By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Before Cheech Marín became a darling of the LULAC crowd, the San Francisco native was a high-out-of-his-gourd comedian reviled by Chicano yak-tivists for cholo depictions of Chicano life in film and sound alongside the equally stoned Tommy Chong. The duo's blazing achievement remains "Mexican-American," an improvised Cheech tune that Chong rejoins in 1978's Up in Smokewith the equally self-explanatory "Beaners"—a two-note guitar strangle consisting of the screamed proclamation "Beeeeeaners!"
Loco lyric: "Mexican-Americans don't like to get up early in the morning, but they have to, so they do it real slow/Mexican-Americans love education, so they go to night school and take Spanish and get a B." Genesis, "Illegal Alien"
Chirpier than the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, the video for "Illegal Alien"--with members of the prog-rock monsters wearing sombreros and moustaches that makes pasty Phil Collins look like Mexican Revolutionary martyr Emiliano Zapata--was the impetus for white bands to dress like Mexicans for MTV fun à la Weezer. The 1983 song's repetitive chorus—"It's a-no fun being an illegal alien"--is the most obviously stupid music observation since Toby Keith's "I'm a Big Redneck Piece of Shit."
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Loco lyric: "Got out of bed, wasn't feeling too good/With my wallet and my passport, a new pair of shoes/The sun is shining, so I head for the park/With a bottle of tequila and a new pack of cigarettes." The Doug Anthony All Stars, "Mexican Hitler"
Further proof that Australians should stick to wiping out aborigines. In this case, the misinterpreting musicians were the Doug Anthony All Stars (DAAS), an Australian comedy troupe notorious during the early '90s for crafting neo-Nazi parodies. While employing hatred as a pedagogical device is exemplary, mixing metaphors isn't, and the Nazi mass exodus to South America after World War II that "Mexican Hitler" ostensibly attacks soon devolves into the Fourth Reich "eating nachos in the sun" and meeting "a knee-slapping señorita who worked for a peso on Salon Kitty/Big girls love dick-tators, but the ones that do aren't pretty." Wallabies, take advice from X: when fighting skinheads, don't become one.
Loco lyric: "When you're low, where can you go?/Where to?/Mexico!" Cherry Poppin' Daddies, "Zoot Suit Riot"
Take the worst race riot in Mexican-American history and gut it of meaning. Out comes "Zoot Suit Riot," blurted by the neo-swing Cherry Poppin' Daddies during the mid-'90s big-band revival. It starts off promisingly enough, with excerpts of police sirens backing lead singer Steve Perry and an ominous, accurate description of the 1942 mini-war between pachucos and Navy nitwits: "Who's that whisperin' in the trees?/It's two sailors, and they're on leave/Pipes and chains and swingin' hands." The Daddies soon leave the social commentary for faux-Gene Krupa cool--that their fan base didn't give a damn speaks more about the failure of the American education system than any high school exit exam.
Loco lyric: "You got me in a sway/And I want to swing you done/Now you sailors know/Where your women come for love." Manic Hispanic perform with Go Betty Go at the Galaxy Concert Theater, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600; www.galaxytheatre.com. Wed., 8 p.m. $17. All ages.