Everybody’s talking ’bout the new song; funny, but it’s still shock and awe to me

CHRISTMAS IN FALLUJAH SMACKDOWN: BILLY JOEL VS. JEFFERSON PEPPER

joel1.jpgIn this corner, the popular favorite from Long Island, N.Y., Billy “The Piano Man” Joel. More than three years after frustrated U.S. forces reduced the ancient Iraqi city of Fallujah into a 19th century collection of archeological rubble, and more than four years after George Bush declared “Mission Accomplished,” the 58-year-old Joel arrives on the scene with an anti-war anthem, “Christmas in Fallujah.” Joel did not write it for himself, but for 21-year-old rising star (if Billy Joel’s writing songs for you, Columbia Records says you’re a budding star) named Cass Dillon.

jpepspeak.jpg

In the other corner Jefferson “Spritzie” Pepper, a scrappy songster and a former high school wrestler from Newberrytown, Pa. In 2005, when Billy Joel was drying out at the Betty Ford Center in California, Mr. Pepper was hard at work on his debut album, Christmas in Fallujah. Title track was inspired by the saga of 21-year-old David Maples, a friend and neighbor whom the writer watched mature from a sweet, innocent boy into a war-weary Army medic. Special guest judge for this main event is deceased R&B legend and wife-beater extraordinaire Ike Turner.

TALE OF THE TAPE

Up first: Battling Billy Joel

SPORTS CONNECTION: Credited with performing the first rock concert at Yankee Stadium, though people with any blood left in their veins might take exception to the categorization of Joel’s music as “rock.” First singer to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl twice. Has banner hanging in Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center commemorating 46 sold-out shows.

DAY JOB: Banging 26-year-old wife Katie, writing songs for 21-year-old male ingenue, avoiding the liquor cabinet at all costs.

GOOGLE POWER: Nearly 8.4 million hits.

CLAIMS TO FAME: Member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, once married to Christie Brinkley, six-time Grammy winner

DEFINING EARLY HIT: The Piano Man

BAND: Billy Joel and His Nameless Lackeys

LABEL: Columbia Records

REASON FOR WRITING CHRISTMAS IN FALLUJAH: God knows. Or as one uncharitable Internet critic said, “Wow. Thanks for weighing in, drunken has-been. I guess we can end the war now.” Really, aren’t there any other devastated cities in the Iraqi wasteland that would make a nice backdrop for a comeback-from-irrelevance Christmas anthem? Christmas in Kirkuk? Basra? Samarra? Najaf? Tikrit, for God’s sake? Perhaps it was a simple as the chance to rhyme Fallujah with hallelujah.

CHORUS: It’s Christmas in Fallujah, Billy Joel’s safe at home, we’re killing Iraqis in the desert, we’re the legionnaires of Rome

BEST LINE: There is no justice in the desert because there is no God in hell

GRUNT’S-EYE VIEW: It’s evening in the desert, I’m tired and I am cold; But I am just a soldier, I do what I am told

OSAMA REFERENCE: They say Osama’s in the mountains, deep in a cave in Pakistan, but there’s a sea of blood in Baghdad, a sea of oil in the sand

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Aside from an introduction from the songwriting legend himself and the bizarre stage presence of a company of soldiers in desert camoflauge chanting a disturbing “hoo-rah” or some such nonsense, mostly forgettable.

ike1.jpgIKE SAYS: Sad and sweet, nearly liked him complete when he wore a younger man’s clothes. Unfortunately, I went to my grave wanting to bitch-slap the little pussy for “Honesty” and “Just the Way You Are,” two infernal pieces of treacly dogshit that my ears never quite recovered from.
Get this, my bitches: He’s down, and I’m out.

The challenger: Joltin’ Jefferson Pepper

SPORTS CONNECTION: Turned down invitation to sing national anthem at the annual “Dirt Duel to the Death” at Susquehanna Speedway in May 2005, citing longheld belief that “Sports creates an Us vs. Them mentality which conditions men to kill and die for their countries, often in grotesque and meaningless fashion.”

DAY JOB: Landscaping contractor, door-to-door daylily salesman

GOOGLE POWER: 2,560 hits

BAND: Jefferson Pepper and the Varmints in Heaven

LABEL: American Fallout Records

CLAIMS TO FAME: Built awe-inspiring Beer Can Museum, which artfully houses a collection of more the 50,000 different cans, the second largest such brewerania exhibit in the world. First singer-songwriter-radical-commie-pinko to write and record a song titled “Christmas in Fallujah.” Founder and host of the annual Newberry Bash. Architect of Rocky Point Crab Colisseum.

DEFINING EARLY HIT: The Dungeness Gimp

REASON FOR WRITING CHRISTMAS IN FALLUJAH: Got fucking pissed off and wanted to hurt somebody. Bad. His therapist, a hopeless, out-of-touch idealist, told him the pen was mightier than the sword.

CHORUS: Uncle Sam’s made a list, he’s checkin’ it twice, he’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice; But sometimes the names they get mixed up, if we get ’em right half the time that’s close enough

BEST LINE: That’s not the sound of reindeer up on your roof at night, we’re coming down your chimney with guns and blinding lights

GRUNT’S-EYE VIEW: Don’t blame it on us soldiers, we’re only doing what we’re told; Never had a spoon of silver, now I’ve got a broken heart of gold

OSAMA REFERENCE: And I’m going to have to live with all these nightmares that I’ve seen; Never taught to know the difference between Osama and Hussein

YOUTUBE VIDEO: Not to be watched on a full stomach or an empty conscience.

ike1.jpgIKE SAYS: “Badass. This hombre is one batshit crazy motherfucker. Not to be messed with in any condition, especially stay clear after he throws down a fifth of potato vodka. More dangerous than Ray Lewis with a machete.
Get this, my bitches: J-Pep bitch-slaps Billy-J and reigns as Dead Ike’s new and indisputed Christmas in Fallujah champion.”

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5 responses to “Everybody’s talking ’bout the new song; funny, but it’s still shock and awe to me

  1. I love you Mr. Waddell. Marry me!

  2. I wish I hadn’t read it yet, so I could read it fresh again. It was that great.

  3. Remember Billy Joel’s sad and ultimately futile attempt to make a case for himself as an edgy rock-n-roll pioneer with the video for “Keeping the Faith?” Here’s a tip, Billy: If that’s your intent, don’t cast Joe Piscopo in your video.

    Jefferson Pepper by a freakin MILE! Hell, the beer can house alone should decide this contest.

  4. Let’s talk about this offline, Ruthie.

  5. I grew up in the ’70s, served in the Army, and was never a fan of the fuckin’ Piano Man. Now he comes along with this “Christmas in Fallujah” song — it reminds me of the Christmas I spent in Austin. Well, actualy it doesn’t. I only remember what other people told me about that night. Was that the Bush man over in the corner, taking a blade to a chunk of the white stuff. Nah, couldn’t have been.
    Hallucianating? Nah, I musta been Fallujanating.
    Billy, what’s the deal with this new song? I don’t get it. The Ike Man knows his shit. J-Pep clearly the undisputed champion of “Christmas in Fallujah.”
    Hey, Rubbie Waddell. I think you ought to get a link of Jeff Pep’s song and put it on this site.

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