This blog is part 6 in an ongoing series and is the official transcript for the Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour podcast on Spotify. Listen to the episode now or go ahead and read on for the transcript below.
If you’re behind, jump back to a previous transcript here:
Introducing the Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour! (it’s a podcast)
Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour – S1 E2: Roman Candles
Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour – S1 E3: The Ghosts of Beverly Drive
Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour – S1 E4: Company Calls
Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour – S1 E5: Tiny Vessels
Welcome back to the Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour – it’s me, Death Bus, and today I’m sharing with you my first real acoustic cover of Death Cab For Cutie’s “60 And Punk”.
So I swear I’ve heard Thank You For Today several times but at some point a couple months ago it was as though I’d heard “60 And Punk” for the first time in my life and I lost my mind a little bit.
Has that ever happened to you?
It’s the strangest sensation and you spend a few minutes almost gaslighting yourself. “Maybe I’ve actually never heard this song before. No of course I have, it’s on this album, and I’ve heard this album. But what did he just say there? Play it again.”
It was like a spiritual awakening.
I don’t think I actually listened to Thank You For Today when it was released in 2018 though, but I really wish I’d been paying better attention then.
In 2018 I went through my own personal musical drought where I’d all but abandoned most of what I enjoyed listening to.
I call this period the dark ages.
It’s also when I got married, but let’s not get into that again so soon after my overshare on the Tiny Vessels episode.
Lyrically I love everything about 60 And Punk. And it’s a nice recording, but again it was one of those moments for me where I realized I could really bite into this a little more and give it some balls.
That might not be the best way to phrase it but, Ben has such a nice even steady angelic tone of voice when he sings and I just… I just don’t have that.
I have whatever you call it when you spend your formative years imitating Tom Delonge and Billie Joe Armstrong which is some weird midwest wheat fields California surf twang with a bunch of eastern Canadian idioms thrown in.
Like every time I try to make something sound sweet and pretty I just feel like a total imposter and it never has that flowery aroma that I wish so badly I was capable of.
I thought it’d be fun to riff off the lyrics as much as I could and replace the piano (because I have no keys), with just my acoustic guitar.
Sure, I could’ve added some lead guitar lines throughout, and I really almost did, but I wanted to keep this one more raw, more rhythmic, and focus more on delivering a powerful vocal than anything else.
I dug a lot into my own personal feelings and experiences for this one, thinking back to when I’d met certain people that I really admired and how bummed out I was when they didn’t quite present themselves the way I wished they had, or the way I’d built them up in my own mind.
It’s a strange sensation when you find yourself in the same room as some of your personal musical heroes or with people you know had a significant hand in some of your favourite records. The strangest part about it is… how normal everyone is.
I can count on one hand the artists who otherwise had an air of importance about them that clouded the recording experience – most artists I’ve met are really no different than me, they just have more interesting and colourful stories that include a lot more travel.
I really do wonder who inspired this song from Ben’s own life. It seems too literal not to be based in a true story. But maybe it’s better that I never find out.
And no, I didn’t try to google this one.
I mentioned when I initially released this song that one show this reminds me of is one I went to with my dad; we went to see Van Morrisson some years back and Van Morrisson did that thing he does where he just dips off stage and the band plays him off. It was a weird concert experience because I’d never seen anyone do that before and most of the crowd like me was confused and wondering if he was going to come back.
I didn’t know until very recently that Van Morrisson has struggled a lot with stage fright and learning that makes me look at that a lot differently now than I did then.
Sometimes you forget that performers can have those same fears that you have, especially the ones that make it look so effortless.
Anyway, here’s “60 And Punk”:
I know I’m taking some creative liberties already with these covers with the whole not totally copying the song and then doing things like repeating verses that didn’t originally repeat but, I’m having some fun with this and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little casual song experimentation.
At some point I want to do a full-band cover of this song because I just have so many ideas about how I can build further on it and I think it would sound great as a heavier rock song, but I am super stoked on how this sounds as is, too.
Next week will be the last episode in this season of the Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour – I know it went quick! You’ll want to stick around for it though, I’ll be premiering my new cover of “Bixby Canyon Bridge” right here on the podcast.
‘Til then, here’s Death Cab For Cutie’s original recording of “60 and Punk”.