Episode 192: Workin’ Man’s Blues
(Featuring an assortment of musings on working, jobs, and how little fun they seem to be.)
On Friday, I found out that I landed a pretty good job. At least, by my standards. In my life I have been paid to do some pretty strange things, and have been paid in some pretty strange ways. Helping castrate goats often gets the most extreme looks, but helping rebuild server racks was just as odd when I was hired on the sly to come in on the weekends so no one could ask questions as to who I was. (Each job paid cash, under the table.) Most of my life has been spent learning to subist on the smallest of wages, the least amount of hours, and under the worst conditions, mostly because I’m really bad at having jobs.
I have never taken to work with any amount of enthusiasm. There is something about trading your time for money that leaves a really bad taste in my mouth, and I have constantly struggled against this like a young child in an itchy shirt. It just doesn’t seem right, and no amount of benefits salve has ever made it seem good. This is probably just my own natural aversion to capitalism, or perhaps I suffer from that same syndrome as great people like Rip Van Winkle or Fran Lebowitz. I have never been able to figure it out. To me, there has always been a relationship between people who are awful, and there relative “boss” level. Ever since my first gig working in a croissant factory, I have found managers to be dispicable.
However, this job is a little different. After slaving away in efforts to earn a degree, I have now gained a fairly respectable position in a place that not only pays well, but offers me all the things that real jobs show: respect, friendlyness, earnestness, and actual worth-while benefits that don’t seem like pennies thrown at you so they can watch you pick them up. My co-workers are genuine, and I actually look forward to work. Landing this job – in this economy – was a pretty big deal, and with jobs on the brain, I thought it would be worth it to explore the theme of work and jobs, and how various artists have gone about them in the past.
Humorously enough, in spite of being really happy about my job, it was very difficult to find any songs about people who like their jobs. My theory is that this has to do with the nature of Rock ‘n’ Roll in general: rebellion is such an integral part of rock music, that it is nearly impossible to write a song endorsing integration into the system. (With the exception of MX-80’s “Thank You Boss,” a meandering drone about a narrator who is extremely thankful for the employment his boss has offered him.) I really did try do my best, and managed to fill a few requests, but sadly there are just no positive songs about jobs. Perhaps this informs my own thoughts about them, too?
As usual, I’ve included a few tracks by some of my favorite commedians, and a couple of songs by bands that have been particularly kind to me in the past. As I regularly love to point out, I am easily bribed, and if you would like to send me any of your releases or records (or even tapes, CDs, wax cylendars, etc.), they will most likely wind up on the show. I’ve been recently contacted by a number of bands, and so far they have been of fairly high quality. By all means, keep it up!
I am slowly amassing equipment to rebuild The Lava Lamp Lounge (here in Historic St. John’s, Oregon), so if you would like to sell any of your gear, please contact me. We’re looking for a cassette deck, at least two more microphones, and any kind of effects processors you may be looking to part with. We’re hoping to turn it into a robust studio, and the best way to do so is to buy things from people who know and love us.
See you in seven!
Workin’ Man’s Blues
Part I: Get A God Damn Job
01.) “Give Us The Tools And We’ll Finish The Job” * Winston Churchill
02.) Get A Job * The Silhouettes
03.) Le Travail [Excerpt] * The Work * Slow Crimes
04.) God Damn Job * The Replacements * Stink
05.) Die On Your Feet * Criminal Authority * Young, Loud and Shitty
06.) Shitty Jobs * Ashtray * The Power of Positive Drinking
07.) Forced Labor * Circle Jerks * Wild In The Streets
08.) I Wanna Get A Job In The City * The Kids * The Kids
09.) Four Yorkshiremen * Monty Python * The Final Rip Off
10.) Working Class Hero * The-Front * Riot Agents
Part II: I Don’t Want To Work
11.) Workin’ Hard Blues * Woodie Guthrie
12.) Worksong * Grails * Red Light
13.) Work For Your Money * Howlin’ Wolf * The Chess Box
14.) I Don’t Wanna Work For British Airways * Scissor Fits * Messthetics #101: D.I.Y. 1978 – 1981: London
15.) Unusual Occupations * Bob & Ray * The Lost Episodes, Vol. 4
16.) At My Job * Dead Kennedys * Frankenchrist
17.) Go To Work Drunk * Men’s Recovery Project * Grappling With The Homonids
18.) I Love My Job * Bill Hicks * Dangerous
19.) Take Stuff From Work * King Missle (Dog Fly Religion) * Fluting on the Hump
Part III: How Long Can This Go On?
20.) Welcome To My Job [Excerpt] * George Carlin * Occupation: Foole
21.) Work Song * Bib Set * It Wasn’t Meant To Happen
22.) Working In A Coalmine * Devo * Hardcore Devo Vol. 2
23.) All Day * Ministry
24.) Steelworker * Big Black * The Hammer Party
25.) Big Strong Boss * Swans * Filth
26.) Serious Business * Grex * Live At Home
27.) Stupid Day Job * Wally Pleasant
28.) Unusual Occupations * Bob & Ray * The Lost Episodes, Vol. 4