There's a joke about rock bands, that when they get too big and fall out of touch with their audience, they start writing songs about the trials and tribulations of being on the road. It's a cliche in 1980's rock videos. You know, being on the bus, looking wistfully out the window as you roll into another town. Whatever.
Here's a group of songs by an array of artists, that look to their band as a subject for their song. This is almost, but not exclusively, the provenance of British bands: the idea of being in a band as being a member of a gang. The Clash perfected this concept. I was hard pressed to pick just one of their songs. "Clash City Rockers" was the obvious first choice, but isn't really on the subject. It's no secret that they modeled themselves after Mott, or at least guitarist Mick Jones did, and that's a good thing. Railroad Jerk tells a tall tale. The Mekons have a sense of humor about it, but the Mekons are "a band that deals in the facts of life." The Minutemen are dewey-eyed romantic punks name-checking their forebears. Felt are jangly, and Them are Irish, slightly menacing, and very intense.
"History Lesson - Part II" mp3
by The Minutemen, 1984.
available on Double Nickels on the Dime
"The Ballad Of The Band" mp3
by Felt, 1986.
available on Stains on a Decade
"Sympathy For The Mekons" mp3
by The Mekons, 1987.
available on Honky Tonkin'
"The Ballad Of Railroad Jerk" mp3
by Railroad Jerk, 1995.
available on One Track Mind
"The Story of Them Parts 1 & 2" mp3
(THIS TRACK HAS BEEN REMOVED AS REQUESTED)
by Them, 1967.
available on The Story of Them Featuring Van Morrison
"The Ballad Of Mott The Hoople" mp3
by Mott The Hoople, 1973.
available on Mott
"All The Young Punks" mp3
by The Clash, 1978.
available on Give 'em Enough Rope