EVIL SQUIRREL: So Scratchy, what did you get for Christmas?
ES: Oh, come on… you can tell me!
SCRATCHY: I got underwear, OK?
ES: Well….. that’s normal….
SCRATCHY: And not the kind of underwear I like to show off with my rave outfit, but underwear I could use as a tarp for my motor scooter in an emergency!
ES: Oh…….. THAT kind.
SCRATCHY: Next time I ride down to the park to blast my Disturbed records, I won’t have to worry about sitting in birdshit on the way back home.
ES: Well see, that’s a pretty practical gift then!
SCRATCHY: Fuck you! Sponkies, what’s the next goddamned song?
SPONKIE 1: Number 9 is…
SPONKIE 2: It’s…. Evil Squirrel!
ES: I guess I get to stand on this side of the turntable now!
SCRATCHY: Shut it! As much as I can’t believe you didn’t put your piece of garbage at #1, I’m still not prepared to play one of your lame ass songs you like so much!
ES: You might be surprised! Just go ahead and open my envelope there….
SCRATCHY: (Pulls out ES’s song request) OK, so maybe it isn’t that bad…. actually, this is kinda cool.
ES: See! Now you owe me an apology!
SCRATCHY: How about a motor scooter tarp instead? Slightly used…..
One of the bands best known for dabbling in the early 70’s phenomenon known as prog rock was the British trio of Emerson, Lake and Palmer… not to be confused with a law firm. One of ELP’s better known works pretty much defines what prog rock was all about, and stands as one of the main reasons it’s easily one of my least favorite rock subgenres. And it comes from the album with one of the most fucked up titles ever, 1973’s Brain Salad Surgery…
Greg Lake and Keith Emerson spent almost two-thirds (!!!) of that album on what was technically just one track they wrote… their epic “Karn Evil 9.” Karn Evil 9 was split into three “impressions” (because that sounds cooler than just calling them parts), and that first impression was split into two parts because it literally went from Side A to Side B of the record because one side of the vinyl wouldn’t even hold the whole damned thing!
That bizarre treatment of the First Impression actually turned into kind of a saving grace for Karn Evil 9, which if you’re not an album guy like I’m not, you’re probably still familiar with because you most associate that title with the second part of the First Impression, which has become a classic rock staple because, on its own and at a much more tolerable four minutes-plus, it’s really fucking good!!!
Now that could have been a hit on its own had it been released as a single, which it was not. Karn Evil 9 tells the epic tale (as so many other bad prog rock songs did) of some futuristic, post-apocalyptic society decimated by war. FI:Part 2 is the actual “Karn Evil (carnival) show” featuring oddities and relics from the world that no longer is such as real blades of grass and gypsy queens glazed in Vaseline…
And while I do like this track on its own, it’s maybe the best fit between critter and request of any song in this countdown. Because as my alter ego Evil Squirrel, I’ve been running my own “Karn Evil” here for a decade now, with my own strange exhibits and sideshows, and when you read The Nest, you can always rest assured you’ll get your money’s worth…
The SCT Request countdown is the show that only seems like it will never end. I’ll have another song hand picked by a Shelf critter next Monday…