The first song recorded on The Change Music Variety Show EP was called “The Sweet Weaving Dancer.” Though I remember I wrote the song and lyrics myself, I also remember many of Slash Brannon’s lines and ideas were part of the song and he has the co-credit for writing it. Rico De Bool claims to have written the bizarre, shuffling refrain, but I remember writing it, too, and find it hard to believe that I could have learned something so guitar-centric from Joe, who played bass. I guess that we worked it out together somehow.
The conceit of the EP being like one of our comedy tapes was typical of our thinking. Having Dice Mosely introduce the recording was unanimously agreed by all.
I was very proud to have been the only person to have obtained an actual U.S. Copyright on the childhood doggerel that opens the song. I used to brag that every time I kid sang that song he owed me royalties. I never thought, being 18 years old myself, that maybe kids had stopped singing this particular song in the last decade or so. I wonder if anyone born in the late seventies or later has even ever heard this song:
Girls are made of greasy grimy gopher guts
Mentholated monkey meat
Chicken’s little dirty feet
French fried eyeballs rolling down a dirty street
That’s what Jambox loves!
A dancer hasn’t got the answer, she’s only a prancer
until she’s the Sweet Weaving Dancer.
I’m not talking bout your mother, I’m talking to you,
And your little sister, too.
Little kids of America, we’re talking to you,
You’re intelligent too - and let’s prove it now!
Everybody right now must get fucked up (actually sung: plugged in)
Everybody must stay high, at least for this party.
We don’t need no pedigree girls tickling curls, stay stray!
You gotta party to play.
You know that you’ve got to party hearty to play
Because this is the law around here
Head for the bar, no matter who you are
We’re not gonna funk near, we’re gonna funk far
Far beyond the farthest star.
Meanwhile back inside the mind of the girl I love
I find her entrancing, but she isn’t dancing!
A dancer hasn’t got the answer until she’s dancing
Dots all do the dance!
I find you entrancing my dear, but you never know
until you’re dancing, entrancing, you gotta party to play! Stay stray!
Dance dance, dance dance, dance
I can do more than just…
Never too cool to…
I just quit school to…
Unbreakable rule to…
I’m much too young to…
Gotta be twenty-one to…
I’m always the fool who’ll…
I can do more than just…
Let’s get up on top of it!
The song started out as a birthday song for a friend of Rico’s, who we hoped would share drugs with us in return. Whether or not he had drugs is impossible to ascertain all these years later, but we believed he did, with the over-excited delusional pothead glee we had for everything intoxicating back then. The song was called Rich Bitch, and had words like “...a bitch ain’t nothin’ but a bitch, unless she’s a rich bitch,” which I guess we all thought was pretty funny when there were no girls around to destroy the illusion of male privilege. But the whole band thing was about attracting girls, not insulting them, so it was kind of a waste of a song after the party was over.
Feeling a vague sense of dissatisfaction with this lyrical bent, I somehow decided to bring my favorite romantic poetical conceit into it instead. I had written a series of tiny prose poems about an ideal dream girl I called The Sweet Weaving Dancer. Though she was not any girl in particular, she was most like Anne Marie O’Conner, who we all worshipped in our own way, except Slash.
This song was chosen to be the leadoff song because of the manic headlong beat and for the way it called out some of the more typical elements of the Jambox P-Funk Playpen philosophy. Also, it showcased the Changels, our beuatiful teenaged West End girls backup singers. The lineup for the Changels on this song was Tammy Stone, Annie Byrne and Sue Leonard.
First off, you have to understand that we all grew up in urban St. Louis around tough cool black kids. We had a shared vocabulary that we assumed everyone else got as easily as we. And we had all come to worship, above every other band ever, the whole Parliament/Funkadelic thang of the 1970s. We aspired to have the same little kid appeal as Bootsy. Slash was the inspiration in this, I think. He loved little snotty kid brattishness and brought it out often when we did our comedy tapes. We agreed that kids were treated with less respect than they deserved, and that when we were kids nobody appreciated our intelligence as much as they should have.
Then, in the second verse, Slash kicked in some classic drunken party lyrics that were left over from the original birthday song. I brought in the cracks about pedigreed girls, and threw in a couple of my favorite catch phrases, Stay Stray and You gotta party to play. Then the lyrics shifted back to drunkenness.
In the last verse I tried to bring back the romantic yearnings for the perfect girl, while still entreating this generic girl to dance, a common lyrical exhortation of the disco days.
Throughout the whole song you hear side cracks, prepared yelps and jokes, all to suggest the wild, party-crazed atmosphere of a real Jambox show up in the attic at the P-Funk Playpen on Victor Street in South St. Louis. You hear The Changels singing “Dance dance, dance dance, dance”.
Fojammi was responsible for producing and recording this mess, and I have to admit that he couldn’t have done a much better job. Jambox actually sounded much worse than this recording might suggest.