Song Of The Day 8/26/2013: Black Velvet Flag - "Institutionalized"

Mental Health Week: This is, of course, the Suicidal Tendencies punk standard from 1983, reinterpreted by cocktail parodists Black Velvet Flag at a live show at CBGB's back in 1994. Other artists BVF put through the wringer that night were Black Flag (duh x2), Circle Jerks, the Germs, T.S.O.L., Fear and Adolescents. They also took care of The Sex Pistols and The Monkees at the same time with "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone." Come Recline With Black Velvet Flag modeled itself as an audio spoof of The Decline Of Western Civilization, with some interview segments sprinkled in between the songs. It's good for one listen at least and certainly funnier than the infamous Grunge Lite compilation, but "Institutionalized" was the gold nugget. We were all honing our irony around that time. We were kind of new to it. I wouldn't have known irony if it squirted itself all over my copy of the first Alanis Morissette album*. In a way BVF's version of this song is more insane than Mike Muir's. BVF singer Fred Stesney sounds like he could be a finely tuned sociopath, much more of a neighborhood threat than the skater who shoots his mouth off. Nobody will be fine. Nobody is going to figure things out. And nobody-I-mean-nobody is going to get a Pepsi.

Black Velvet Flag made the most out of their 15 allotted minutes (actually more like 18 months). They got good press and were actually named "Best Unsigned Band" in Rolling Stone's 1994 Critics' Poll. They have a current Facebook page. They're dormant (although Stesney now plays with a very good folk band called Bobtown) and don't seem to be headed back. But everyone's got a price, don't they? Think we can talk 'em into doing to emo what we all desperately want to see done to emo?
*I actually never owned a copy of Jagged Little Pill, though a few of my ex-girlfriends did.
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