#971: ‘Kill Surf City’ – The Jesus And Mary Chain

The Jesus And Mary Chain’s ‘Kill Surf City’ will probably go down in the history of this blog as one of, if not the only, parody song included in this list. Though, to be fair, unlike the “Weird Al” Yankovics of the world, this track isn’t exactly an obvious parody to a casual listener of music. In fact, one could easily be mistaken for believing this track is just some sort of fuzzed-out drug trip set to music.

First, some background. The Jesus And Mary Chain are a Scottish group, formed in 1983, based predominately around the partnership of brothers Jim and William Reid. If there is anything that needs to be known about the group, it’s that the Reid brothers were essentially the Noel and Liam Gallagher of the 1980s. Their wild antics, and crazy behaviour was quite infamous, though it all came to a head in Los Angeles in September 1999. Apparently, Jim Reid was far too drunk to play, William just walked off stage, and things pretty much just fizzled out from there. They’e back together now, and things are looking much more harmonious these days.

In 1987, the group released ‘April Skies‘, the first single from their second record Darklands, and their fifth single overall. The flipside of this single contained the track ‘Kill Surf City’, which was intended to be a parody of sorts of the track ‘Surf City‘, by Jan And Dean. Written by Jan Berry and Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, the original track is, as you’d probably expect, a stereotypically ’60s track about surf culture.

The Jesus And Mary Chain however, their track is completely removed from the original version. Musically and melodically, it’s relatively similar, however the original’s lyrics of “You know we’re goin’ to Surf City, gonna have some fun,” are replaced with “I’m gonna kill surf city with a loaded gun, got to hit surf city like a nuclear bomb.” Suddenly, the upbeat positive nature of the original is replaced by the dissonant droning of guitars and violent imagery.

Any ideas of romantic bliss are also completely removed, with the new track featuring lyrics such as “I hate honey and she hates me, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be. I’m gonna run, gonna run till I hit the sun, some evil cunt’s gonna get my gun.” If you were ever going to mix up two tracks on a mixtape you made for your crush, make sure it isn’t these two.

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