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Thats's right, kids... a look back at the illustrous past of the Upstart Pipsqueaks. In honor of our anniversary here at Hybrid Magazine, we've taken the time to dig up a really old column... back before, before, before cute sounds and clever artwork. Back before interractivities and coloring contests. Back before rock and roll...

Napster of puppets

This week Skid and Rux are pleased to bring you a special political edition of the Upstart Pipsqueaks, where we take a look at issues confronting the youth of today. As always, the opinions expressed here-in are not representative of the opinions of Hybridmagazine.com, and should in no way be misconstrued as such. The lawyers are already hounding us & and we don't like it. Therefore, the Upstart Pipsqueaks have never utilized backwards masking technology, and in no way support the facilitation of free-range Judas Priest. Please send all comments, suggestions, and green chile recipes to: Upstarts@hybridmagazine.com

And now, Metallica: Master of Puppets

-battery-

Skid: Hello Springfield! Are you ready to suck? I said...

Skid & Rux: ARE YOU READY TO SUCK???

Skid: That really is some nice classical guitar work.

Rux: Now, these guys DO play their own instruments. Oh, there you go, he ruined the whole thing.

Skid: That's the kind of stuff they got ripped on for doing later on though. Playing the acoustics... And I guess as a lead, the fans don't like it.

Rux: Now, these guys are an American heavy metal band, and yet they maintain the Swedish heavy metal ties, with names like Lars Ulrich and Ross Halfin; and it's engineered by Flemming Rasmussen. You tell me that's not a Danish name.

Skid: Hmm. Damned spoon-benders.

Rux: Angry... Angry young men.

Skid: Oh, now this is where it all falls apart... just a little short wank there. I like the crunching, and I like the drive and the rhythms. They actually do use a lot of different, interesting rhythms, at least in beginning there.

Rux: Yeah, we've already had a tempo change, a drastic mood change, and we're only one minute into the album. Oh... here comes the solo! Here comes the solo, I think... No, just a tempo change.

Skid: Now keep it simple, boys.

Rux: No, there is going to be some severe wanking going on.

Skid: I know. I feel it. Can you feel it? They're just leading up to it. Ahhh. There it is.

Rux: That's the stuff!

Skid: Now, which dead bass player is on this?

Rux: dead bass player # 1: Cliff Burton.

Skid: Cliff... Straight outta metal shop... And into the arms... of Metallica. (laughter) And the wanker is?

Rux: I'm guessing that that was Kirk Hammett. Oh no, wait... he's the drummer. Lars Ulrich.

Skid: Lars... Lars is the drummer...

Rux: Kirk Hammett, then.

Skid: Okay. So he's still been with them.

Rux: I think the rest of the guys are still in the band.

Skid: How is it that now Kirk Hammett looks just like Dave Navarro and John Frusciante?

Rux: Well, that's what aging rock stardom will do to you.

Skid: I think there may be more to it than that... Has anyone ever seen Kirk Hammett and Dave Navarro and John Frusciante in the same place? (laughter)

Rux: All right, this is 1986 Elektra Asylum records.

Skid: I was a junior in high school...

Rux: Elektra was doing great, great things at this time in the eighties. AND they were doing Metallica.

Skid: Polka! (sings) Un cha un cha un cha un cha un cha un cha un cha un cha.

Rux: Ahhh... this sketch goes on for 15 more minutes. Oh no, first song over. Woo hoo!

Skid: Really not too bad, aside from the wanking. Just as I've always said...

-master of puppets-

Skid: Keep it low, boys. Some crunching, crunching.

Rux: (sarcasm) This is the stuff man. This is 8 minutes and 38 seconds of pure heavy metal terror!

Skid: I have to say that everything I've heard from Metallica is so much better than anything Megadeth has done. While Metallica may have some wanking, it's not ALL based around that.

Rux: Riiiight... so you're saying Megadeth is all about wanking?

Skid: Oh god yes! And then the later, watered down stuff, where it's just his awful voice, and no power. Of course, that's not about him.

Rux: Now, who did Dave Mustaine replace in this band?

Skid: We'll have to go to VH-1 for that answer. But, they kicked him out because he liked the Beatles.

(laughter)

Skid &Rux: (sing in unison) Obey your Napster. Napster. Napster of puppets, I'm pulling your strings.

(Uproarious laughter)

Rux: Metallica is an English teacher's nightmare. It's fragments. There's not a single complete sentence in the whole deal. Frankly, I'm outraged.

Skid: Fragment rock.

Skid &Rux: (sing) Napster of puppets, I'm pulling your strings... Napster! Napster!

Skid: Now, how far into the song is the wank? Three fourths?

Rux: No, no. I'm sure in an 8 minute song, we'll get at least 2 or 3 good wanks in. We're two and a half minutes in? There should be one coming up here in about 30 seconds.

Skid &Rux: (sing) Obey your bastard. Bastard. Bastard of puppets, I'm pulling your strings!

Hamster. Hamster! Hamster of puppets, I'm pulling your strings!

Rux: Blaster?

Skid: I already did...

Rux: Now you see... the song could end there. Three minutes in. But, there is still 5 minutes of the song left.

Skid: It seems like it ends.

Rux: Yes, but now we've got the heavy metal slow-down. And here goes your token Metallica part. You've got your descending minor scales...

Skid: This wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't the twin guitar line that I hate so much. It just sets off something in my head.

Rux: Okay. So, three and a half minutes of rock song, and then a mellow bridge, and then another 3 minutes of rock song? That's my guess.

Skid: I'd imagine. Oh, the first guitar solo was by Hetfield. I should have read that, because that would indicate there was going to be another one coming.

Rux: Hey, there's an 8 minute instrumental on this album. How fast do you think we'll be hitting the skip button on that one?

Skid: Oh, no. We'd better hear it, because there's going to be a bass solo in there. (sarcasm)

Rux: Okay... We're building up to get back into the rock song here... We're 5:15...

Skid: I hear some chunk chunks. Okay, it's bringing me back in. It's bringing me back in from the hallway of the amphitheater.

Skid &Rux: (sing) Slasher! Slasher! Plaster! Plaster! Gassed her! Gassed her! Pastor! Pastor!

Rux: I think these kids were laughed at during school. What do you think?

Skid: I would imagine...

Rux: Oh see! We're going to have 3 minutes of shredding.

Skid: I'm getting a nosebleed.

Rux: How do you like the ascending minor scale there?

Skid: I say practice at home. If you're going to play, play.

Rux: Hey! He just described the whole sound of Metallica.

Skid: "Hell is worth all that, natural habitat?"

Rux: No. "Just a rhyme without a reason."

Skid &Rux: (sing) Obey your Pasteur. Lambast her! Harassed her!

Rux: We need to think of more rhymes...

Skid &Rux: (sing) Pap smear! Pap smear! Pap smear of muppets, It's pulling my strings!

(dissolve into laughter)

Rux: (sings) Sheister! Sheister! (laughter)

Skid: Hetfield's vocals are... again, it's just a utility device. They're not doing a whole lot here. Sometimes his rhythms are off. He's trying to stuff things in where they don't belong.

Rux: Yes. Sometimes he uses a very long lyric fragment to go in a very short space of time.

Skid: Some people can make that work, but & He's missing them.

Rux: This music is too fast to fit that many words in... legibly and nicely. All right. That's 2 songs down.

-the thing that should never be-

Rux: It s one of those bands that tricks you into thinking the songs going to be good. (laughter) And then they go and blow it.

Skid: See, another interesting rhythm though

Rux: Yes... The percussion does a little counter-rhythmic thing. It's really very nice. I mean, coming from the background of the only time I ever heard this crap was through the wall when my brother was cranking it... It's not quite as bad as I remember. But I would still prefer to listen to a Wagnerian opera. Because all they've really done is replace the screaming fat women with screaming, hellacious guitars.

Skid: I d rather hear Metallica than any opera.

Rux: I can't understand a damned word he's saying. No wait... I got that one. I think this is the ballad. What do you think? It's like the slower song...

Skid: Yeah. This is really an extension of the Queen and glam rock stuff that went before. All the melodrama, and it is operatic.

Rux: Here's a guitar solo... oh, maybe not. I don't hear any bass guitar on this album, unless the thing with all the chorus on it is the bass. This album would not hold up to today's high standards of heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy bass. It's very top heavy. Trebley. All the better to rip your head off, my pretty.

Skid: Oh yes, the screaming watery twin-line guitar solo is almost welcome at this point in the song.

Rux: I think they learned the head banging from watching their parents smashing their heads against the wall trying to stop the music. Trying to get it out of their heads. So the head banging is just without the wall.

Skid: I like when they play... Faster. Faster. Faster of puppets you're pulling my strings.

(laughter)

Rux: I like the part where Twisted Sister was filming their video and Pee Wee rode his bike through. That was my favorite part...

Skid: (mouth full of pickle and pumpernickel sandwich) Oh Ruuux, this song is the thing that should not be.

Rux: I agree.

Skid: (mouth still full) A fade out? Oh my god!

Rux: That's the longest fade-out in the history of rock. Back in those days, 15 second fade-outs. Welcome home!

-welcome home (sanitarium)-

Skid: There are some songs, you can tell are written the music first, and some songs that you can tell that are written the lyrics first. This song, the music was written first, and the lyrics were probably written separately, and then they tried to make the words fit in. And it doesn't work.

Rux: So far though, this is the song with the most promise, as far as I'm concerned. Because there are some non-fragmentary lyrics.

Skid: Well, my friend. I guess that you and I will have to agree to disagree. This song was reworked later, in a little song that we call... The Unforgiven.

Rux: I dub THEE unforgiven, dude. Oh no! They ruined the song. They sped it all up.

Skid: They made it good. They finally shifted gears and are starting to drive.

Rux: Okay, so this is the part where they wrote the song to match the lyrics. Because the lyrics became all fragmentary.

Skid: He's just trying to express the confusion... of being mentally ill. Uh uh uh... You lost it! It's all gone to hell now. Keep away from that whammy bar!

Rux: There's your Queen influence. Right there. I think we can safely say that Metallica is the soundtrack for a generation of auto shop mechanics who are angry that they have to walk to the other side of the school to get to the smoking lounge.

Skid: Now, that's actually very accurate. I'm sorry, Tim, if you're reading this.

Rux: You think it's over? It's not over... These are a bunch of song ideas that they never wrote into full songs, so they are just expressing them here at the end of this song.

Skid: Double bass double bass double bass double bass double bass

-disposable heroes-

Rux: They got a new effects pedal for this one.

Skid: The Loooone ranger.

(laughter)

If they keep it on that level...

Rux: Oh, they won't.

Skid: I can always hope.

Rux: Maybe for 4 minutes of the 8 minute song they'll keep it there...

Skid: Oh fer ........... (sings) Inna gadda da vida honey...

Rux: See, they ruined it. Right there.

Skid: I don't know & They've still got me. I'm still okay.

Rux: There are some interesting chord progressions here, but they go by so fast, you don't have time to figure it out.

Skid: He does seem to have a problem with verbs.

Rux: Except for Kill. Kill seems to be a very prominent verb.

Skid: But he's using it as the noun predicate... to kill. Is that right?

Skid &Rux: (sing in unison) "Mr. Morton is the subject of the sentence, and what the predicate says, he does." (laughter)

Rux: Okay, how many bands use "the back on the front"?

Skid: I've never heard it.

Rux: There was one that used it... (Sings) "The back on the front, oh wo ow wo ow." It was the Call... What were these metal guys rebelling against?

Skid: Well, life's tough in San Francisco. You're on the front lines there, really.

Rux: But it wasn't just them, it was everybody.

Skid: There's a lot of hills to walk up...

Rux: I don't think metal was ever the voice of the rebellion.

Skid: It's not that they were rebelling against, they were rebelling for.

Rux: (cartoon dog) Huh?

Skid: It's a hesher thing. You wouldn't understand. (sings) "The successful life we're living, got us feuding like the Hetfields and McCoys."

Rux: The timelessness, however of this music... If you listen to heavy metal done today, it's going to sound just like this.

Skid: Like who?

Rux: (pauses) I don't know.

Skid: Slipknot?

Rux: No thanks. It just seems to me like the genre has not advanced.

Skid: It's like everything. It gets watered down. So now, it's Creed and Orgy, and that stuff.

Rux: That draws more from the 90's grunge thing more than this.

Skid: Well, that's it... It's throwing 2 or three things in together. Like the funk thing.

Rux: OH please! KIDS, for God's sake, DON'T MIX THE FUNK. (sings) "Mama told me not to funk."

Skid: This is why, everybody later on was getting upset with Metallica, with And Justice For all and then with the black album, and the ones after that... they were being accused of selling out, but they weren't doing as many screaming guitar solos. And then, when they cut their hair, they almost eliminated them completely, from the stuff that I've heard. So for me, they keep getting better and better.

-leper messiah-

Rux: But now they've turned into a grunge band.

Skid: As they sell out...

Rux: So does selling out equate to maturing?

Skid: Not as such, no... I can just tolerate them better. Is this a David Bowie tribute?

Rux: But I think musically, especially musically, they've matured.

Skid: Yes. But socially, now they are on the forefront... back to the front... fighting Napster. That's their battle. That's who they're rebelling against. The kids and their fans that want to download their crappy ass-music. How many kids have been recording music off the radio for years? If they make Napster pay royalties, problem solved. Everybody run along.

Rux: There's nothing like biting the hand that feeds. Nothing quite so satisfying.

(laughter)

I can honestly say that never before in my life have I watched the time meter on an album go by so slowly.

Skid: Did I miss the guitar solo?

Rux: One of them... there'll be another.

Skid: Oh, thank god. I kind of hear the inklings of a twin guitar line coming, in tribute to every southern rock album they ever heard.

Rux: The shop TEACHERS listen to the southern rock, the shop STUDENTS listen to the heavy metal.

Skid: I think you're on to something there.

Rux: Can't they all just get along.

Skid: The shop teachers can't do the air guitar so good. What with all the missing fingers and such. That's where this came from... (flashes heavy metal death hand signal thingy)

Rux: (groan) shhhh... secret devil sign.

Skid: I hear bass. I hear bass. I like that... they keep the bass going underneath the crunching style. I'm not especially keen on the tones they are putting down, but... "Circus comes to town, you play the lead clown." I think this is all just drawn out high school angst. Yeah, his rhythms aren't working here, either. "gripped by his glamour..."

Rux: How do they spell glamour?

Skid: G- L- A- M- O- U- R.

Rux: Wow, they put the U in... Those guys put the U in heavy metal.

(laughter)

Skid: He needs to learn how to use "the"... It's a little schoolhouse Metallica. Noun indicators and noun predicates.

Rux: Here it comes... 1... 2... 3... 4... go... Aaiiigh.

Skid: All right. See if they just noodle around a little bit, keep it nice and simple, I'm with them. I'm one hundred percent behind them on that. (6 measures later) Ergh. Boys, what have you done to me? (sings something resembling flight of the bumblebee)

Rux: And here's a minute of guitar solo to wind it up.

Skid: Quit playing with that thing! (sings) du du duh Bonanzaaaa!

Rux: They sure do squeeze in a lot of words about nothing, though.

Skid: Yeah, but ending things with "Heaven you will meet", that's pretty elementary. Elementary, my dear... elementary.

Rux: Another song fragment. We would have used this in another song...

Skid: And we did! I think those are just little hints, as to the song they're going to do in three albums.

-orion-

Rux: You are going to love this... Time for the 8 minute instrumental. The longest fade in in the history of rock. Fade in, fade out, fade in, fade out...

Skid: There's going to be some serious wanking on this...

Rux: At least one drum solo, I'm sure...

4 minutes later...

Skid: Twin guitar line! Hey dude, is that freedom rock? Well, turn it up!

Rux: This is totally southern rock. Aaaall the way. It hurts. Its burns.

Skid: Ow! My synapses.

Rux: It's like a very, very bad dance of the sugarplum faeries... I just can't wait for that second guitar solo.

Skid: It is the sugarplum faeries. This is not the only waltz that they have done, but the other was the acoustic Nothing Else Matters & and that was all right.

Rux: I'll take your word for it.

Skid: Queen, queen, queen. One, two, queen. One, two, queen .

Rux: None too clean.

(laughter)

And now we know where Joe Satriani borrowed it from, too.

Skid: Dueling banjos.

Rux: This 8 minute instrumental is like 12 songs all thrown together. Yeah, I love your stuff ! Freedom Rock! They can't figure out what they want to do. If they want to be Queen, or if they want to be Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Skid: You don't have to use that end of the fret board. Bring it back down.

Rux: (mouth full of pickle sandwich) This is the longest album of my life.

Skid: Oh no, a fade out! You've got to be kidding me. I didn't hear the bass solo... probably a couple notes. Well, Rux, we've come to the end.

Rux: (sings) This is the end, my only friend, the end.

Skid: It seems to me that this is the shortest song .

-damage inc.-

Rux: Oh looky, a fade in.

3 minutes later...

Rux: He's talking about Chico and the man.

Skid: What's he saying?

Rux: He's talking about Chico and the man !

Skid: Shuh uhhh. I did hear that Freddy Prinze, jr. loves them.

Rux: Metallica? Or Chico and the man?

(big laughs)

See? He's talking about Chico and the man.

Skid: Maybe it was Sammy Davis, jr. They give yahoos to the Young Ones & Oh, I see & where they write "damage i. n. c." they actually say, "Chico and the man".

Rux: I told you, "Chico and the man."!!!

Skid: If you play this backwards, it says, "Turn me on, Dead-Chico and the man."

Rux: Shut your mouth.

Skid: Hey! I'm just talking about Chico and the man.

 

For the record:

Our own fragments: 31

Willie Nelson references: 5

 


Mike Doughty



none now
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