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Hats Off To [Deleted For Security Reasons]

My good friend Isorski has recently twice blogged, once in the context of the new Led Zeppelin XM station, about a fun nonsense song we did back in 1985 called Hats Off To Charles Obscure (HOTCO). You should be able to play the song inline by clicking on the little headphones next to the song link above. You can also download the audio here (thanks to PJL); it will be instructive to have the song playing while reading this post for full impact. Isorski’s Blog doesn’t support trackbacks, so be sure and regularly visit if you enjoy discussions about classic rock, the music industry, the independent music scene, and other fun stuff.

Back in The Day, Isorski and I did many of these sorts of music projects directly out of the school of Non Sequiturism and, while most of them were (and still are) unlistenable (as I hope you are realizing while you play HOTCO) , they proved to be a good exercise in opening up otherwise inaccessible creative channels. Other examples include “The Spherical Roundwood Creatures of Flange”, “Xerox the Blacksmith”, “Our Awesome Earth”, “Alice’s Torsional Waves”, and the collective works of Sey.

HOTCO is a “tribute” “song” to a “tribute” “piece” entitled Hats Off To (Roy) Harper (HOTRH), recorded by Led Zeppelin circa 1970 on their third album. HOTRH is a tribute/parody of early “soggy bottom boys” deep south American blues. You can’t really tell if the song is a joke or an honest tribute, which is part of what makes the piece so strange. While Zeppelin was doing some very heavy musical experimentation during that period (and always did, for that matter), HOTRH pushes the limit of what might be considered “normal musical experimentation” for a commercially successful band. It is long, annoying, and incomprehensible — which is paradoxically partly why I like it. It might be compared to weird stuff the Beatles tried, but makes those experimental efforts sound like hit singles. On the album jacket, it indicates the piece was written by “Charles Obscure” (a.k.a. Jimmy Page). So, in the same spirit, Isorski and I decided to write a tribute to Charles Obscure, but turning up the opacity to 11 as it were pushing the limit of what might be considered “normal musical experimentation” for two teenagers with a 4-track. As originally published on Isorski’s Blog, below is the 1985 lyric sheet as written by yours truly (a.k.a. “Jim Squash”). If they seem a bit, er, disheveled I’ll just say that staying up all night jacked up on gummy bears and pop tarts will do that to you. There are additional lyrics that are sung which may be forever lost to the musical void. Good thing I got that copyright notice in there. Thanks to Isorski for giving me this blast from the past.


The translation is as follows:
Hats Off To Charles Obscure
Music by Paul Lesinski and Tom Gutierrez
Lyrics by Jim Squash

Gona [sic] make no garbage outa that
Phlem [sic] an stuff —
Eatin’ fish ain’t my bag —
creep’n long like rotten a
Autocannon got my brother
phig ate his ear and gave
it to sue
Fishy got no brother
Fishy got no brother
Sleepin’ fishy gonna carve
no hole in his brain with…

(c) 1985 Osiris

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