Sunday, February 22, 2015

Agent Orange – "Bloodstains" (1979)

I've lost my sense
I've lost control
I've lost my mind

Agent Orange is a surf-punk band that formed in Orange County, California in 1979.  Their song "Bloodstains" became a big hit in southern California when legendary KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer (who introduced a number of punk and new wave bands to his Los Angeles listeners) played it regularly.  

Agent Orange's frontman, Mike Palm, contended that the Offspring's 1994 hit, "Come Out and Play," appropriated a Middle Eastern-sounding guitar riff from "Bloodstains."  But the Offspring's publisher declined to pay royalties, citing a musicologist who opined that while both records did use the Phrygian scale, the two guitar parts were not identical.

(If you want to know what a Phrygian scale sounds like, play a C-major scale with the D, A, and B flatted.)

Another Orange County band, the Vandals, poked fun at Palm's claim in their 1996 song, "Aging Orange":

Back in ancient Egypt 
Many pharaohs went to jail
For misappropriation
Of my Phrygian scale
I said, "Listen, Tutankhamen, 
You're driving me insane
It's obvious those bellies are all
Dancing to 'Bloodstains.'"

Click here to read a 1996 Los Angeles Times story about the dispute.

And click here to read a discussion of the whole meshugganah mess on an forum.  (Robbie Fields, who contributed the most content to this discussion, was a former high-school substitute teacher who founded Posh Boy Records, which released records by Agent Orange and other Orange County punk bands.)

The "Bloodstains" saga came to a very odd conclusion in 2000, when Offspring covered the song for the soundtrack of Ready to Rumble, a forgettable "comedy" movie about World Championship Wrestling.

Here's the trailer to that movie:

Here's Offspring's "Come Out and Play."  The riff that Offspring allegedly stole from "Bloodstains" begins about 25 seconds into the song:

Here's Agent Orange's "Bloodstains."  The guitar riff that was allegedly stolen by Offspring begins at 1:12 of the song:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

No comments:

Post a Comment