Track 2 (or the second song, as we used to put it) on the Dead Milkmen's 1988 album Beelzebubba. Who precisely RC is and what bearing his mom might have on this song have remained mysterious enigmas over the last decade-and-a-half, resulting in the song being perhaps better-known under its catchy refrain: Gonna Beat My Wife.

Yikes! Wife-beating is understandably a bit of a touchy and taboo matter to be writing humorous songs about, even for the punky and idiosyncratic auteurs of solid gold hits based on potentially-offensive subject matter such as Let's Get the Baby High and If You Love Somebody, Set Them On Fire. But hasn't rock 'n roll always been about shock value set to a danceable beat?

Hold on - there's more here than a provocative attention-grab: they're appropriating and deconstructing the funk-soul idiom of one James Brown, through a disonnant and demented horn backup, in order to expose and confront some ugly social problems. Why James Brown? Because the "hardest-working man in show business" was known to have a bit of a temper problem (arrests: 8, convictions: 3, time served: 5 years, 4 days) compounded with an on-again-off-again relationship with angel dust (aka phencyclidine, better known as PCP) - and especially in and around 1988 had been in the headlines on more than one occasion for assaulting his late wife, Adrienne Brown. (Hauled in by the police at least three times - once for assault with intent to kill - each time Adrienne's charges against Soul Brother #1 were dropped, dismissed or recanted. "I want him to seek help because he's a good man. I know he loves me, and I know it's a sickness. I feel this marriage is worth saving. I love him.")

Though the public was by and large willing to forgive his erratic behavior after he lent his image in the early '90s to AGS Marketing's James Brown Chocolate Chip Feel Goodeez Cookeez (5-ounce bags of "heavy" cookies who donated a princely 1% of their proceeds to anti-violence and crime prevention organizations), the Milkmen weren't so quick to let him off the hook. So with tongue firmly in cheek get out your best savage sex-machine wail-growl and sing along to the piece of satire that has totally earned a place in my heart as my second-favorite song ever (the first?) about spousal abuse. (+ thank Ben Gladdle (moose9377@hotmail.com) for the tabs + chord information! Play the verses as Bm with the riff and just follow the chords for the chorus.)

    Intro riff:
    E---2--2--2-2-----4--4--2-2-2-2----------
    B---3--3--3-3-----3--3--3-3-3-3----------
    G---4--4--4-4-----4--4--4-4-4-4----------
    D---4--4--4-4-----4--4--4-4-4-4----------
    A---2--2--2-2-----2--2--2-2-2-2----------
    E----------------------------------------

    Gon' beat my wife!
    Gon' beat my wife now!
    Gonna smack her with a lead pipe!1
    Gonna smack her with a two-bah-four!
    Run her over with a Brinks' truck!
    Chase her down with a lawn mower!
    Gonna beat my wife!

    Look out!

      Em
      Wife beatin'!
      A
      Mistreatin'!
      Em
      Wife slappin' --
      A                  Em
      It happens!

    Gon' beat my wife!
    Gon' beat your wife!
    Gon' beat his wife!
    Gon' beat her wife!

      Em
      Gon' beat my wife!
      A
      Gonna slap my wife!
      Em
      Gonna kick my wife!
      A                  Em
      Good God, y'all!

    Gonna beat my wife!
    Gon' beat my wife!
    At the shelter!
    Helter skelter!

      Em
      Wife-kickin'!
      A
      Finger-lickin'!
      Em
      Wife-killin'!
      A                  Em
      It's thrillin'!

    Oh baby please don't beat me, baby
    I promise I'll neverevaevaevaevaeva sleep with the moon in my face no more!

      Em
      I'm gonna beat my wife!

    Heh heh heh

1C'mon, guys. Beat her with a lead pipe? No one does that, right? April 6, 1988 Adrienne Brown was treated for bruises at a hospital in Augusta, Georgia after her husband "allegedly beat his wife with a pipe and shot into her car. Charges were dropped."

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