Fifty-one years ago a quartet of SoCal boys who’d never been to Beantown lauded their love for Boston’s dirty water. Today, The Standells are taking another stand. This time, it’s all about political corruption, corporate greed, and the unkind ways of the wealthiest one percent.
Known to generations of pop music fans as the lovely and libidinous voice of “Dirty Water,” Standells keyboard player, Larry Tamblyn, posted news of the release of “It’s All About the Money” on The Standells’ public Facebook page on Monday. Described as “an indictment of the wealthiest one percent, and political and corporate greed,” the three-minute, 40-second long song extends a rousing rock ‘n’ roll incrimination of American avarice. Songwriting credit goes to Tamblyn for the scathing single that features Larry on vocals, Mark Adrian on guitar, and Greg Burnham at the drum kit. Recorded in the Standells Garage Studio, “It’s All About the Money” is cut number two on the exemplary garage band’s new Bump album which also includes an energetic cover of Love’s “Seven and Seven Is” along with a wildly reworked version of the Seeds’ classic “Pushin’ Too Hard.” Bump can be purchased one track at a time or in its entirety at Amazon.
Aww Boston, you’re my home. Or not
When the protopunk sound of “Dirty Water” originally emanated from transistor radios and record players in 1966, listeners assumed the band was from Boston. They did, after all, seem to know a lot about “frustrated women” who were required be safely ensconced in their all-girl dorm rooms by midnight, and their lyrical estimation of the Charles River and Boston Harbor as contaminated was spot-on.
The truth of the matter is, The Standells were four southern California kids with close attachments to Hollywood, and, none of them had even visited Boston prior to the release of this song that would make them famous.
One year before The Standells was founded in 1962, Larry’s older brother, Russ Tamblyn, delivered a stellar portrayal of the finger-snapping Jets gang leader in the 20th century Romeo and Juliet tale, West Side Story. In later years, Larry became the uncle of China and Amber Tamblyn and Russ enchanted moviegoers as Chocki the shark in the 1994 cinematic romp, Cabin Boy.
When curfew crackdowns on denizens of Pandora’s Box and other freak-friendly Sunset Strip venues fostered an almost-riot in November 1966, The Standells were right there. When the event LA Weekly called a “socio-cultural hissy fit” inspired a hippie exploitation flick called Riot on Sunset Strip, The Standells were among the bands that contributed soundtrack songs to the movie that rushed to theaters just a few short weeks after the kerfuffle.
Dirty Water, Standells remain relevant
The Standells had something to say back in the day, and their message to the millennial generation is just as valid. Tamblyn told social media followers that the band’s blatant message about 21st greed strikes some fans as “too political.”
“We had one person who complained that this song is too political. If singing about corporate greed and the wealthiest one percent getting most of the tax breaks, we’re guilty. The Standells have never backed away from controversy.”
As Tamblyn explained to Psychedelic Baby magazine, the music of The Standells will remain relevant as long as there exist people who appreciate garage bands and punk music.
“It goes to show you that music is timeless, it appeals to all ages, all genders, nationalities, political parties, etc. Through music we all become one. I am absolutely thrilled with the interest we’re receiving from new generations.”
“It’s All About the Money” offers a catchy, danceable anthem for Americans and others interested in pushing back against corporate greed and the avarice of some of the super rich. Again, the song’s on The Standells new album, Bump, and is available at Amazon.
[Feature Image by Tower Records/Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons/Cropped and Resized]