Slash and I loved his dogs Topaz and Cello, who were also David Udell's dogs. Topaz was the stray from nowhere, a medium yellow dog with gold eyes and short fur, tough and wise. He was the alpha dog, but he ran to East St. Louis when Fojammi and Slash had their famous accident on the old MacArthur Bridge going for beer at 4 o’clock one drunken morning. Slash rolled the VW bug with Fojammi riding the roof on one of the dangerous curves entering the bridge, and when Topaz heard the ambulance sirens he took off for the East side, never to be seen again. Fojammi, who should have been killed - legend has it that he lifted the entire car himself - ended up in the old City Hospital. We searched for Topaz for weeks.
But we loved Cello as much, and wrote this song for him long before Topaz split. Slash wrote the melody, and I put the chords to it, which are the same as Big Noise From Winnetka, Hit the Road, Jack, or (I’m not your) Steppin’ Stone. He wrote most of the lyrics, too, though I helped a great deal.
In the kitchen you will find
Strongheart dog food is always on your mind.
A bass, a string, a chord, a thing
Splattering into your brain
Brewed for you a Cello stew
Plain-tasting canine strain
My ears erect, my nose just blew.
Hoochie Coochie Poochie
When we spell O-U-T
He heads straight for the nearest alley
Splashing his smiley face all over the front page
of everyone’s reality
Cello’s my man, you know he can
Show all the world his master plan
Funky Butt Mutt
Cello was a medium dog, mostly a German Shepard of some kind, black with a brown face and Cleopatra eyes with black rings around them that led off toward the back of his sleek head like mascara. He loved to eat ice and once I saw him chew up some broken glass he thought was ice. He must not have eaten it - though it sure looked like he ate it - because he never got sick. He did suffer from flea and skin allergies, though, hence the Funky Butt Mutt appellation.
The only thing in the kitchen at our hippie crash pad was a refrigerator with an empty cardboard bottom or two from the cases of beer we drank each weekend and a pantry with several cases of Strongheart canned dog food piled high. Slash always made sure there was dog food, and we all worked in restaurants, so there was little or no need for any other kind of food.
This song was always one of my favorite Jambox songs. It was the one song I felt always came across well, without as much of the uncontrolled and chaotic meanderings that characterized the Change Music style. But the vocals were always little better than the dog howls that inspired them. Slash’s girlfriend Lisa remarked that she thought we were going to pop a blood vessel singing this song.
The line about ears erect, nose just blew always charmed me, since a dog sneezing and putting it’s ears up is an image that you really don’t find much outside of the tiny Change Music catalog. I’d like to think it was one of my lines. Slash and I wrote songs the way we imagined Paul McCartney and John Lennon wrote their songs: he’d write a couple of lines, I’d write a couple, and in singing them, rephrase them until they worked. Now, over thirty years later, I can’t really claim to remember who wrote what, even though I remember writing this song very well.
I remember Slash came home, and started playing the melody right away. He’d been jamming somewhere, maybe Jeff Golde’s house, and he had seized on the melody and kept it going until he got home. I loved it so much I learned to play it, too, and made it the start of my big guitar solo in the beginning of the song. This recording has several keyboard parts layered over the top of my guitar, which I didn’t like very much. Fojammi will forgive me this opinion, I hope.
Here's a Fojammathon version of this song I like a little better, and the original EP version.