Drink tea, for the love of god!

Beverage week. This is a music column. My drink of choice is tea, iced tea. I drink lots of it. Not quite buckets, not quite gallons, but I do drink my fair share. I love it. Ask anyone. My life is cluttered with glass bottles. Often I am like Stephen Fry’s portrayal of Wellington in Blackadder the Third. Not so much his order to King George but the sharp, singular way he says “Tea!” as he sends the man off. (the line is uttered at 1.21 of the clip in case you’re wondering)

And so here are some songs about drinks for your viewing and listening.

Chris Rock’s track “Champagne” continued in his tradition of adding musical numbers to his comedy records. While I prefer 1991’s “Mother Has A Big Head” from Born Suspect this is a nice send up of the Hype Williams/Bad Boy records omnipresent media image in 1997/1998. Extra points go out to Nipsey Russel.

Read any of Henry Rollins’ work and you find a dedication to coffee. Read through his diaries about the days of Black Flag and you’ll find paens to the beverage and details of drinking Dunkin Donuts’ brand. It does seem that as the band got a bit older, maybe more mature, that they focused in on something as easy to get as coffee. Why it was only a few years earlier when they recorded a song called “Six Pack.” I can’t find that video on YouTube but it is a fine, fine song about beer.

The Beach Boys have been a nostalgia act almost from the time they stopped recording Pet Sounds, they are forever cemented into a certain scene and time and it really is unfortunate. 1970’s Sunflower is a lovely record, warm and open. One of the songs written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love is this track, “Cool Cool Water.” It almost seems too simple, a song by surfers about water? But listen at the work and try to let go of your assumptions and bias about the band.

Kula Shaker were a mid-90s British band that embraced a lite level of psychedelica, bits of eatern thought, and the matronage of Hayley Mills. Their debut LP, K, was a solid disc surpassed by their long-titled follow up in 1999. Being that they were, at their core, poseurs, the band disappeared. I was enjoying their discs again when I came across this track, a 2008 free download. Any video starring George Orwell can’t be bad. It could almost, ALMOST, be my theme song.

But no, this, THIS is my theme song. I know squat about this fellow, nor do I want to. The whole of this song makes me smile, from the lyrics to the outrageously colonial outfits sported in the video. Is it about hot tea? Yes. But with some trays of ice, any tea can be iced.

Mike Vincent is a teacher, dreamer, grouch, and runner. He lives in Northern Michigan and his favorite Beatle is George Harrison.

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