Nick Harper: Titties and Beer


Nick plays a cover of Frank Zappa’s ‘Titties and Beer’ for his encore at Greenbelt 06. Interesting choice of song for a Christian festival!

From another source:

Roy’s son Nick regularly features a version of ‘Titties and Beer’ in live concerts (at which Roy has taken the role of the Devil), and has also been known to break into a snippet of ‘St. Alphonso’s Pancake Breakfast’. Well worth seening live – an excellent guitarist & witty songwriter in his own right. His latest double live album is selling for a very reasonable price now at Quixotic Records, and latest news is that the ZFT have given permission for TAB to appear on a future album.

By the way, the whole thing started with this find:
International Moustache Month. :-)

50 Responses to “Nick Harper: Titties and Beer”

  1. bill says:

    well, at least Gail remembers that Frank was a good Christian then…

  2. jane23 says:

    Nice, loved it.
    That he played it at a christian festival is the icing on the cake.
    Yum, titties and cake.
    And luckily you CAN have your titties and eat them too.

  3. urbangraffito says:

    That’s got to be the worst cover of T&B I have ever heard. It reduces an excellent piece of social satire to a campfire song.

  4. jane23 says:

    social satire?
    novelty song at best.
    One of Zappa’s lesser compositions.
    Let’s put it to a vote:
    T&B is just an ok song?
    T&B is an excellent song?
    Nick Harper did an excellent version?
    Nick Harper’s version sucks?
    Remember, only you can prevent forest fires.

  5. jane23 says:

    and also
    how many cover versions of T&B have you ever heard?

  6. Balint says:

    I like the tight guitar playing here, the tension of the song. (The voice of the “Devil” reminds me of Robin Williams :-) ). What makes a song “just a campfire version”? I dont know – anyway, to me this one doesn’t seem to be a just quiet, mediocre sing-along…

  7. A F Harrold says:

    I had the pleasure to be on the same bill as Nick Harper a couple of years ago and his T&B was the most entertaining (and only) cover of it that I’d heard – somebody had told me he did it, and it had sounded like a silly idea, but he pulled it off.
    The most memorable part of his set, however, was when he broke a string on the guitar right near the beginning of his first song and went on to restring the thing without stopping singing and vamping – it was a very exciting thing to watch… will he make it? Will he stop…? In fact it turned out so good I wondered whether it’s part of his regular act every night – but I haven’t seen him again, so I couldn’t say…

  8. Balint says:

    He has a song called Headless (official string break version) on his album Double Life.

  9. Jamez says:

    I can imagine some Christians sittin’ open-mouthed as he sang that!
    TAX THE CHURCHES!!

  10. Jamez says:

    Why didn’t he sing ‘Jesus Thinks You’re A Jerk’ instead?!?!

  11. Benedict says:

    I’ve always liked the checky groove of T&B. The lyrics tell a fun story, but it’s hardly up with Bobby Brown, or WOITFTM as far as social satire goes.
    I liked Nick’s version. The bit when the devil proves he’s playing made me laugh.

  12. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Jamez:

    Why didn’t he sing ‘Jesus Thinks You’re A Jerk’ instead?!?!

    I think you’ve answered your own question, Jamez.

  13. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from jane23:

    social satire?
    novelty song at best.
    One of Zappa’s lesser compositions.

    A quote from jane23:

    and also
    how many cover versions of T&B have you ever heard?

    Okay, jane23, you want it, you got it…
    Social satire:
    use of ridicule to expose vice or folly; poem or other work that does this.
    Novelty song:
    something new or unusual.
    To call “Titties and Beer” a novelty song is to put Frank Zappa in the ranks of those 1950s tin pan alley songwriters and radio DJs that actually created novelty songs to increase station ratings and/or sell advertising. Since FZ’s songs seldom, if ever, achieved any substantial radio airplay, it’s difficult to describe them as novelty songs.
    As social satire, “Titties and Beer” satirizes the women’s movement of the 1970s, motorcycle culture, right-wing American religion, consumer capitalism (contracts), U.S. Educational System, American politicans, drug culture, and agriculture (pickles). To consider it “a lesser song” is to not really be hearing what FZ has to say in the first place. Even a song such as “Valley Girl” stands as social satire as opposed to merely a novelty song about girls in the valley.
    How many versions of T&B have I ever heard?
    Project Object
    Voice of Cheez
    Bogus Pomp
    Ugly Radio Rebellion
    MN ei Contenuti Speciali
    Drunken Pond Scum
    MN e i Contenuti Speciali:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1c-iwjYSV_o
    drunken pond scum:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-78nWIHm9g
    Jerry Outlaw & Bogus Pomp:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCW4DKeFjIo

  14. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    latest news is that the ZFT have given permission for TAB to appear on a future album.

    If this is an example of what the ZFT is giving permission to be released, they are definitely putting money ahead of any other consideration.

  15. ken duvall says:

    Ohhh ! The Children !!!

  16. urbangraffito says:

    satire:
    the use of ridicule to expose vice or folly; poem or other work that does that.
    novelty:
    something new or unusual
    Referring to “Titties and Beer” as just a novelty song puts FZ in the ranks of those tin pan alley songwriters and radio DJs of the 1950s that actually did create novelty songs to up their ratings and sell advertising with quick and funny little jingles.
    In “Titties and Beer” FZ satirizes the womens’ movement, motorcycle subculture, 70s drug culture, right wing religion, consumer capitalism (contract), american educational system, politicians, agriculture (pickles). Also, if one extends the allegory of the song: FZ=motorcycle man, Crissy=Gail, and the Devil=Warner Brothers (but perhaps I’m going a bit too far here). Anyway, it’s far from one of his “lesser” songs, at least in my opinion.
    As for how many other versions of “Titties and Beer” have I ever heard: Project Object, Voice of Cheez, Bogus Pomp, Ugly Radio Rebellion, MN ei Contenuti Speciali, and drunken pond scum.

  17. jane23 says:

    FZ in the ranks of those tin pan alley songwriters and radio DJs of the 1950s that actually did create novelty songs to up their ratings and sell advertising with quick and funny little jingles.
    Ever heard “Letter to Jeepers” or Boy Wonder, I Love You” or even “How’s your Bird”?
    Zappa’s comedy music, he eats!

  18. urbangraffito says:

    If you recall, in the Studio Z days, jane23, he didn’t put his official FZ to those tracks…plus, they were hardly satire (okay, “Boy Wonder, I Love You” is kind of satirical).

  19. jane23 says:

    I recall a 21 year old Frank Zappa appearing on the Steve Allen Show to promote his new novelty song called “How’s your Bird”, a phrase which Steve Allen originated.
    If FZ didn’t put his official FZ to the track then who did?
    If you are saying that because it was released by Baby Ray and the Ferns it is not official FZ, (even though he got the writing credit), you could also make the case that because he released some records under the name the Mothers of Invention he did not put his official FZ to those tracks either.
    Memories of El Monte was also a novelty song as was “Do you like my new car?”, (although a permutation of one) and let’s not leave off the list everyone’s favorite Frank Zappa novelty song, the illustrious:
    “Valley Girl”.

  20. urbangraffito says:

    Exactly what point are you trying to make here, jane23, I’m getting kind of dizzy…

  21. jim says:

    Well, by playing it at a Christian music festival, he’s definitely exposing FZ to a group of folks who’ve not heard him before. Also pretty tough slogging to pull off a Zappa song playing solo on acoustic guitar – THAT takes some serious cojones right there. Let alone doing “Titties and Beer” at that sort of venue. Like someone else, I too have to wonder – did they invite him back?
    Oh … & if the devil made any kind of deal for ownership of W’s soul, he’s yet another of the many who’ve been ripped off by the little bastard … it’s obviously defective.

  22. jane23 says:

    Me, making a point?
    Oh yes, now I remember.
    Most of what Frank Zappa produced was just novelty songs.

  23. urbangraffito says:

    Hey, didn’t intend to rattle anyone’s cage, jane23…what is this anyway? Dueling freaks at ten paces? FZ obviously proved to be both an accomplished satirist as well as a creator of novelty songs, or whatever musical genre he directed his attention towards. Myself, I’m obviously splitting hairs….

  24. Roland says:

    Have a cigar, Nick ! I like the cover !

  25. jane23 says:

    Hey, we’re on the same team Graffito.
    I have promoted Zappa and his music since 1966.
    Dueling freaks at 23 paces!!!

  26. urbangraffito says:

    While I may not like Nick’s cover (my own personal taste aside), I do have to give him points for performing it solo on acoustic guitar at a Christian music festival (perhaps the Devil made him do it, and persuaded the zft to give him permission).
    Dueling freaks at 23 paces, jane23? Shall we dance?

  27. jane23 says:

    We shall.
    Dance Me This.
    Pachuco Gavotte.

  28. Roland says:

    Hey Sweet jane23 – what are you smoking?

  29. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from jane23:

    We shall.
    Dance Me This.
    Pachuco Gavotte.

    You may lead, good sir…

  30. jane23 says:

    Smoking?
    I smoke Petit Nobel from Denmark
    Sumatra Tobacco
    20 small cigars

  31. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from jane23:

    Smoking?
    I smoke Petit Nobel from Denmark
    Sumatra Tobacco
    20 small cigars

    A small cigar can change the world, my friend.

  32. bernard says:

    I smoke La Paz – Wilde sigars. It actually changed my longues.
    By the way I once heard FZ explaining in an interview why he would never be taken seriously as a great composer ( anyway not by self declared serious people). ” If you have made a song with the title Tit. & Bear”, …”.

  33. bernard says:

    Great art: litterature & music.
    Over here in Belgium we had a very, very good writer.
    His name was Louis Paul Boon.
    A guy from ordinary beginnings. And far ahead of his time. He died in 1979.
    He just wrote one masterpiece after another.
    http://users.telenet.be/louis.jacobs/Boon.htm
    http://www.lpbooncentrum.be/, the academic research center.
    When he got a very good chance to get the Nobel Prize Litterature he instinctively wrote ” MM obscene youth”, a porn book. In order to avoid the prize.
    What’s left of his legacy?
    - His books are still red & adored all over the place here. They’re really very good. ” Kapellekensbaan” , ” Zomer te Termuren”, etc. , etc.
    - A provincial right way ( narrow minded) authority just refused an exhibition of his 22.00 pieces Extraordinary Feminatheque ( a collection of pictures of +/- porn stars from the 60 & 70 ties). That was just too much about Titties & Beer… . http://www.standaard.be/Artikel/Detail.aspx?artikelId=9T1NAV1L
    - He’s again the number one on the radio: http://www.stubru.be/taxonomy/term/4078
    And , yes, there’s an activists site: http://www.lpboon.net/
    The way ahead, indeed.

  34. urbangraffito says:

    If one truly wishes to understand a culture, one should begin with its most base metaphors; what it desires and what it consumes: Titties and Beers.

  35. Roland says:

    Yeah urbangrafitto and I tell you what I think about bernard due to your statement made at February 5th, 2008 at 5:40 pm : Behind his mask of education, verbal behaivior and endless links to other sites, there is a man who desires Titties & Beer! ;-)

  36. bernard says:

    Yes, I fully agree, Urbangr.
    - Biology. Why do male birds sing their songs? It’s ” pornographic”. They just want to protect their own territory against other male birds.
    - Pop music is basically all about this.” I love you, yeah, yeah, yeah”.
    - Jazz just means : fooling around & looking for a queen.
    - Classical music. Just one example of a masterpiece, written by Janacek: Intimate Letters.Listen to the Alban Berg Quartett performance. That’s truly great. It’s about …. By the way G. Mahler ( I don’t like his music at all ) just wrote score after score out of jealosy.
    That brings me back to the – for us very unhealthy – comparison between the Wagner family ( Cosima , Wagners wife) and the ZFT.
    Starting from love … family trusts, an empire, are being created.

  37. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Roland:

    Yeah urbangrafitto and I tell you what I think about bernard due to your statement made at February 5th, 2008 at 5:40 pm : Behind his mask of education, verbal behaivior and endless links to other sites, there is a man who desires Titties & Beer! ;-)

    Like any man, Roland, I’m sure bernard is like any other: with simple needs and simple yearnings that underlying our veneer of civilization is not too far from the surface…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMpoRggs9s4

  38. bernard says:

    Roland,my friend:
    - I don’t need a doctor.
    - And I don’t need an additional wife.
    Ref: Ich Habe Genug:
    http://www.wiener-bachsolisten.at/werkein/johann-sebastian-bach-kantate-ich-habe-genug.htm
    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ich_habe_genug
    http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/BWV82-Golomb.htm

  39. bernard says:

    OK, in case some candidates would be ready to drop by, I’m ready, Urbangr.
    And believe it or not, they’re truly plentiful.
    OK, I’ll make my choice.
    I just happen to laugh like the almost 100 years old great US composer Elliott Carter.

  40. bernard says:

    This is al aobut machism.
    And by the way : it all happens to be true.
    Why? Because FZ happened to be a genuine macho, the Italian way.

  41. Magic Fingers says:

    I saw Nick encore with T&B at a festival (not a Christian one, I hasten to add) a couple of years back and I have to say that I thought it was just great…………….but then I’m easily pleased……..

  42. Roland says:

    bernard, do you want to say that you have enough of my remarks (funny or not) or you have enough of T & B ? ;-)
    Anyway, I am going to listen to The Well-Tempered Clavier now – and think how I might cheer you up a bit!

  43. bernard says:

    Roland, I just meant to say that I don’t need an additional woman right now. I have a wife, four daughters ( and a son) and a lot of girlfriends, all clever people. So, that’s enough- for the moment- , Ich habe genug. That splendid J S Bach cantate was not about women, it was about somebody who didn’t fear death.Why should I fear death? I’ll be a grandfather in March ( it’ll be a … girl). Carrying on.
    However – Urbangr- I fully agree: there’s some basic universal wisdom in T&B. Yes, there is.

  44. bernard says:

    Now the opposite of T&B.
    Let’s focus on one musical instrument. The electric guitar( EG).
    The piano was the ultimate instrument of the 19th century.
    The EG happened to be exactlly the same from 1950 onwards.
    What happened, taking it further? Amongst others:
    - The Electric Guitar Quartet for sure.
    - Two musicians playing 5 EGs at once, resulting in beauty:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJ888FKXS1U
    Madness? No, just beauty, further civilasation.

  45. Roland says:

    I read the cantate, bernard – thank you for the link. Although I´m not an expert according to Bach (… but I have some vinyl and CD of his work), I think ICH HABE GENUG is very impressive. Reminds me in a way of lyrics from The Dark Side Of The Moon: “Why should I be afraid of dying – any time will do… “

  46. Roscoe Bledsoe says:

    That’s the best goddamn Zappa cover version I’ve ever heard!
    (Nick got the groove going on the acoustic!)
    As we say in the US of A: “Fuckin’ Awesome!”

  47. slime.o says:

    actually quite a good rendition; the devil is about as good or better than anyone that tried it after bozzio
    it’s art

  48. Jamez says:

    If you go to Greenbelt (from whence this video was taken)you won’t see any titties and there probably won’t be any beer. However there WILL be a lot of religious fanatics tryin’ to convert you!

  49. ear8dmg says:

    A quote from Jamez:

    If you go to Greenbelt (from whence this video was taken)you won’t see any titties and there probably won’t be any beer. However there WILL be a lot of religious fanatics tryin’ to convert you!

    Lies: http://www.greenbelt.org.uk/festival/2008/lineup/event/2486
    (I put that video on youtube by the way)

  50. L. Kovinski says:

    When I listen to the great film music composers I hear the influence that composers like Mahler have. The music of Mahler paints images in my head.