Rock n’ Roll Pest Control: The Title Track

by Gary Miller

This is the third post for this column, and I’ve gotten a few inquiries about the name Rock n’ Roll Pest Control. So, I though I would dedicate this week’s post to the song and the band that wrote it.

“Rock n’ Roll Pest Control” is the lead track off of the Young Fresh Fellows‘ classic The Fabulous Sounds Of The Pacific Northwest. Why did I choose it to be the title of my column on the KEXP blog? Good question! I don’t have much of an answer for you, as the truth is I needed to come up with a title at the eleventh hour. But, I thought it was a nice tribute to the group and was generally a catchy title for a column. I can’t tell you a story more clever than that without dipping into a deep well of lies.

As best as I can tell from the lyrics, the song is homage to the awesome power of rock n’ roll to kill bugs, re-energize the exhausted and shake off the everyday blues. I can get behind that mission and will endeavor to keep that spirit for future columns.

The Young Fresh Fellows, in case you’re new to the planet, were a staple of the 1980s Seattle music scene. Their quirky lyrics and catchy tunes made them college radio darlings (of sorts) and their manic and fun live show made them a hit with other bands (like the Replacements, who even formed a cheerleader pyramid with the band on a tour stop).

They do still play around town on occasion, and some video of their most recent appearance can be found on YouTube. Here’s a sample, with them performing this column’s namesake:

While searching for that video, I also found some footage of “The Iconics” performing the same tune. The Iconics is a local one-off (?) “supergroup” that paid tribute to Seattle music and musicians at a big event at Pike Place Market this past summer, and they have a rotating cast of vocalists, varying from song to song. On this particular tune, it’s Chris Ballew of the Presidents of the United States of America.

Gary Miller runs the Seattle Powerpop Blog, which focuses on all things powerpop in the Pacific Northwest. SPB features album reviews, recommended shows, videos, mp3s and more.

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