(c) 2010 by Lewis D'Aubin
Zombie Apocalypse Barbecue mp3
The redneck cookout was going full swing
Almost everyone in town had just arrived
Folks were throwing on the grill everything that they could kill
And a couple critters that were still alive
Well the meat was running down when Army folks from out of town
Showed up and started bossing us around
They said everyone should leave, and now this you won't believe
The dead were up & crawlin' from the ground
I said hang on right here
I just had a great idea...
We'll have a zombie apocalypse barbecue
And I'll save a couple ribs for you
Even though ya'll were related
You'll be thankful that you ate at
this here zombie apocalypse barbecue
The zombies started gathering
As Bill began a-slathering
The sauce on which he built his family name
But one of the zombies got him
So my sister up and shot him
In the head and then she dumped him in the flame
By the time we started packing up
The zombies were attacking us
They bit me and it caused a bunch of pain
But I heard a zombie say as my life just slipped away
Could we try some of that sauce out on your brain?
I thought why not just let her
The sauce makes everything better
At the zombie apocalypse barbecue
Well even if you don't survive
Be it brains or chicken wings, barbecue's one of those things
Makes you smile just to be alive
At the zombie apocalypse barbecue
We'll save some ribs for you
Whether or not you deserve it
Everybody will get served down at the
Zombie apocalypse barbecue
Like lightning in a bottle, my best music comes to me really quickly (and usually fully formed) and I have to work hard to get it from my cranium to a recording of some sort while it's still piping hot (bottled lighting tends to be really hot.) And this one was really on FIRE. I caught the inspiration for it watching Mojo Nixon perform a rare show at the Continental Club in Houston on Saturday night, shortly after eating some really fine barbecue at Goode's Barbecue down the street with a Houston friend and fan. Over dinner, the idea for a song called either 'Zombie Barbecue Apocalypse' or 'Zombie Apocalypse Barbecue' gelled over conversation. And later that night, seeing Mojo tearing it up in his unmistakable style gave me the rest of the picture. The seed for a new song was planted.
As soon as I got back to New Orleans, I knew I had to get the thing down rapidly before the spark wore off. I had concluded that nothing rhymed easily with 'apocalypse' but LOTS of things rhymed with 'barbecue', and so I settled on the 2nd title. So late Sunday evening I sat down at the synthesizer and put down what I thought was a good rockabilly beat and started working on a basic bassline for the first verse. I also had a couple words written down for a rough chorus. Before I knew it, it was midnight, and time to call it a day.
By Monday, everything had brewed in my head long enough to catch fire... I couldn't wait to sit down in the evening and work it out onto 'tape'! Dour storm forecasts for the evening made my colleagues skittish about getting together for our usual rehearsal, so I'd have the lab all to myself. "So much the better" I thought, trying to console myself (I really had wanted their input, but oh well.) I left Jeannine watching TV in the house, shut myself in the lab and got down to work. Clipboard with computer-printed 1st verse and chorus lyrics and a pen, show computer running old Cakewalk 7, a microphone into the computer, and my trusty ol' Ensoniq keyboard acting as a controller. I pasted a bunch of repetitions of my 8 bar drum loop (to be edited later) and started in on the first verse, figuring out the bass notes on the keyboard and then singing a rough vocal. I also figured out a chorus in short order, then cribbed together the little 'B' section between the verse and the chorus to get in a couple of bridging lyrics and provide a more graceful chord change (still kind of klunky, but I liked it being a 'bit off'.) By 11:30pm or so, I had the rough structure down; an intro (drum intro first, by necessity as in all C.O.G. songs) then verse, 'B', chorus, and repeat. Double chorus outro with a 1/4 speed last couple lines. I had drums, a bassline, and somewhat shaky lead vocals (still weathering a mild flu) and even a couple harmony vocal attempts here and there. Very much by the numbers! My lyric worksheet was now a mess of handwritten markup and scrawl beneath the neat computer type. I didn't have words for the 2nd chorus yet so I had literally copy and pasted them in the computer. Right before I uploaded a rough of the nascent demo for my colleagues to hear, I got the idea that the repetition of the 2nd chorus should be played up 'two frets' so I used the pitch transposer in Cakewalk on the bassline and vocal for those two parts. This approach sounded horrible but it got the idea across... and I knew I'd be able to re-sing it the next day anyway. Hooray! I had a somewhat listenable demo in record time! (Albeit VERY bare-bones, no guitar, and some shaky vocals.)
Tuesday I got a short amount of time to work on the thing, fleshing out some more harmonies, putting in the new words I had written for the 2nd chorus, properly performing the key change at the end, and arranging some of the drums. I also put in a temp midi part in a spot where I wanted a harmonica. By now I was itching to hear what it'd sound like with real instruments... perhaps a fiddle? Banjo? A jaw harp? Guitar was a must. I talked with Rachnid about some bands to listen to for inspiration... Rev. Horton Heat was an obvious guess but it seemed like there was more bluegrass inspiration in this than psychobilly.
Wednesday is the designated 'music-writing evening' in the C.O.G. lab. Sounded like a good excuse to work out those guitar parts! Regrettably, Rachnid took a pass, due to some kind of work related thing he had to do the next day. Dr. Z was also tied up with work (and he works nights.) Z however did call to tell me he listened to & liked the demo, and to offer a lyric suggestion, which I later tried out with success. Then Filbert showed up with his Fender Jazzmaster guitar... when I played him the demo, he rolled with laughter and plunged right into figuring out my chord choices (some of which were pretty weird, as usual!) He figured out what I was aiming for right away, and exclaimed "It's a Johnny Cash song!" Wow, he was right! That finally gave us a solid target to aim at (I even tried talk-singing a couple lines in a deadpan basso voice and yeah, it fit perfectly!)
Filbert plugged his Fender into my Vox amp, which I miked up with a Shure 57 and quickly dialed in a twangy sound that we both loved. We laid down the rhythm part first... one thing that Filbert has been able to do the entire time I've known him is to actually play funny - he can actually make me laugh just by playing the guitar (something he exploits regularly as 'Yngwie Flattstein'.) He got into some real wild Mojo Nixon-like strumming toward the end that fit perfectly. We were drinking Abita beer (he had a Wheat and I had a Jacomo) and soon we were joined by another friend, Ben Beamis (who drank a Turbodog, then walked over to the grocery to get some imported beers - sorry I don't remember the name.) After a few beers, we were getting one crazy idea after another. The three of us put down sloppy gang vocals on a couple tracks, then Filbert added a really 'drunk' sounding guitar mini-solo using a beer bottle as a slide. The piece de resistance was added when I recorded a huge beer belch from Ben for the middle, following the 'harmony' version of the 'guitar solo'. Wow...
Once the demo was done, several separate overdub sessions were done for fiddle (handled expertly by Glasgow's Sam Craft) and upright bass (by Greg Schatz, who's also the best accordion player in the city.) Ryan Worthington, with whom I was joking when I thought up the song, contributed (via internet) a 'Snoopy'-style jaw harp track that really added a lot of character to the recording. Charlie Brown added a harmonica track for some spice, and Larry 'Dr. Gangrene' Underwood contributed some in-character 'grill-master' bits (I'd been wanting to team up with him on a song for some time.) Finally, the piece de resistance, the zombie noises at the end were contributed via internet by a legion of our wonderful and dedicated fans, without whom this would make even less sense than it already does!
Electric guitars.......Chris Flattmann
Acoustic guitars.......Chris Lenox
Lead & harmony vocals..Lewis D'Aubin
Upright bass...........Greg Schatz
Jaw harp...............Ryan Worthington
Special appearance by Larry Underwood as Dr. Gangrene
Backing vocals.........Lewis D'Aubin, Chris Flattmann, Ben Beamis
Zombie mob.............David Loti, Billy Riecke, Ron Ainsworth, Eric Beletto, Glenn Barbarot, Glenn Grass, Joseph Grabko, Buddy Burkhamer, Marie Galtier, Cos Solo, Jered Perez, Louie Bankston, Melissa Crory, Caesar Meadows, Carrie Dahlby, Weland and Dylan Bourne
Recorded and mixed Winter 2009 at C.O.G. Secret Lab, New Orleans LA