A new album! Somehow we’ve managed to steal almost twenty new riffs, and thinking up titles is as easy as falling off the wagon, so we’re optimistic about this hot new project. We enlist the services of our primo engineer and fourth Imperial, Philip “Christian Shoulders” Bonnet [RIP, brother], and start recording our thunderous follow-up to Hanky Panky Parley Voo. At first we planned on calling the album “The Hymns of Artimus Pyle,” because it sounded so grand and also stupid (Artimus Pyle being the drummer for Lynnrd Skynnrd). But it was hard to remember and even harder to spell. We wanted to keep the word “Hymns,” so we added our hometown, Bucksnort, and away we went.
This was the summer of the killer heatwave in Chicago. Our Zebra van looked boss but had the weakest air conditioner ever put in a vehicle, and we baked our brains out driving back and forth up the Kennedy to Solid Sound Studios in Hoffman Estates. It didn’t help that we had to wear our heavy tux coats throughout the entire drive.
It was a little different, recording this one. After the hot lava of inspiration that blew out of our volcano brains and became the giant rock formation of Hanky Panky Parley Voo, Hymns felt a little more like something we were doing, instead of something that was happening to us. But the riffs and titles were still cooking. Here’s a little breakdown of a few of the “songs” on Hymns of Bucksnort:
Mystery Date — inspired by the board game, okay, but it’s really more about the awesome TV ads, where the little girls are playing this game and they open the little cardboard door and a little cardboard dude is standing there, and depending on how the dude looks, the girls all shout “dreamy!” or “dud!” The Dud dude was a kind of a mangy hippy, and I remember identifying with that poor sucker way more than with the tennis-racket-holding “dreamy” guy. It was pretty funny to picture the NDI showing up at that cardboard door — imagine if the girl opens it up and finds GT leaning there, wearing his straw hat and no pants.
An awesome lyric needs an awesome riff, so I stole “Misty Mountain Hop” from Led Zeppelin and changed the beat a little. Presto!
$65 an Hour — We were in Fort Wayne, I think, and there was this guy dancing all sexy, and we asked him what his deal was, and he started talking about his job as a male stripper. The title is how much he said he made stripping at bachelorette parties. In our live shows Skipper is the guy with the stripper history. Pretty hot stuff! Stripper Zwackinov!
White Trash Boogie — Kind of like “Mystery Date.” Once we had a title we all liked, it was time to steal a riff. I was on a roll after swiping the Led Zep bit for “Mystery Date,” so for “White Trash Boogie” I went straight for the big dog: “Smoke On the Water.” I put the chords in slightly different order and sped them up, because those Deep Purple fuckers were into some pretty lead-ass tempos.
Chili Pie — We were really into writing songs about food at this point. This outstanding dish — Fritos, chili, cheese — needed its own song, and I needed to steal the riff from Black Sabbath’s “The Mob Rules.”
Overserved — Well, obviously that’s ”Hamocks” played on the A string instead of E string, and the lyrics were improvised as we recorded. See how easy rock is?
Chef of the Future — We saw that episode of The Honeymooners where Ed and Ralph have to do that TV commercial, and Ralph freezes up. Ed saying, “Can it core a apple, oh chef of the future?” is just about the funniest moment in all of western culture. Also a pretty good fit for a kick-ass Bo Diddley riff.
Drivin’ Nails in My Coffin — We got this from the Country Rockers. Lord only knows where those chicken-scratchers got it. A straight-up backbeat song that you can play no matter how inebriated you are.
There Stand the Glass — Another one from the Country Rockers. Maybe the first song we recorded that we took seriously. Jeezus, what a beautiful song.
Wing Dosso — We were getting tired of thinking up riffs and titles, so we decided to redo “Pool Bully” from Hanky Panky, only in a different language. Skipper claimed to have looked up “pool bully” and translated it into Sanskrit: “wing dosso.” But later we found out that Sanskrit’s a dead language and probably didn’t have a word for “pool,” let alone “bully.” It's most likely that Skip just made up random words. So “Wing Dosso” may or may not mean something, but "meaning something" was never all that high on our list of priorities.
Once Hymns is in the can, it’s time for a little break. So we take the afternoon off to go bowling, and then immediately return to the attack. This time, the object of our affection is the frozen North — on to Winnipeg!