I Get Weird - Single
John W. Christensen
Quirky, off-kilter, novelty rock song. This slightly bizarre recording has shown up many times in the top ten on Dr. Demento's nationally syndicated radio show since it's original release on vinyl in 1982. It has been unavailable since 1989.
"I Get Weird" wasn't recorded; It escaped! The story begins: One day in 1982 I happened to spy an entry form for “The Great Novelty Song Contest” on the bulletin board of the Long Beach City College Music Department. It proclaimed that Dr. Demento and Jem Records were sponsoring a contest; they were offering untold riches and fame to the winners. My interest was peaked! Upon reading the examples of acceptable song types I said to myself--with probably a little too much confidence--“I can do that.” I busted my butt to get home and get to work with no real plan. I turned on the tape recorder and began to improvise and things just fell into place. “The moon was in Dementia that night, and two and a half hours later ”I Get Weird” emerged, fully grown, from the machine.”* Panic set in after I had finished recording the song. Rereading the entry form I noticed that the official deadline was that day! I also noticed that there was an entry fee. Yeow! Money was tight. I’m a musician, and most musicians don’t have money; I’m no exception. I played the song for my better half; she was NOT impressed. Discussions and compromises were proposed and agreed upon. I ran out the door and made it to the post office just in time to get the required postmark. And then we waited…and nothing happened. Weeks and weeks went by and life returned to normal. We eventually forgot about the song, the entry fee, and the compromises. Then one day the phone rang and I was told that “I Get Weird” had indeed made the cut and would be included in the upcoming Dr. Demento release “Demento’s Mementos.” Bubbling excitedly, Demento Show regular Sulu told me that she’d heard “I Get Weird” and vigorously lobbied for its inclusion on the LP. She stated that fact with some amount of pride. Thank you Sulu! Fame (or infamy) followed. I’ve been told that even though “I Get Weird” was initially way down on the pecking order of finalists, it emerged victorious as far as continued requests by Demento listeners. My better half certainly didn’t balk at the royalty checks! The convergence of several elements including “The Great Novelty Song Contest” and the association with Dr. Demento made the 80s a great decade for me. I received radio airplay as a solo artist, with Musical Mike Kieffer in our duo The Utensils, and with my band Hot Food To Go! “Demento’s Mementos” - John W. Christensen 1982 “Fries” picture disc - Hot Food To Go! 1983 “The Sound of Hollywood Girls” - Hot Food To Go! 1983 “Dave’s Burgers” maxi-single - Hot Food To Go! 1986 “The Spirit Picture Disk” - John Christensen and friends 1987 “Beastie Wrap” - The Utensils 1987 “Bop” - The Utensils 1988 “Fade To Black” - Blackbyrd McKnight and The Beat Brothers 1989 ”Worse Than Slime No. 1” - The Utensils, Hot Food To Go!, The Downloaders, The Hodads with “The Poorman,” and John W. Christensen 1989 Because of those two and a half hours improvising in front of the tape recorder I managed to gain some very good friends, fans, collaborators, and career boosters. Very special thanks go to Artie Barnes, Raechel Donahue, and Bill Mumy for giving me a leg up! To quote Barnes and Barnes with Wild Man Fischer and Rosemary Clooney: “It’s a hard business.” To the good Dr. and his Dementites I tip my hat. I feel a special appreciation for those days and those fine, fun, people: Dr. D, Barnes and Barnes, Musical Mike, Sulu, Whimsical Will, Bermuda Schwartz, Weird Al, and all of the fellow travelers and residents of Dementia. Over the years I’ve been asked about two things on the recording: 1) What made the drum sound? An old patchable Moog Synth, either a Moog 35 or 55 (I no longer remember which). 2) What’s with the reference to salting snails? Grandma had a bucket of salt in which she dropped snails she found eating her plants; they did indeed “bubble, bubble.” John “Chris” Christensen May, 2010 “I Get Weird” was previously released on: “Demento’s Mementos” Jem Records PVC 8912 1982 “Worse Than Slime No. 1” Beat Brothers Records BBRLP 5002 1989 “Worse Than Slime No. 1” Beat Brothers Records BBRCD 6002 1989 This release: “I Get Weird” (2010 remaster) Worse Than Slime - The Singles - No. 1 Beat Brothers Records BBRDD 8001 * Demento’s Mementos liner notes. “The Fischer King” Wild Man Fischer - Rhino Handmade RHM2 7701 1999