Wednesday, 29 May 2013

#12. Bling Bling – The Extreme Sprinklers

Dion Barker: backing vocals.
Brendan Hoffmann: bass, programming, vocals.
Jade McLaren: vocals.
Matt Neal: programming, guitar, vocals.

Lyrics and music by Brendan Hoffmann, Jade McLaren and Matt Neal.
Written in 2003.
Recorded at Hoffa’s House, August 24, 2003.
Produced and mixed by Brendan Hoffmann and Matt Neal.

When Jade McLaren and I started The Extreme Sprinklers, we wanted to be the next Ween, which is admittedly a strange ambition for any band. We had bonded over The Pod, laughed our arses off to God Ween Satan, and been blown away by Quebec. This explains why our early co-writes are a weird pile of genre-hopping weirdness that attempted to blend humour with musical chops. It also explains why we tried to write a few rap songs.

Bling Bling was written and recorded over a day-long stint at former 21st Century Ox bandmate Brendan Hoffmann’s house. I don’t think we had any idea what we were going to do when we got there, but maybe there was the thought that hip-hop was a genre we hadn’t tried yet.

Another former Ox bandmate Dion Barker came along for the ride, although he was evidently less keen to do any actual rapping. Instead that fell to Hoffa, Jade and myself. We took it in turns to write a line each for the first verse, passing the pen and paper back and forth and then each rapping the lines we'd written.

Jade’s line was first, so that set the lyrical tone – some kind of braggadocio teen spouting about his rad “bling bling” (as I believe it was called back in the day) while his mum tells him to “clean (his) bedroom and… do the dishes”. In that sense, and taking into account the “three MCs and one DJ” delivery, is obviously The Beastie Boys was an influence - it particularly reminds me of the verses in Fight For Your Right To Party.

The other musical touchstone was probably Rage Against The Machine – both those riffs were bad attempts at doing something like that, I think. It’s probably telling that our only real knowledge or understanding of modern/current rap at that time was RATM and the Beasties….

As for the recording itself, it turns out this track was actually take two. I found a really bad first take that just features slow/lame versions of the bass, guitar and drums, which I can only assume were recorded earlier in the day, then wisely ditched in favour of the final version, which has a lot more attitude and swagger in its music.

I think Hoffa played bass, although it may have been me. And I guess we both did the programming, though I can’t be sure – it may have been just me. But that’s definitely Hoffa’s huge guitar tone and definitely my sloppy-as-hell guitar playing. That I know for sure. And in case you were wondering, that mad “Russian chorus”-sounding loop at the start is the chorus reversed. Not sure why we did that – probably because it sounded crazy and awesome.

In the theme of becoming bitchin’ hip-hop producers, we also recorded a couple of “skits” on the same day, probably while smashed. They’re like Cheech & Chong but without the funny bits and don’t deserve to see the light of day.

Overall, I kinda dig Bling Bling, partly because I remember it being a really fun and silly yet productive recording session. The song is basic-as-fuck and pretty whack, but I think it has a certain loose charm to it.

When I asked Jade for his input on this song, he said, "That’s the second-most embarrassing song we’ve ever done" and left it at that. The most embarrassing song will be up in a couple of months.

If he thinks the “studio” version of Bling Bling is embarrassing, the live recording posted below beats it for embarrassment levels. When The Extreme Sprinklers became a proper band, Bling Bling was briefly in the setlist, and by that I mean we played it live at least once, maybe twice. For the sake of posterity, I’m going to include it below. The mix ain’t great, nor is the performance (in fact the performance is terrible – I hadn’t learnt to solo by this stage, and I call out bassist Matt Hewson for a solo right after he’d already called out drummer Harry Fahey for one), but we were all smashed by this stage in the gig (including the incredible and wonderful sound guy Dave Wilson, who was having a ball with the delay settings on the vocals). It was the second last song of the night and we were playing at a 40-somethingth birthday party in Melbourne.

Here's Jade's lyrics sheet from the night, which includes the bizarre RATM-ripoff introduction: 
"Fuck you, I won't do what ya tell me, or Extremes will donkey punch me".

You can hear Hewy yell out “Told ya!” during the intro, as he had just given a language warning before we started. For the record, Jade says the word “fuck” approximately 49 times in this version. Our level of drunkenness is evident (Hewy says he's gonna fall over at the end of the song) but thankfully a smattering of applause can be heard softly in the background.

Harry Fahey: drums.
Matt Hewson: bass, backing vocals.
Jade McLaren: vocals.
Matt Neal: guitar, backing vocals.

Recorded live at Rosco’s House in Melbourne, 2004-2005?
Recorded and mixed by Dave Wilson.


Well, I brought my bling bling to your apartment,
you said I looked stupid and you didn’t want me.
With a bompa ding-ding sitting on your carpet,
you screamed louder than a Cuban trumpet.
I said, “No, I’m the king of the bitches”,
so I blink my chain and say hello to my britches.
Well I’m the only dog that’s treatin’ the hos right,
I like ‘em brown and yellow and I like ‘em black or white.

When I got my bling bling well I’m gonna fuck ya

My momma said, “Son, you ain’t no king of the bitches,
now go and clean your bedroom and you do the dishes.
Your bling bling ain’t nothin’ but scrap
I buy you new clothes and you still wear the same crap.”
“But Mom,” I cried, “I love this shit
that’s hangin’ from my neck, it makes me hip.”
Got to floss my bling bling sparkle shiny
I like my britches hangin’ down past my hiney.

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