Song of the Week: Susquehanna Hat Company

Bill says, “It was always nice to start a live show by yelling, ‘Fuck this town.’”

I love that line, too, and it’s not braggy to say so, because I didn’t really write it so much as I misheard it. I was playing a Dinosaur Jr. album (very loudly) while in the shower, and could have sworn J. Mascis sang, “So she said, ‘Fuck this town.’” “What a brilliant lyric,” I thought. Once I dried off, I picked the needle up and dropped it back down, trying to find the line again, only to discover it didn’t actually exist.

That made me sad, for like one minute. Then I realized if J. Mascis hadn’t used the line, we could. The title and the rest of the lyric were inspired by an old Abbot and Costello routine, which you can see above, and which still makes me laugh out loud. It seemed like a decent metaphor for the way you can feel about an ex after a break-up, when any mention of the person’s name can turn an otherwise fine day into misery and woe.

Here’s what Sandy remembers about the song: “I believe Jay stole some of the chords from his college band, and I remember playing it through at the Loft in Bronxville during rehearsal one night and all turning to each other and saying, “Holy Shit!” At the time, some of us were dating or had dated ladies with three names, like serial killers or mass murderers might have. I realized shit was going to get real when we added the glockenspiel with Paul Fox. By the time we’ve played the first notes of this song to open a gig, we can tell how that entire gig will go.”

7 Responses to “Song of the Week: Susquehanna Hat Company”

  1. Tim Says:

    Excellent post as always, guys. Thanks for the insights/recollections!

  2. paul Says:

    Great stuff — glad to see this site is being updated again.

    Looking forward to the Cereal Killers retrospective in the coming weeks.

    You guys are missed.

  3. Kendra Says:

    This just made me happy!

  4. ryon Says:

    One of my most favorite songs from TMJ. I really like hear back all the back story to the songs. I have co-written a few songs with my band in the mid 90′s. It was a lot of fun telling the stories after we played them. Simple crazy stories. Good times.

  5. Michele Says:

    I love this song so much. It got me through the beginning of grad school and still makes me ridiculously happy. Thank you.

  6. stu Says:

    The first TMJ song I heard and I was hooked right away! Love it.

  7. Brian Says:

    A gaming friend who was subjected to this CD constantly by the TMJ faction of our group once commented on how he liked that “Say Her Name” song because of the singer’s raw bitterness. “Huh?” we asked, not having that particular take on the song. He pointed us to the last line in the song… “I just wanna hack off her knees! I just wanna hack off her knees!”
    Yikes. Unfortunately, that’s how I’ve heard it ever since. LOL.

    I do remember TMJ opening with this at JC Dobbs in Philadelphia and Tim with a sorta Hannibal Lecter mask, IIRC. Great song, tremendous opener.

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