Album Recommendation

Dr. Demento Covered in Punk

Photo by SLT

An off-the-cuff observation about the phrase “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy” in the most recent Friday’s Forum and the commensurate leaping of my mind to the “Existential Blues” turned my mind to Dr. Demento. Kingdaddy mentioning a Dr. Demento Spotify playlist led me to a search on Spotify for the good Doctor.

This led, in turn, to a podcast, an interview with Dr. D and Osaka Popstar’s John Cafieroon on KVC Arts back on April 1 of this year. Listening to the interview led me to discover the album Dr. Demento Covered in Punk which is also available on Spotify.

It. Is. A. Delight.

Granted, to have that reaction you probably have to be a nerd who likes novelty records and who listened to Dr. Demento during his heyday in the 1980s.

The album, which was released in 2018 is presented like an episode of Dr. Demento’s show with him acting as DJ introducing the songs, all of which are punk covers of well known demented tunes like “Fish Heads,” “Dead Puppies” (which really works as a punk song), “Shaving Cream,” “Pico and Sepulvada,” “The Monster Mash,” and a remarkable list of others, most of which I remember from back in the day.

The album features such folks as Weird Al (natch) covering the Ramones, but also William Shatner, Adam West, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Missing Persons, and, of all things, Brak from Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

Did I mention it is a delight?

I also really am a fan of covers, especially when those covers are in a different style than the original, so this album is fun in more than one way.

Clearly, not something for the uninitiated, and it is often quite juvenile, but if you were a fan of this show at any point in the past, I would say you are in for a treat with this album.

It is a perfectly ridiculous, and welcome, distraction given our current times.

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Humor, Popular Culture
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. James Joyner says:

    I was exposed to Dr Demento shortly after we returned from Germany and settled in El Paso in the summer of 1979. Hard to believe it’s been 21 years!

  2. JDM says:

    I haven’t thought of Dr. Demento for at least 40 years. My best friend in Jr. High was a big Demento fan, so I listened to quite a bit of the shows.

    When is comes to covers, my favorites are Jimmy Hendricks covers of “Hey Joe”, and “All Along the Watch Tower”.

    Then there is the forgotten cover of Chip Taylors, “Wild Things”. It was covered by the English rock band, the Troggs. then, comedian Bill Minkin, imitating the voice of Robert Kennedy covered a fun parody of the song.

  3. @James Joyner:

    Hard to believe it’s been 21 years!

    Indeed 🙂

  4. @JDM:

    “All Along the Watch Tower”.

    A great example of a transformative cover.

  5. rachel says:

    I also really am a fan of covers, especially when those covers are in a different style than the original,

    I’ve been listening to orchestral covers of Tool (like this cover of Schism) and some bardcore stuff that kind of fun.

  6. de stijl says:

    I find it really interesting to just search “[song name] cover” and see what comes up.

    Yeah, most are folks with guitars doing acoustic covers, but you can tell by the thumbnail and avoid.

    Best are genre busting covers – people are very creative.

    It’s a good way to waste an afternoon.

  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    On the chance that we actually get a GONE TV series going – odds are maybe 10% – I’ve been thinking about using acoustic covers of punk or metal songs. This is a really good example.

  8. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If that happens (hope) and budget allows go for AJJ or The Mountain Goats as the coverers.

    The AJJ (fka Andrew Jackson Jihad) dude does a quarantine mini concert 3 or 4 times weekly covering his stuff and his faves and it is riveting.

    A very distinctive voice and tone.

    10% is greater than 0%.

    Just when that day is coming…

    Who can say?

    Who can say?

  9. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Dude, you turned me onto The Hu.

    You got this. Go with your gut.