“No Soup (Dragons) For You!”

I saw a sight yesterday that will stay in my memory forever. As I was driving through downtown Placerville (Hangtown, to us townies) I saw a kid, couldn’t have been older than 17, wearing a Soup Dragons T-shirt. I almost ran into a pedestrian trying to make certain I was seeing what I thought I saw.

Was my incredulity based on the fact the kid picked a second rate baggy band to proudly parade around in, or was it the fact that this band peaked 4 or so years before he was born? Well, like it often is, it’s a combination of both.

The Soup Dragons were a band that I embraced when they released the 1990 album Lovegod. I was in a ‘fever dream’ state at that time which clouded my judgment. My good lord, I even bought, and was enamored with, the Farm’s Spartacus. The Soup Dragons started life, as a lot of bands back then, as Buzzcocks wannabe’s, but changed their sound radically for that 1991 effort, and even had a fairly massive hit in the form of a reggae tinged Rolling Stones cover (I’m Free). Like Jesus Jones, The Farm, and a host of others, they turned ‘baggy’ when it was convenient to do so. Dance Rock, they called it. It wasn’t until a friend of mine pointed out the singer sang with a faux lisp that I saw the light. “I’m fweeeeeeeeeee!” I haven’t been able to listen to them since.

Back to the boy with the shirt, then. Yes, the Soup Dragons were shit, but even if he was unaware of their shittiness, why choose them? The Inspiral Carpets, another band from that era that was infinitely better than these guys, and had a much cooler shirt. It had a cartoon cow and the slogan was “Cool As F*$k”. Yeah, much better.

It’s sad that youngsters today are latching on to bands their parents dug. I hated everything my parents liked growing up and would never have thought to parade around the smoking area at school in a Count Basie or Lawrence Welk T shirt. Or even an Elvis or Buddy Holly one, for that matter. Maybe I would now, just for kicks, but that’s beside the point.

It is, indeed, sad, but it’s also kind of cool vindication that our music was pretty great. But there are a lot of modern bands that are pretty great, too, that they could latch on to. But they’re not wearing Django Django shirts. They’re wearing Beatles shirts. Even my 8 year old daughter has kids in her class that have Beatles lunch boxes and backpacks. To put that into perspective, it would be like me having a Hamilton Sisters lunch box during the mid ‘70’s!

It seems that the more information we have on obscure modern bands and albums the more kids ignore it and are looking to the past for musical inspiration. Rock is truly dead, my friends.

Long live the Soup Dragons. I guess