Wednesday, May 18, 2011

30 Songs, 30 Days, Day Thirteen: Meetings With Remarkable Men by Harvey Danger

Boy, am I falling down on this year's cycle...

Anyway....Harvey Danger. A Seattle band that bucked the then-popular trend of being 'grunge,' most people would remember them as one-hit wonders thanks to the snarky, snarling, ska-tinged "Flagpole Sitta." Me, I actually loved them because of many of the things that earmarked them as commercially unviable--the absolutely ungainly vocals of Sean Nelson, the very stutter-stop nature of their lyrics, the noisiness of the melodies that came off as power pop songs that had guzzled too much coffee and wouldn't sit still--and this is a live recording of one of the signature songs from their ill-fated second album, King James Version.

It's a great little number, with a kicking bass line and a mocking lyrical screed about how heroes always sort of pass on, whether they're Jesus Christ, Morrisey or Kip Winger, while still believing in their own relevance. And the last twist of the knife, when Nelson reminds us that 'your mother loves you, don't be proud, she has to,' has a particular sting considering that this was the lead single on an album that fell prey to the corporate reshuffling of the music industry in the late 90's, consigning it to limbo for over a year--at which point the bounce the band had gotten from 'Sitta's' notoriety has long faded away. It's a wonder that the band limped on, breaking up, reforming as a trio, putting out another album (the rather graceful and mature Little By Little), re-releasing that third album, creating one of my favorite Christmas songs ever ("Sometimes You Have To Work On Christmas (Sometimes)"), finally breaking up for good...and still having time to release a final single as a free download this past month.

I wonder if somehow Harvey Danger is another plank in that bridge of bands with really unschooled vocalist in them that I love--a bridge that presently leads me to one of my favorite still-extant bands, The Hold Steady. They certainly don't deserve to be lumped together with the novelty acts and also-rans of the one-hit wonders...

The song never got to be a single (The lead off single from King James Version, a serio-tragic portrait of a woman who escapes from her dull, grey life into a wild west fantasy called "Sad Sweetheart of The Rodeo," tanked)...but here it is in YouTube-y glory...


  1. Would you be interested in audio of all of King James Version performed live? For free of course.

    1. Like all Americans, I will never turn down stuff for free...;)

      Would I be able to share this artifact with my readers?