Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hardcore Archeology: Edge of Etiquette

I'm almost certain that none of you have ever heard of the band Edge of Etiquitte. And why should you have, anyway?

They've never played a show.

They never even put a record out.

The only shred of analog evidence that can be found of this band is during a scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, when the band's only song (I Hate You) is heard blasting out of a boombox being held by a punker on a bus, who gives Captain Kirk a one-fingered salute.

I was flipping through the channels the other day when I came across this scene. I always loved it. When ever I think about the scene (yes, it actually flashes across my mind from time to time, I have no idea why), I always remember the lyrics "and I eschew you, and I say screw you!" I love that line. It's always cracked me up.

The song also appeared at some point in Back to the Beach with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funacello. I looked into it, and sadly, "I Hate You" doesn't appear on the soundtracks for either movie. What a rip-off.

Anyway, I thought this would make for a good hardcore archeology piece. Below, I've included an interview I found online with Thatcher Kirk, the Associate Producer of Star Trek IV, who also played the part of the punker in movie and wrote the lyrics to the song as well (also provided below).

I Hate You

Just where is our future, the things we've done and said!
Let's just push the button, we'd be better off dead!
'Cause I hate you!
And I berate you!
And I can't wait to get to you!

The sins of all our fathers, being dumped on us — the sons.
The only choice we're given is how many megatons?
And I eschew you!
And I say, screw you!
And I hope you're blue, too.

We're all bloody worthless, just greedy human scum.
The numbers all add up to a negative sum.

And I hate you!
And I hate you!
And I hate you...too!

Lyrics by: Thatcher Kirk
Music by: Mike Mangini
Performed by: Edge of Etiquette

Interview: Thatcher Kirk
Interview by Kenneth Plume

How did your cameo in "Star Trek IV" come about?

Well, we were writing the movie...and I was there from the very beginning –even in the script stages...and they wrote this little bit for this punk rocker. The original idea was that the punk flipped off Spock, then Spock gave him the Vulcan neck grip. I actually came up with the idea of...when he passed out...his face turning off the radio. I actually added a couple little comedy bits. He was supposed to give me the Vulcan "Live Long and Prosper" sign after I flicked him off, but we cut that out. Then I added the scene where Scotty talks to the computer – when the guy tells him to use the mouse, and he holds it up and tries to use it like a microphone. I've always been a Macintosh fan, so I said, "It has to be a Macintosh." Leonard said, "That's funny, let's use it." It was this little bit in the movie, and I walked into Leonard's office and said, "I want to play the punk on the bus." Leonard's got a great sense of humor...he's very he looks at me with this big smile and says, "Reaaally." I said, "Yeah, I think I'd do a great job. I'll shave my head, get a mohawk, whatever." He said, "Let me think about it." I said okay, and I was going crazy, because... in 2 weeks...he didn't say anything – and I promised him I wouldn't bother him. I said, "Look, I'm not going to bother you, I'm only going to ask you this one time," so I really had to live with it and not bother him. I never brought it up, never hinted at it, nothing. So...about 2 weeks later...I walk to his office like I did every day, and he said, "Oh, by the way, you can do it." I said, "What. You mean...?" "Yep, you can play the punk." I was like, "Ohhh thank you, thank you." So I went out, shaved the sides of my head, dyed my hair orange and got a mohawk – because they don't really make a mohawk hairpiece that looks real. So I actually had a bright road cone orange mohawk for about 6 months.

I'm sure they really respected you on the set after that...

Oh it was great – it was a blast. The first time DeForest Kelley saw me with this outrageous hairstyle, he looked me up and down very slowly and said, "Nice shoes". He then broke into a huge grin and ambled away. He had a very dry sense of humor.

You were featured rather prominently on the French poster for the film... (the poster I found was actually German -- Ronny)

That's what somebody told me.

So the French love you...

They would – I have sort of a French attitude in the movie.

That shows you the cultural impact you've had worldwide.

Exactly. Leonard said I got the biggest laugh in the entire movie in Russia – because Russia was fraught with punk rockers before The Wall had fallen. So they got a big laugh out of that.

You're an icon now.

Yeah, I could win the Nobel Peace Prize and my grave would still say "Punk On Bus – Star Trek IV".

The funny thing was – I got to write and sing that song that was playing on the radio. "I Hate You" [written by Kirk Thatcher and performed by The Edge of Etiquette.] We shot the scene with no sound – there was no music playing. I was just miming to a beat. After we wrapped the movie, the music department was coming to us, and they were Duran, or whoever Paramount had some deal with. I said, "That isn't punk rock music. Punk rock is really raw and gritty and dirty." They said, "Well, we don't really deal with the Sex Pistols and stuff." I said to Leonard, "You know, let me write you a song. I can do a song." I was becoming good friends with the sound editor...Mark Mangini...and a couple of the guys in his sound department. I told Leonard, "We can do a song for you that will sound like a punk rock song. Just let us do it, and you won't have to pay for the rights or anything. And, it will be better than Duran Duran." So I went in with Mark and he wrote the music for it. I had a melody in mind...but I don't write he turned it into something that could be played on the guitar. We then recorded it in the hallway of the post-production sound facility which Mark had, so it would sound bad and very distorted – as if recorded in a garage. We actually used the mics that the sound guys use to do key codes like, "Spock walking down the street, Take 1" – it's just a cheap mic so it would sound really bad. We did this one weekend. Leonard came in on a Saturday and listened to it...cracked up...and said, "Great. That's it. We'll use it." And that's how "I Hate You" came to be.

It was used in another film, wasn't it?

Yeah, it was used in "Back To The Beach", with Frankie and Annette. They called me up and said, "Can we use it?" and I said, "Yeah." I actually got paid more for them using it in that than I did for Star Trek.

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