Saturday, July 12, 2014


I realize the last "cooler than" post probably lost some people, but it was a personal vindication for me. Now comes another apples to oranges "cooler than" but I it is a point I feel I have to make. The Seeds 1966 hit "Pushin Too Hard" is cooler song than "Chicken Fried." I posted about my disdain for the song "Chicken Fried" on the old blog.

Why this comparison? These are two totally different songs. True, but there was a time in the recent past when these songs were part of a battle at the local location of a popular chain restaurant. I began going there after I would get off from work. It was a stressful time for me at my job. Part of the stress was due to the fact that some of the people, who worked at the radio station where I was employed, didn't like that I frequently made fun of a competing radio station. I'll let you think about the absurdity that situation. It was kind of like the CEOs at K-Mart not wanting anyone to disparage Wal-Mart.

Back to the subject of the post. I would go to The Buffalo Wild Wings location on Battlefield Road in Springfield to blow off steam and because it was near my apartment. One reason I liked to got there was they had a Touch Tunes jukebox. This jukebox isn't bound by a limited number of CDs or records, but you can find just about anything in one of these (with a few exceptions). It is kind of like a giant Ipod on a wall.

I find when I'm in a bad mood, there are certain songs that I want to hear that make me feel better.  So I was pleased to find that one of my all-time favorite songs could be played on the Touch Tunes jukebox: "Pushin Too Hard" by the Seeds.

I discovered the song when I was eight years old on a compilation LP of my older sister's called 24 Original Happening Hits (above). When I was eight years old, my third grade teacher, Mrs. Torquemada (not her real name), hated me. She treated me like dirt. One day, I decided to play this record to see what it sounded like because I had always been intrigued by the cover art of dancing people without faces. I heard a song with a guy snarling these words:

"All I want is to just be free
Live my life the way I wanna be
All I want is to just have fun
Live my life like it's just begun
But you're pushin' too hard
Pushin' too hard on me (too hard)" 

This song summed my life at eight years old, and pretty much the rest of my life. I also loved the fuzztone guitar solo in the middle of the song, which I always described as giving me the same sensation as chomping down on a piece of tinfoil while sticking your tongue in the prong on a 9 volt battery. Every time I hear it, I have to play air guitar to it.

So I was thrilled to find "Pushin Too Hard" in a modern jukebox. I began playing The Seeds only Top 40 hit every time I was at  Buffalo Wild Wings. The Touch Tunes jukebox had a section that listed the most played songs at that location and I had succeeded in making "Pushin Too Hard" one of the most played songs at the Battlefield Road location of Buffalo Wild Wings. That also made me some enemies.

At that time, there was a group of regulars that would be at BWW when I would be there. The nicest way I could say it is the group was made up of redneck goober guys in their late teens and early 20s, one or two attractive girls and a foursome of marauding fat girls.

This last group were the worst. If they saw you put money in the jukebox, they would run up and ask you what you were playing. When you told them what you were selecting, they would scream in your ear, "DON'T PLAY THAT! PLAY "CHICKEN FRIED"!" The nerve of these young women to ask me to play THEIR FAVORITE SONG with MY MONEY was maddening. Obviously, there were some people just stupid enough to comply with their demands, because "Chicken Fried" would play usually about four times in the two hours between the time I arrived after work and closing time. If you refused they did something that I called "song jumping." The jukebox has a feature where if you pay extra money you could "hear your song next." They would use their own money to "jump" my selections, including "Pushin Too Hard."
Why do I believe "Pushin Too Hard" is a cooler song than "Chicken Fried"?  One word: conformity!  "Pushin Too Hard" is in-your-face rebellion at it's best. It is the musical equivalent of a middle finger. It is Brando saying "I don't know. What ya got?" when the girl at the soda counter ask what he is rebelling against in The Wild One, it is Peter Fonda tying up the preacher in Wild Angels, it is Jack Nicholson telling the crabby waitress to "hold the chicken between your knees" in Five Easy Pieces, it is the Delta House gang disrupting the homecoming parade at the end of Animal House, it is Andy Travis putting the KISS Spirit of 76 poster over a funeral home calender in the pilot of WKRP in Cincinnati, and, for that matter, it is The Seeds performing "Pushin Too Hard" on The Mother-In-Laws (watch the adults faces).  The Seeds "Pushin Too Hard" paved the way for The Sex Pistols "God Save the Queen," Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It," The Beastie Boys "Fight For Your Right" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

"Chicken Fried" is a checklist for people wanting to live the small town, redneck, square in the post 9-11 America (or is it Murica). It is the equivalent of those dumb memes posted every day on Facebook by the people you didn't like in junior high school. I'm surprised it doesn't mention watching The Waltons or Little House on The Prairie reruns on satellite TV.

Which brings me to another reason I don't like "Chicken Fried." I hate most country music anyway, but "Chicken Fried" is part of a trend I dubbed the "cut-and-paste" country song. All of these songs have identical lyrics. I was surprised to find out that Zac Brown, himself, has criticized this trend.
Granted, there were several songs of the same theme as "Pushin Too Hard" in the late 60s, i.e: "Let Me Be" The Turtles, "I'm Not Your Steppin Stone" The Monkees, "Talk Talk" The Music Machine, "Satisfaction" The Rolling Stones. The difference is the lyrics are different not exactly the same.

Every crappy country song these people played on the Touch Tunes jukebox was indistinguishable from "Chicken Fried."  They may have called them "Country Boy" by Aaron Lewis or "Dirt Road Anthem" by Jason Aldean, but they are basically "Chicken Fried." I will go further that these songs are barely removed from "Dixieland Delight" by Alabama. 

As I mentioned, my love for the song "Pushin Too Hard" by the Seeds goes back to childhood. When I was younger, I heard a longer version of  "Pushin Too Hard" on oldies stations. I cannot seem to find a version of this. It was not on the original LP. Sadly, most oldies and classic rock station no longer play the song. Even worse, Touch Tunes has removed The Seeds masterpiece rock anthem from their jukeboxes. Unfortunately, "Chicken Fried" remains in the jukebox and is only a one credit play. There is some horrible injustice about the disrespect for a song as cool as "Pushin Too Hard" and idiots liking "Chicken Fried."



No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...