and won't offend anyone. I say this as someone who swears profusely at ikea furniture pieces and whenever my favorite sports team play.

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I play in a 50's 60's band in which the lead singers like to rewrite lyrics to be risque when we play for a bar crowd. Problem is, the forget themselves and sometimes the redone lyrics find their way into some of the all ages show we do out of habit. No one has complained about it yet, but it always makes the rest of the band cringe when it happens. Oh well......this is a band in which the front guys (4 of them) have been in this same band since high school, they're all in their 50's, and still laugh at fart jokes, so.....
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