Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Dr. Heckyll, Mr. Jive & George W. Bush

On August 17, 1998, while playing a set in Austin, Texas at Lucifer’s Happy Bar and Smelting Laboratory, I noticed an unusual group of people sitting at one of the corner tables in the back of the joint. It took me a while to figure it out, but eventually I recognized them. It was
George W. Bush and his entourage. Bush was wearing a bright yellow three-piece suit, while the members of his entourage were all wearing the same black jump suit with matching hats and dark glasses.

The presence of Governor Bush excited me. The only dignitary that had ever watched me perform previously had been former President
Gerald Ford. He had been on hand at our Counter-Live Aid festival near JFK Stadium in Philadelphia in July of 1985. Live Aid attempted to feed the dying children of Africa, but ours was a more ambitious venture. We sought to feed the cats of the dying children of Africa.

Our festival wasn’t as successful as its counterpart. While Live Aid was able to coax Phil Collins into flying across the pond to perform at both venues, we were only able to get the surviving members of
Strawberry Alarm Clock to do so. Live Aid had the highly successful Michael Jackson/Quincy Jones composition “We Are The World” while we had the wildly inappropriate Joe Walsh/Jello Biafra screed “Eat the Pope!!” All told we raised well over $57 thanks to a last minute donation from the University of Michigan.

The thing I regret the most about my 1985 encounter with Ford is that I didn’t invite him up on stage to sing with me. 13 years later I wasn’t going to pass up another opportunity, so after jamming the last few bars of “Harry the Killer Verb” I invited the Governor up on stage to sing
Men At Work’s 1982 hit “Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive” with me.

What happened next was, to say the least, unexpected. Governor Bush mumbled something about Bobby Valentine and took off in a full sprint toward myself and the stage. A beat after he took off, his entourage of eight fanned out and slowly approached the edges of the stage. I assumed Bush was a big Men At Work fan and anxious to start singing.

As it turned out, the opposite was true. Not only was George W. Bush not a big Men At Work fan, he considered Men At Work to be his mortal enemies. Apparently back in 1981, George W. Bush sent a fan letter to Colin Hay asking for his autograph. Hay never responded.

Months passed and Bush’s bitterness grew. At first, the 35-year-old Bush figured they were busy answering other fan mail and would eventually get to his letter. By the release of their second album, “Cargo” in 1982, Bush had grown manic and paranoid. He began interpreting the songs on the album as secret messages of hate directed specifically towards him.

By June of 1983, Bush had gone mad. He had painted the entire interior of his Houston mansion black, and was spending up to 23 hours a day plotting against Men At Work. The month of April consisted of writing letters to every newspaper in the country calling for the extradition of Men At Work so they could be tried for crimes against humanity. May was not much better as he collected over 50,000 Men At Work tapes, records, lunch boxes, and assorted memorabilia and had it burned in a great bonfire in College Station, Texas.

By July of 1983, George W. Bush’s dad
George Bush was becoming increasingly worried about his son’s bizarre behavior. With a Presidential election coming up, Vice President Bush had to get his eponymous son straightened out somehow. So George Bush planned the mother of all interventions.

On July 4, 1983, Vice President George Bush flew down to Houston with 187 members of the CIA. They entered George W. Bush’s mansion at 11:00 PM. Bush instructed his son that it was high time he straightened out his life. George W. Bush ignored his father and continued sculpting the macramé statue of Colin Hay which he was going to burn in effigy later that night. Father Bush covertly signaled CIA operative (NAME WITHHELD) who injected Son Bush with a mystery CIA serum that immediately rendered him unconscious.

George W. Bush awoke three days later in Baghdad mentoring with Saddam Hussein.

Anyway, my invitation to sing a Men At Work song caused Bush to snap. He jumped up on the stage and began trashing our equipment. As we tried to defend ourselves and our equipment, members of Bush’s entourage would zap us with cattle prods. Nothing escaped Bush’s wrath. His rage fuelled adrenaline rush even allowed him to throw a bassoon completely through one of the walls of the club.

Eventually Governor Bush calmed down. His entourage calmly gathered the club’s patrons and paid them each huge sums of cash to “forget” about what had just happened. Bush quietly exited stage left and two minutes later, the club was empty. I surveyed the stage and noticed every piece of equipment I owned was destroyed beyond proper use.

I also noticed something that made me sad. George W. Bush had made off with the original, penned-in-blood lyrics to my epic song “The Sun is My Life Partner”. I could easily replace the equipment, but the lyrics I simply couldn’t do without.

The next day I went to the Governor’s mansion to retrieve my stolen song lyrics. I rang the door bell and George W. Bush answered. Bush stared at me silently for a minute. I eventually broke the silence and demanded that he return my song lyrics. Bush said nothing. He pulled from his breast pocket a green plastic kazoo, and blew it. Within five seconds a house servant arrived with a beautiful ivory husk. He handed Bush the husk and then there were stars.

Apparently, Bush had knocked me unconscious with the large ivory husk. He then kazooed for his house servant again who promptly returned with a large potatoe sack. Bush, with the help of the servant, threw me into the sack, dragged me to the back of the Governor’s Ford Expedition and drove nonstop south to the Mexican border where he summarily dumped me into the Rio Grande.

The only reason I knew that Bush had done these things while I was unconscious is because Juan the tambourine player was lurking behind one of Governor Bush’s many statues of Jesus Christ (taxpayer-funded of course) filming the entire thing on his beta-max video recorder. Like Marty McFly in
Back to the Future, Juan grabbed a nearby skateboard, grabbed the bumper of the Expedition and followed along. How he managed to stay on the skateboard for the entire journey through south Texas is beyond me, but I’m just happy he did. His final shot of Bush throwing the sack filled with me into the river is priceless.

Juan and I sat on the footage for a while. We were tempted into selling it to CNN during the 2000 election but ultimately held off. I decided instead to try to trade the tape for my beloved song lyrics. I was planning to travel to Washington on August 17, 2004 to make my offer as it would be the sixth anniversary of the seminal event, and according to “Chaelo’s Book of Numerology”, “6” is the seminal number.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to make the trade. It turns out that Juan only has one beta-max tape for his beta-max video recorder. When I was attacked last month in Butte, Montana, Juan taped over the George W. Bush beating and kidnapping caper with the Arnold Rampkin leg beating caper.

Now I will have to devise a new strategy to get my lyrics back. Regardless, there is one thing I know for sure. I cannot in good conscience endorse George W. Bush for President in 2004.

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