JB024 — Hostage Life: MPLA (COTU B-Side)
For those of you old enough to remember, we released the final Hostage Life full-length, Centre of the Universe, just before Hostage Life called it a day. It was a wild (some drinks), frustrating (our server crashed right before the album was supposed to get posted), and important experience (we still pulled it off), and we’re grateful to the fine friends in Hostage Life for trusting us with someone as important to them as this record truly was.
Like most bands, they recorded a few extra gems that didn’t make the record proper. One of them is this, a cover of Tapper Zukie’s “MPLA”. Get into it, ’cause folks, this is it.
Courtesy of Mr. Colin Lichti and Hostage Life:
This cover of Tapper Zukie’s “MPLA” was initially supposed to be the A side of the bonus 7″ that was to accompany the 12″ version of Centre of the Universe. The song was a staple of our live show for several years and we were excited to put it out. Like true under achievers, however, we broke up right before it was supposed to be pressed so it was never released. Sam and the cats at Juicebox were cool enough to post it here on their site though. The B side to that 7″ will not be posted because we ended up not liking it very much, and assumed that you, the casual Hostage Life listener, would have a similar opinion.
As for the song, I have no idea what it’s about. It seems the title is a reference to the Angolan political party (the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) that ruled Angola after the country won independence from the Portuguese. The lyrics, however, don’t seem to reflect the title at all – they seem to be about Rastafarianism. All I know for sure is that whenever I sang the refrain of “knot-up, knot-up, knot-up, knot-up,” I always felt a little weird. Those are strange words to come out of a balding, white atheist hailing from Orangeville, ON. So, the question remains, is this an act of cultural appropriation? Maybe. It definitely isn’t theft since we procured the rights to record the song through the CMRRA. The last thing we wanted to do was pull an Elvis and become a part of that long North American tradition of stealing music from black artists. Mainly because we like Tapper Zukie. Paul was the one who introduced the band to his music. Spotting the influence of reggae on bands like The Clash, Paul looked deeper into it himself. He got really into Junior Murvin, Mikey Dread, Tapper Zukie. When he checked out “MPLA”, he could see the connection – the basic chords that make up the song could be a Ramones song if played twice as fast. Thinking about how the Ramones applied this philosophy to Phil Spector songs, we thought it’d be interesting to give it a go ourselves. So here it is. Hope you like it.
01. MPLA (Tapper Zukie)
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