Friday, August 31, 2007

"Baby, Let's Be Methodists Tonight"

What the early 1990s wrought, in addition to the Clintons and the Internets, was a plethora of satirical, acoustic alt-rock parodies of Christianity. Among them: "No Resistin' a Christian" by the litigious Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie, which appeared on the late 1991 SST Acoustic compilation and the far more amusing "Baby, Let's Be Methodists Tonight" by Fish Karma, from 1991's Teddy in the Sky with Magnets. I first heard Fish Karma's tune on a college radio station sometime in the early 1990s, although I never caught the name of the artist. Time was, when a radio listener would catch a snippet of an interesting song on the radio, he could not simply race home, Google the lyrics, and determine the tune's title or artist. I assumed though, from its refrain, that the song's title was "Baby, Let's Be Methodists Tonight." I remember laughing with a friend as we heard the following over the car stereo:
M is for the meat loaf I'll eat every Wednesday,
E is for entropy, I don't know what that means,
T is for the tempo I'll drive to work,
H is for the hours I'll spend working on my putt,
O is for oat meal, orange juice and oregano,
D is for the dishwasher singing in the morning,
I is for the ice cube maker in my freezer,
S is for the spice wracks nailed to the wall,
T is for the trump card that I'll play, when I'm doing contact bridge with all my friends and neighbors, AAAH!
We referenced the "entropy" line for weeks and weeks until it ultimately fell from our memory, as such things inevitably do. Years later, the lyrics resurfaced in my mind, and I turned to the search engines to discover the band that had years earlier released the song. The Internets offered little information on Fish Karma, but I managed to determine the album on which the song appeared and somehow found a copy on eBay for an acceptable price.

Unlike Jethro Tull, "Fish Karma" is the name of a guy in the band, albeit it an alias for Terry Owen. Produced by Mojo Nixon and released on Triple X Records, Teddy in the Sky with Magnets managed to snag a single paragraph review in the November 1991 issue of Playboy:
Fish Karma intermittently suffers from obviousness on teddy in the sky with magnets (Triple X). Anyone who ridicules working-class culture by mentioning K mart, as in Swap Meet Women, can make no claim to unadulterated originality. I nonetheless like his song titles (e.g., Baby, Let's Be Methodists) and his free association: "Love is like a large piece of cheesecloth attached to a revolving bowling ball covered with fructose and postage stamps."
(Far be it from me to correct sixteen year old typographical errors, but the Playboy review, by one Charles M. Young, misnames "Swap Meet Woman" and truncates the final word from the title of "Baby, Let's Be Methodists Tonight," oversights which were probably noticed that year only by Fish Karma himself.). In the album's very brief liner notes, he offers special thanks to Ronnie James Dio (to whom he would later pay tribute in "Poodlecide" [MP3 excerpt from Deep Shag Records] in 2001) and Jello Biafra, who would later describe Fish Karma's music as "your basic FUGS-style electric grunge folk, and his lyrics feature some of the meanest put-downs of American consumer culture I've heard in years." After two more albums in the 1990s, Fish Karma released Lunch with the Devil on Deep Shag Records in 2001 and The Theory of Intelligent Design on Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label in 2006.

Fish Karma dabbled at blogging, apparently, but his blog is now long deceased. A email to him asking about the "Baby, Lets Be Methodists Tonight" went unanswered.


Anonymous said...

I never answered an email? That's outrageous! I always answer all correspondence. I mean, I WOULD answer correspondence if I ever received any. Which I don't.

That's poignant, isn't it?

Fish Karma

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Keri said...

I can't tell you how long I've wanted to find this song. I had it on a cassette tape recorded from KTRU. The tape was lost or destroyed long ago. I guess I stopped searching for it online several years ago, but tried it again on a whim and finally was able to download it and hear it after at least a decade. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I too heard it on college radio WWSP. Once but the lyrics stuck in my head. Today i decide to find out what it was... 23 years later.