Sunday, September 10, 2006

Fuzzy Memories and Drug-Induced Flashbacks - Part VIII

When I was a teenager, I went through a country music phase. It was my first real musical identity, unless you count my unhealthy obsession with the Star Wars soundtrack from 1977-1980. But for the four years I was in high school, I was all about Hank Jr. and Charlie Daniels Band.

Of course, this was during the mid 1980s. Reagan was president, Michael Jackson was still black, and both Judds together were roughly the size that Winona is now. I was living in the thriving metropolis of Garland, Texas (home of cartoonist Mike Judge and, so I've heard, the inspiration for the town of Arlen in King of the Hill). On top of that, I drove a 1969 Chevy pickup truck until 1985, when I traded up to a black 1977 Trans Am right out of Smokey and the Bandit.

Damn. I'm lucky I didn't grow up to marry my cousin.

Anyway, when I was going through my C&W thang, my sister Sunny was all about the Rap music. Of course, back then Rap was a little different. Most rap songs would consist of the guys spelling the name of the band and introducing themselves, and then they'd rap about something nice, like their sneakers or how tricky it was to rock a rhyme that was right on time.

My sister *hated* country music when we were in high school. She was just mortified that I not only knew all the words to "Devil Went Down to Georgia," but I insisted on accompanying myself on air fiddle. She hated Ricky Skaggs and Alabama and just about anybody who had ever appeared on Hee Haw, and would rail on and on about it until I'd finally pull out my 8-track tape and let her turn the dial to K104 (which was basically a 24-hour Sugar Hill Gang station at the time).

So while I was in college, I made the switch to classic rock. It started with Pink Floyd, and pretty soon I was blasting Led Zepplin from the cassette deck of my Trans Am. I listened to the Beatles, from Rubber Soul to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, and even most of the White Album (except for the crap Yoko made them sing).

And my sister, ironically enough, became a huge fan of country music.

One day back in 1989 (Bush was president, Michael Jackson was pale, blah, blah, blah), Sunny and I were driving home from visiting our grandmother in Texarkana and I was listening to Abbey Road. And my sister, as always, was whining about my horrible musical choices.

"I don't understand why rock music has to always be about sex," she said.

"That's not really fair," I told her. "I mean, Conway Twitty used to sing about the tiger in the tight-fitting jeans, but all the Beatles ever wanted to do was hold her hand."

I'd scored a point, and my sister knew it. She was struggling to find an example of what she was talking about, but she couldn't think of one. So she finally just blurted out, "Oh yeah? Well at least country music isn't all like, 'Nice ass, can I kiss it?' or 'Hey big titty momma, come lick my neck!'"

I howled with laughter. "What the fuck rock songs have YOU been listening to?"

She blushed and got a little defensive. "You know what I mean," she insisted. But I just kept laughing and repeating, "Hey big titty momma, come lick my neck!" Eventually, she started laughing too and it became something of a running joke between us.

So flash forward about six months. I'm home for the summer and hanging with my friend Steve (who occasionally frequents this blog). We're having lunch, and he mentions that he's recently started listening to country music. I roll my eyes and let out an exasperated moan. "God, you and my sister should start a support group or something."

I tell him the story about our heated debate, and we start tossing out silly prank ideas. "Hey, you should tell her your favorite song is 'Hey Big Titty Momma!'" From there, the prank evolves into something ridiculously convoluted. It takes us all afternoon, but using a synthesizer and a couple of cassette recorders, we finally create our masterpiece.

Later that afternoon, we're driving my sister to the airport and the cassette tape is in my stereo, ready to be played. Steve's riding up front with me, and Sunny's in the back. Steve starts things off with, "You know, I've been listening to some country music lately. I've decided it's not that bad."

My sister eagerly takes the bait. "I know! I love it too! But try telling Chris that. He won't even listen to it anymore."

"That's not true," I say, sounding a bit hurt. "There's some of it that's okay. I've got a tape of some local band here that I like."

"God," Sunny says, rolling her eyes. "It's probably Pink Floyd or something stupid."

So I press play, and the tape starts with a roaring crowd dubbed from Pink Floyd's Delicate Sound of Thunder. But then, you hear Steve's voice saying, "All right, we wanna thank you all for coming out! This next song goes out to a little filley in Garland by the name of Sunny Irby!"

My sister actually gasps as the crowd noise dies and is replaced by a lame auto polka rhythm from Steve's synthesizer. Steve starts off with a solo:

Sittin' on a barstool, just the other night.
I saw her standing there, and her shirt and jeans were tight.
She walked up beside me, and I ordered her a beer.
And when she hugged me tight, I thought "It must be cold in here."
Steve and I then sing loudly and proudly on the chorus:

Hey big titty mama, won't you come and lick my neck?
I know you're only 16, but my god, who gives a heck?
If you think I'd like to kiss your ass, well then you'd be correct.
So please big titty mama, won't you come and lick my neck.
More crowd noise, and we fade out with Steve saying, "Thank you! You've been great!"

When it's all said and done, my sister is less than impressed with the lengths to which we went. In fact, her sole assessment of our musical endeavor is "You guys are SO gay!"

But we don't care. We're well-pleased of our first and only foray into the realm of shitkicking tunes. We take gratification in the knowledge that our song, however hastily thrown together, is still better than anything Billy Ray Cyrus ever put out. In fact, we're so proud of this song that even today, if you get us drunk enough, we'll happily perform it for you. And then throw up on your shoes.