Friday, 22 May 2015

#56. I Want Everything – 21st Century Ox


Dion Barker: bass
Harry Fahey: drums
Brendan Hoffmann: vocals, guitar
Matt Neal: guitar

Lyrics by Dion Barker, Brendan Hoffmann and Matt Neal.
Music by Dion Barker, Harry Fahey, Brendan Hoffmann and Matt Neal.
Written late 1999-early 2000.
Recorded at Motherlode Studios, Warrnambool, 2000.
Produced and mixed by Tony Peel.



When bands are starting out, the first couple of songs they write usually set the tone for what their sound will be. This track was among the initial batch of tunes 21st Century Ox played at the very first gig we did and it certainly set the tone for us – I think our credo went something along the lines of “rock is good, but weird is also good”.

That first gig was on April 2, 2000 on the back of a truck in the car park outside the Lady Bay Hotel, and it was the first of about 50 gigs we did over the course of the next 12 months. Check it out – I’ve still got our first setlist:


There’s I Want Everything, sitting plum in the middle of the set next to the even weirder March Of The Albatross, ready to freak out the norms. The plan was to win them back with a Britney Spears cover at the end.


In the year leading up to this gig, Brendan Hoffmann, Dion Barker and I had been hanging out a lot and making a lot of music. We were 18, fresh out of high school, and had heaps of spare time to jam, write songs and make weird impromptu recordings. Hoffa and I taught Dion how to play bass, and by February 2000 we had put together 21st Century Ox with drummer Harry Fahey.

I have fond memories of writing this song. Hoffa, Dion and I were hanging out at McDonald’s, probably drunk. While we sat their drinking our cokes we started writing these nonsense juvenile lyrics. It was just fun and silly – it was a song written with no regard for any rules of songwriting or common sense. We probably never even intended for it to be a song, or that anyone would hear it. We were just goofing around. Hoffa came up with the staccato title chant and we later crafted some riffs onto it in the rehearsal room with the rest of the band.

Dion, Harry and the back of my head in the rehearsal room. PIC: Brendan Hoffmann.

Here’s Hoffa:

“I remember we wrote the lyrics to some or all of it eating in McDonald's. I think we had a sugar rush and were hyperactive! As for the music, I think I came up with the first bit and Nealy came up with the main verse riff - not sure about the bridge. Was such a fun song to play and I remember the crowd used to like it too and sing along! Was a good team effort (and) was aesthetically a good sounding song - lots of interesting changes.”

Hoffa penning another potential classic. PIC: Janelle Mentha.

Here’s Dion:

“I remember that trip to McDonalds. Back in the days when McFlurries were just a sparkle in Ronald's eyes and 30 cent cones had an entirely different meaning... but I digress. Actually, I'm not sure if you can digress before actually mentioning something about the topic at hand, can you? Someone Google that. Google. That was something else that hadn't been invented either when we wrote this song. I suddenly feel very old!

“So, I too remember this being a favourite with the young’uns... I do recall thinking on several occasions as to its appropriateness for a bunch of impressionable young teens.  In fact I think it dawned on Hoffa on one occasion and he refused to play it! Suddenly had an attack of conscience, maybe?

Ox live on the Civic Green. PIC: Kellie Johns.

“It definitely was a tone setter for many of our earlier songs, and is typical of our younger Ox material. Very reminiscent of that first summer as a band and the fun times we had.  That's not to say there weren't more fun times in the latter days of Ox, but I Want Everything had that youthful playfulness about it, when we probably weren't thinking too much about its intended audience.  Fun times.”

Fun times indeed, Dion.

That weird sound at the end of the track is a loop of me screaming, which was part of all the strange little intricacies we hid all over our first (and so far only) album What Am I Going To Do With All These Portaloos?. That album, and this song, were recorded by Tony Peel, who opened our eyes to the world of studio recording.

Me being suave as fuck. PIC: Brendan Hoffmann.

Lyrics:

I want everything!

I don’t wanna be your sunshine
I don’t even like you much
I just wanna steal your French fries
and fondle with your crotch

I just wanna take your beauty
I just wanna take your tongue
and stick it in your earhole
while fingering your bum

Oh

Everyone’s trying to kill me
and shave my pubic hair
and eat it down with gravy
like a pouting Fred Astaire

Yum mum mum mummin yuppa
Myum mum muppy da ba
Duppy duppy duppy duppy yuppa
Myum mum muppy da ba

I want everything!


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