SONG OF THE WEEK #17: Chop Socky Chooks Demo

Chop Socky Chooks DEMO by smallsins

Remember weeks ago when I posted a version of ‘Threw It All Away,’ with Les rapping on top? And how that was supposed to be the only other known instance of rapping over Small Sins music? Well it looks like I forgot one. This is even older, and features none other than our Steve as the rapper! The thought that such a thing exists is making me chuckle the same way I did when we made this together oh so long ago. OMG. Hilarious.

It seems like a lot of the tracks that have been making it here are pieces of music that were rejected by their intended users; this one is no exception. Years ago there was an open call to write a theme song for a cartoon called ‘Chop Socky Chooks’, for which various local indie rockers were submitting tunes. This was long before I ever started writing for any television or advertising, and one of the first things I can remember submitting on a corporate level. Steve and I got together one afternoon and banged this off. 

I feel like if I were recording this song today, it would be a whole lot better. There is a whole lot of fat to trim. We should have made a 30-second version that gets to Steve’s rap much more quickly. Sonically there is a lot to be desired as well, and these days I would have gone way overboard with a harmony as opposed to my puny little falsetto, but I guess hindsight is 20/20. You can’t deny how funny this is to us though. I mean: It’s Steve… rapping.. I don’t know how to put it into words, but man… Priceless.

I often fantasize about re-doing old material. I feel like if I knew then what I know now, there are a lot of things I would have attacked differently. Especially some really old Carnations stuff. 

On our first record, ‘Superluminal’, we mixed the vocals really low. This was because I couldn’t sing, and everyone knew it. We figured if we buried my voice enough, people might not notice. One of the songs on that record was called ‘Let Me Be Your Ferris Bueller’, which I recently sold to a documentary on the life of John Hughes (appropriately titled: ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’). Luckily, because the vocals were so quiet on the original, I was able to overdub a completely new vocal take. I tried to mimic the sound of my voice fourteen years ago – it was slightly higher-pitched, and MORE nasal back then than it is now, believe it or not – and once the overdub was completed, you couldn’t hear the old one at all. So essentially it’s a duet between my 31-year old and my 17-year old selves.

I mentioned to Steve the other day about sometimes imagining re-doing more of that old stuff. He told me that was ‘perverted.’ I think he’s right: What’s done is done, and what’s on record stands. I really liked some of those songs, though they just weren’t quite executed correctly. Specific lyrics bother me, production techniques, artwork, you name it. I don’t hate it all, but I truly believe most of it could have been so much better. I guess I have regrets. And it’s not that there is a never-ending road, and that what I’m doing now will be critiqued harshly by my sixty-year old self or something. I could feel back then what I didn’t like about what I was doing, but in frustration couldn’t figure out how to do it right.

But alas, my time needs to be focused on executing new material ‘correctly’, not re-living old frustrations. So, our deservedly rejected version of ‘Chop Socky Chooks’ in its original glory stands. What’s cool about this is that even though I might do this song differently today, the vibe is still there. A good song will always translate regardless of its presentation, a saving grace for so much of my old material. In cases where the vibe still translates, who cares about the quality? In cases where it doesn’t, maybe it just wasn’t a great song to begin with. Either way, there’s no need to waste my time revisiting anything at all.

Also, here is what they picked instead:

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