The song “Degenerated” from the movie Airheads is one of my all-time favorites. If you’re a fan of the movie, you no-doubt know the song. And if you’re a music nerd in general, you probably know that it’s a Reagan Youth cover. I would love to know more about the song. I have collected most of the “who,” but I would love to know the “why.”
Check out the two songs and then we’ll get into why I have so many questions & what they are.
- The song was originally written by Paul Bakija (Paul Cripple) & Dave Rubinstein (Dave Insurgent) of Reagan Youth.
- Fictional band The Lone Rangers, comprised of Chester “Chazz Darby” Ogilvie (Brendan Fraser), Rex (Steve Buscemi), & Pip (Adam Sandler) play the song in the movie.
- Jay Yuenger and Sean Yseult of White Zombie fame played on the recording of the song, with Brendan Fraser on vocals. (Seriously, that bass part so damn awesome, & the guitar solo is blistering. Sean & Jay both really rocked it.)
- Yuenger & Bryan Carlstrom produced the track. Bryan produced & engineered stuff by White Zombie, Alice in Chains, Anthrax, The Offspring, Social Distortion, & more.
- Carter Burwell is credited for the music in the film. The movie was written by Rich Wilkes & directed by Michael Lehmann.
Here’s what I want to know;
- Who decided to use the song? The director, the music guy, the writer, the musicians?
- Why that song? The running joke about Chazz writing the song for his girlfriend or before he met her makes it even funnier because I wouldn’t remotely call it a love song. Did someone just really like the song? Was licensing cheap all around? Did they ask Paul Cripple for permission? What does he think of the song? Did Dave Insurgent ever get to hear it?
- Why metal up a punk rock song? They seemed like an 80’s holdover kind of band. Was it a statement on Grunge being a punk n’ metal hybrid?
- Why are there different chord changes? The chord progression is different, but the melody (and I use the term loosely) is the same. The cover may be tuned below standard if I remember correctly? Someone more musically versed may be able to explain the difference I just know when playing by ear on guitar they’re totally different progressions.
- Why the lyric change? ( I assume to keep the movie rated PG-13?) Most notably a removal of the F-word and references to constipation (Lone Rangers Lyrics/Reagan Youth Lyrics). Who made the changes?
- Who played drums? Jay, Sean, Bryan, or were there other uncredited musicians?
I’m sure I have more questions that I haven’t thought of here. Does anyone out there know the explanation?
It is 2017. I may have to reach out via Facebook , Twitter, or email to all of the players involved to see if I can get an answer. (If they even remember.)
Sadly, Dave Insurgent passed away in 1993 & Bryan Carlstrom passed away in 2013.
I just really dig both versions of the song, the movie, and that it led me to checking out more Reagan Youth. Is it weird to be a fan of a song by a fictional band? Hey, I dig “Three Small Words” too, and that was produced by Babyface.
Do you like either version of this song? Do you have a song by a fictional band that you really dig? Do you know any of the relevant information here? Let me know in the comments!