Song Of The Week: “The Martian Boogie” by Brownsville Station


“What you eatin’ there, boy? Crayons?”

(One of my favorite lines from a song, ever.)

Brownsville Station was a rockin’ good-time bar band from Michigan whose main claim to fame will always be the party anthem “Smokin’ In The Boy’s Room,” a Top 10 hit for them in 1973 (later covered by Mötley Crüe, who also had a big hit with it). The band emerged out of the same sweaty blues and R&B scene that produced Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, Bob Seger, and the incendiary MC5. As a result of the fierce competition, they developed a reputation as a formidable live act. As lead singer Cub Koda recalled, fans at the time expected bands to “kick out the jams . . . or else we’ll get somebody up there who will.” They were a hard-working, constantly touring band, focused on music rather than style (as evidenced by the picture above, where the guys look more like roadies than rock stars).

As the 70s progressed and disco began to take over the airwaves, the fortunes (and fans) of Brownsville Station waned. But they had one more trick up their satin band-jacket sleeves…

BrownsvillestationIn 1977, Brownsville Station gained underground notoriety—and occasional airplay— for “The Martian Boogie,” a 7-minute tour de force novelty recorded live in concert in one take. The song began life as a jam during soundchecks and off-hours, a jumble of well-known blues and boogie riffs. But after finding themselves trapped in a Canadian hotel room one night with nothing to do except watch a sci-fi B-movie called Not Of This Earth, the song coalesced into its current form, ready to rock you from here to the Red Planet.

Note: There’s an edited single version that eliminates some solos, but c’mon, who wants less guitar? Aside from saxophone players—nobody. I know you demand more guitar, and therefore you shall have more guitar! So it has been writ, and so shall it be. 

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