My Ultimate Geek Fail, Dead Milkmen Edition

You might find this surprising, but I’m kind of a geek.

I mean this on several levels. On certain issues of pop culture or history, I have a peculiarly encyclopedic knowledge, while finding myself cripplingly hamstrung in other arenas. I also have a tendency towards pompous certainty when it comes to my particular areas of knowledge, although I have tried to reign it in during the past few years. History will decide if I succeeded or not.

It therefore came as an embarrassing shock to me to learn, via Justin Griffith at FreeThought Blogs, that a beloved ’80s anthem contained a glaring error. Specifically, the Dead Milkmen’s “Punk Rock Girl” name-checked the wrong band:

We went to the Phillie Pizza Company
And ordered some hot tea
The waitress said “Well no
We only have it iced”
So we jumped up on the table
And shouted “anarchy”
And someone played a Beach Boys song
On the jukebox
It was “California Dreamin'”
So we started screamin’
“On such a winter’s day”

(Emphasis added)

See the problem? “California Dreamin'” is not a Beach Boys song. It was the Mamas and the Papas (although to be fair, the Beach Boys did record a cover in 1986. It just wasn’t nearly as good.) The Dead Milkmen released “Punk Rock Girl” in 1988, i.e. twenty-four years ago, and I never noticed the discrepancy until just now.

I have failed you, Gods of Geekdom. I offer myself in atonement.

BONUS FEATURE: I also want to acknowledge two of my favorite rhymes in all of songwriting history, courtesy of “Punk Rock Girl”:

She took me to her parents
For a Sunday meal
Her father took one look at me
And he began to squeal


We got into a car
Away we started rollin’
I said “How much you pay for this?”
She said “Nothing man, it’s stolen”

Honorable mention goes to “If you don’t got Mojo Nixon then your store could use some fixin.'”


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