It’s okay if you haven’t heard of The Mother Hips. They aren’t the kind of band that gets a ton of radio play, and you aren’t likely to hear their songs in any car commercials. If you have heard of them, then you probably went to college on the West Coast where they have spent the majority of their impressive 20+ year recording and touring career. Or maybe you just had cool friends. If not, and this is your introduction to the band, congratulations—there’s a lot of great music for you to discover. It’s sort of like getting handed a book by a great writer only to find out that there is a whole back catalog just waiting for you.
The song “Gold Plated” was the opening track on their 1998 album “Later Days”. The album is a departure in many ways from the bands previous records which featured more complicated arrangements and a jam band vibe. “Gold Plated” itself heralds this new direction with a country-tinged arrangement and an autobiographical opening chorus. It also features the phrase that has since become associated with the band’s unique West Coast sound—”California Soul”. But the pay off, as with so many great songs, comes in the chorus when singer Tim Bluhm tells us that all his “problems are gold plated,” his “bottoms exaggerated,” and “connections incarcerated”—leading him to the conclusion that his genius has faded.
It’s a beautiful lament, and one of the best short stories I have ever heard.
Read the lyrics for “Gold Plated” HERE.
Previous installments in this series:
- The Replacements—”Left Of The Dial”
- Jason Isbell—”Elephant”
- Steve Earle—N.Y.C.
- Generation X—”Kiss Me Deadly”
- Mr. T Experience—”Sorry For Freaking Out…”
- Warren Zevon—”Carmelita”
- Leonard Cohen—”Suzanne”
- The Descendents—”Clean Sheets”
- Jawbreaker—”Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault”
- Pulp—”Common People”
- Marty Robbins—”El Paso”
S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.