You know that old saying parents love to use about how impossible it is to pick their favorite child? Well, I don't have kids, but I bet choosing little Marisa over that brat Johnny is much easier than having to choose the five best Rocket from the Crypt songs. Don't believe me? Consider these three facts:
1. Most kids suck, so if one is good it's gotta be pretty easy to figure out your favorite.
2. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia.com, the San Diego sextet has released seven full-length albums, a live record, three compilations, two EPs and more than 20 7-inches. Them's a lot of songs.
3. Rocket from the Crypt is the greatest band in the world. Similarly, Rocket from the Crypt has been, since its inception in 1990, the greatest band in the world, was the greatest band in the world even when they took a hiatus from 2005-2013 (and when they took a hiatus from their hiatus for 2011's appearance of the children's television program Yo Gabba Gabba!) and will continue to be the greatest band in the world until the day all humans die and robot cockroaches take over.
So picking the five best songs ain't easy. Also not easy is seeing Rocket from the Crypt this weekend as San Diego's finest are playing two sold-out shows as part of Alex's Bar's 15-year anniversary. And even harder is the fact that the band was supposed to play Sunday at the Observatory as part of the Indigo Fest, but that has been canceled.
Here, then, are the five best Rocket from the Crypt songs to get you through if you can't see them this weekend. And, in full disclosure, I love this band so much this list could be
completely different if I wrote it tomorrow.
5. "If the Bird Could Fly"
Not only does this song have a fucking killer intro and an even more killer outro where the horn section (saxophonist Paul "Apollo 9" O'Beirne and trumpet player Jason "JC 2000" Crane) gets listeners aurally aroused, it poses the not-often asked question of what would happen if the bird could fly. You see, birds can fly, but in singer John "Speedo" Reis' world, this bird can't. That, my friends, is why Speedo is Speedo and the rest of us are the rest of us.
If this isn't the greatest pop song of all time, I don't know what is. Don't believe me? Fast forward to the 1:53 mark, when the band makes ape noises and you don't feel embarrassed for them. That's talent. Need more proof? How about the 2:10 mark when Speedo sings, "Can I get feral with you?" If that's not the greatest sexual innuendo since the last sexual innuendo you heard, then you most certainly cannot be Speedo's Tarzan nor will he be your Jane.
3. "Venom Venom"
The bass tone alone lets you know this song ain't messing around while the repeating of "venom, venom" is the perfect precursor to the trans-like freak-out at the end. Listen closely and you'll hear a spastic layering of guitars and horns atop a pulsating rhythm that transforms an awesome groove-based rock 'n' roll song into a Stooges-esque take on free jazz.
2. "Light Me"
The recorded version of this song, featured on the The Start of Art is On Fire EP, is really good, but there's no better Rocket from the Crypt moment than when they play this live (as the band often does) and we all get to sing along as Speedo yells, "I'm gonna douse myself with gasoline and light myself on fire."
1. "Ghost Shark"
Everything about this song — the just-dirty-enough-guitar intro, the hypnotic lead, the outro chorus when the back-up vocals kick in, Speedo's spoken-word part over said chorus — exemplifies what music should sound like. The band played "Ghost Shark" during the Group Sounds -era tour(s), but it faded from the set list after, which is a damn shame because a greater song has never been written.