have you bit the dog again? (it’s in me)

“Starring Heaps and Heaps’ brother Heaps.”

What better way to express our excitement for our show this Wednesday @ Malones than with our cover of a song we’ve only played once . . . here’s “Hey Sandy,” better known as the “Pete & Pete themesong”:

Most of the things from childhood don’t really hold up to the scrutiny of later return but Erin & I have found that “The Adventures of Pete & Pete” does (at least while you’re drinking and watching it off of DVD).  The show captures the early 90s cooled-edges take on the shrill polymorphous zaniness of the 80s, creating a world of magical realism  where undisguised but privately held eccentricities get tangled but are ultimately accepted and turned into myth.  The prevalence of Big Pete’s stolidly verbose, unblinking narration frees the actors up from the shackles of having to be cookie-cutter laugh-track imitations of people and lets them be “characters” in the best sense of the word, larger than life but in the compact scale of a kid growing up in the suburbs.  Big Pete’s every hyperbole is confirmed by a “reality” constructed as a clear narrative for children that doesn’t talk down to them even as it creates a kids-eye view of the world largely free of the mopey, dopey high school drama that dominates shows meant to make kids want to be older as soon as possible (the occasional Big Pete and Ellen love plot aside).  As for Little Pete, he may have his own personal super hero (who looks like he’s trying to chew on his own face in every scene) but he’s basically everyone’s super hero himself, a taciturn figure of stubborn willfulness who is capable of sticking to any plan without falling into the smirkiness of other 90s “attitude figures” (see Bart Simpson, Sonic the Hedgehog, Poochie).  Somewhere along the line,  a paper must have been  for the annual Popular Culture Association conference comparing Big Pete, Little Pete, and Ellen to the Freudian ego, id, and superego

Encomia aside, all these years though, I never could figure out what the theme song was about (not that it kept me up at night) but when I saw the video for a cover of it by Tera Melos (which does a great job of recreating shot for shot the original P&P opening credits), I was compelled to try to get the other Heaps to at least try playing it. Turns out in the intervening years, they invented something called “the internet” which is basically a poorly maintained list of the lyrics to every song ever written.  Thus, here’s the original lyrics to the song by Polaris:

Hey Smilin Strange,

You lookin’ Happily deranged

Can you settle to shoot me?***

Or Have you picked your target yet?

CHORUS:

Hey sandy [Ay ay ay]

Don’t you talk back [ay ay ay] Hey Sandy

Four Feet away,

End of Speech is the end of the day

we was only funnin’

But guiltily I thought you had it comin’

I say “original” because that’s not what I’d be hearing all these years.  Here’s my version (which we slip into at 1:33 in the track above):

It’s kinda strange;

you’re lookin’ at a leaky range.

Can you guess what’s in me?

Or have you bit the dog again? (It’s in me!)

CHORUS: does your dog bite? (it’s in me)

I contend that my version fits the show much better even though Little Pete has a pet lizard instead of a dog.  The “missing line” (omitted in official lyrics sheets and marked above with “***”) has fueled the urban legend that the song is about the shootings at Kent State in 1970.  There apparently is an entirely different song called “Hey Sandy” about Sandra Scheuer who was indeed killed at Kent State by the National Guard for walking to class, but it’s not clear that Polaris had that in mind themselves when they penned the un-family friendly phrase. It would certainly make more sinister the lines “don’t you talk back” and “guiltily I thought ‘you had it coming.'”

So as not to end on that heart-warming note, here’s a music video for the Ganglians’ song “Hair” using Pete & Pete footage:

If you want what an A&R guy would call a more “urban” video for the same song, check out the 2nd half of my 2009 list.

See you in Santa Ana, Wednesdaynauts!

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2 Responses to “have you bit the dog again? (it’s in me)”

  1. […] Zombie Public Speaking tracks from The HEAPS, The Shrapnelles, and my other musical projects « have you bit the dog again? (it’s in me) […]

  2. […] style of my halloween-costume-turned-staple Ramones shirt.  The first idea I had got turned into a flyer for our show at Malone’s.  Then when we were in Austin for a week waking up at nearly regular jobpeople times, I was struck […]

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