‘the booty don’t stop’ vs. ‘back to ypsilanti’: selecting an ypsilanti anthem

It’s a small world.

One day, not too long ago, when talking with our Mayor, he mentioned that his son, Tim, lived in Athens, Georgia and made music there. I asked him which band(s) his son was in and he, I think with some degree of embarrassment, rattled a few off. Col. Knowledge and the Lickity Splits was one. Another, I believe, was Something, Something and the Vomit Zombies. I, in turn, named a few of the bands there that I know people in… Well, it turns out that his son and I know some of the same people in common.

According to the Mayor, his son played for a short while with a band called Casper and the Cookies, which is the band of the guy who recorded the ’02 Monkey Power Trio record, “Almost Clear.” In fact, at the same time I was talking with the Mayor, his son and this guy that I know, Jason, were negotiating the purchase of a van. (Sadly, I’m told the deal fell through.)

Small world.

I’d actually known, prior to that conversation, that our Mayor’s son had a history when it came to making music. I can’t remember when I figured it out, but it was well before the last election. I think I was doing a Google search on “Ypsi + music,” and it turned up a discussion concerning the origins of the infamous “Booty Don’t Stop” tape made popular by Davey Rothbart and the “Found” magazine gang. According to the official story, the unmarked cassette tape, featuring a number of songs with titles like “Wave Yo’ Booty in the Air” and “Your Booty Don’t Stop,” was found on a street in Ypsi by a guy named Nigel Morgan. Then, one thing led to another, and it eventually fell into the hands of Davey and company, getting copied a million times and sent out all over the world. (You can still get a copy for $10 if you follow that last link.) It would later turn out that the cassette had been recorded by a young man named Tim Schreiber, who, I was quickly able to confirm, was the son of local Democrat, Paul Schreiber. Anyway, it’s one of the few Ypsi exports that’s made a dent in American pop culture over the past decade, and I thought that it was cool that it had its genesis with the spawn of a mayoral candidate.

I didn’t want it to be used against Paul during the election, so I didn’t drop the question into the mix at the big mayoral debate, but the thought did cross my mind that I could play a minute or so of it, and then point accusingly at Paul saying, “Is it true that YOU, Paul Scrieber, are the father of the man responsible for this?” I kept it to myself though.

“Why does the booty not stop!?”

While the links to the booty tracks don’t seem to be working on the “Found” site, you can hear Tim cutting loose with the Lickity Splits on “You Set My Christmas Tree on Fire,” a song which, I just happened to catch on WCBN one day this winter. I thought that it was interesting, so I made a note of it, and then searched for it later. When I did, I found that it was by Tim. Small world again.

As I’ve yet to hear “Booty Don’t Stop,” I’m not going to come out and suggest that our Mayor make it the official song of Ypsilanti, but I do think that perhaps we should put it on the next ballot. I’d love to see “Booty Don’t Stop” go head-to-head with Lee Osler’s “Back to Ypsilanti.” It would be a welcome diversion from all this City Income Tax stuff we’re being asked to choose sides on.

I don’t know that it would generate a lot of revenue for the city, but what if we tried to capitalize on our reputation for booty by renaming the Water Street Project, the Booty Don’t Stop Initiative? At the very least, we could sell some t-shirts.

[A special thanks to the guys at Cousins Vinyl for posting “Back to Ypsilanti” on their site. They’re great guys, and, if you’re looking for something on vinyl, you should check them out… As for Lee Osler, somewhere around here I have an interview I did with him about nine years ago. (I was going to publish it in “Crimewave,” but it never really fit.) If I find it, I’ll post it here.]

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26 Comments

  1. vera
    Posted March 5, 2007 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    You’ll have to include Fambooey’s “Ypsilanti” song on the ballot. It’s a nice P-Funk inspired piece. If you do a search you can find some snippets.

  2. frenchfries
    Posted March 5, 2007 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    I love Of Montreal, which despite my similar love for Canada, is from Athens. I don’t know why I like them. I’m one of those people who can’t remember the words to songs I wrote myself, so…well…you’ll get it if you know anything about Of Montreal. Basically, they use a lot of words. They’re like the John Coltrane of lyrics.

  3. cleo love-paste
    Posted March 5, 2007 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    You can sign me up for a “Booty Don’t Stop” condo, if I can get a Taste that Booty Flava’ Lane mailing address.

  4. ebjorn
    Posted March 5, 2007 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I’ve heard the Booty Don’t Stop. While my wife and I love the song, we’re dubious about its being adopted as the city song. But if so, we’d not oppose. (By the way, Mark, you have been in the presence of Booty Don’t Stop: it was being played during the Shadow Art Fair. However, tucked away in your corner you may not have heard it enough to hear the lyrics.)

    This isn’t a nomination, but there’s also the Sufjan Stevens song “For the Widows in Paradise; For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti” off of his Michigan album:

    ===========

    I have called you children, I have called you son.
    What is there to answer if I’m the only one?
    Morning comes in Paradise, morning comes in light.
    Still I must obey, still I must invite.
    If there’s anything to say, if there’s anything to do,
    If there’s any other way, I’ll do anything for you.

    I was dressed embarrassment.
    I was dressed in wine.
    If you had a part of me, will you take you’re time?
    Even if I come back, even if I die
    Is there some idea to replace my life?
    Like a father to impress;
    Like a mother’s mourning dress,
    If you ever make a mess, I’ll do anything for you

    I have called you preacher; I have called you son.
    If you have a father or if you haven’t one,
    I’ll do anything for you. I did everything for you.

  5. rebekah
    Posted March 5, 2007 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Here’s a few songs:
    http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=112289303

  6. t.d. glass
    Posted March 5, 2007 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Actually, if you even get a chance, check out the original incorporation papers drawn up by Major Thomas Woodruff in 1823 (for Woodruff’s Grove, which would in 1829 become part of Ypsilanti). At the bottom of the page, just below his signature, he writes “A word to my brothers. The booty here, it seems to not stop.”

  7. Cousins Vinyl
    Posted March 5, 2007 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I actually just found another song about Ypsilanti last week. It’s on a 45 from around ’67 by Nancy Adams on Phillips titled “Ypsilanti”, supposedly with a northern soul/girl group sound. I couldn’t find any info about this song or artist, so I’m curious as to what it’s all about. When I get it in the mail I’ll post it if it’s any good. -Geoff

  8. Dave
    Posted March 5, 2007 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I have the booty CD somewhere in my apartment. I think “Yo Shit Be Up in My Face” might be a better choice.

  9. girlnextdoor
    Posted March 5, 2007 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Last summer, I traveled for a few weeks with Davy (my A2 roommate) on the found tour.
    At the end of my run with them, they had a bunch of extra “Booty Don’t Stop” shirts so I threw one in my briefcase as I left from the Seattle airport on my way to meetings in Dallas.
    I chose to wear my Booty shirt to the hotel gym, and needless to say, 5 of my Japanese coworkers came into the gym at the end of my workout and found the sweaty version of me in a booty shirt to be VERY confusing, that was a fun translation to explain.

    “You shit be up in my face” is by far the best track.

  10. Paul Schreiber
    Posted March 5, 2007 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Tim started recording the booty songs as he was mowing the lawn on a summer night when he was 16. When he got an idea, he’d stop the lawn mower, dash into the basement studio (such as it was) and record his idea. It was a quick way to write songs but a very slow way to mow the lawn. On one of the tracks you can faintly hear one of his parents yelling at him from the top of the stairs to finish mowing the lawn.

    Another ten songs that aren’t listed on the Found site complete the booty oeuvre.

  11. ol' e cross
    Posted March 5, 2007 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Grass grows slow; inspiration is fleeting; booty is forever. Tim chose well.

    Let’s not forget “Ypsilanti, a Comic Song” circa 1915:

    I’ll sing you a song and it’s not very long,
    It’s as crazy as crazy can be,
    The verse is as short as a pistol report
    And the chorus is longer than me.

    (chorus)
    Yip-si-lanti, Mich-i-gan, Yip-si-lanti wish a-gain,
    I’ve got an aunt-ie who lives in a shan-ty in Yip-si-lanti, swish-a-gain.
    If you want a rhyme for an-y old time, Just sing them all over a-gain.
    Aunt-ie, shan-ty, Yip-sil-lan-ti, then make a wish a-gain.

    (five more verses, repeat chorus after each)

  12. edweird
    Posted March 6, 2007 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Wasn’t Tim Schreiber in Cornish in a Turtleneck too? I was a regular at Matt Bradish’s Vinyl Joe’s on Cross St. and Matt really liked to push local stuff in his store. He took a particular shine to some local high school kids who made homemade cd packages that were more arts and crafts than album artwork. Really cool stuff inside and out.

  13. trusty getto
    Posted March 6, 2007 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    “. . . didn’t want it to be used against Paul during the election . . .”

    ‘Tis a badge of honor, so far as I’m concerned, to have supported a child in his pursuit of booty music. ;)

    I sense a music festival in the future, featuring Ypsi bands and Ypsi-themed booty music. Count me in!

  14. timmy tumble
    Posted March 6, 2007 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Wait til my solo record drops.

    It’s called “The Prynce of Ypsilanti”

    And it’s not the Vomit Zombies Mr. Mark. It’s the Dark Meat/Vomit Lasers Family band.

    We’re heading to South By Southwest this year to play some weird comedy show with David Cross.

    I’m all for Booty Don’t Stop being The Song of Ypsilanti.

  15. timmy tumble
    Posted March 6, 2007 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Oh yeah, Andrew WK is doing some presentation at that SXSW show as well… he’s from Ann Arbor. Don’tcha remember “Party Hard” from a few years back? Such fond memories…

  16. Dr. Cherry
    Posted March 6, 2007 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Who?

  17. cleo love-paste
    Posted March 6, 2007 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Maybe it was meant to be somehow ironic, but I found “Party Hard” to be offensive. Given what we were going through at the time (the war, the stolen election), I saw it as moronic corporate misdirection. The youth of America deserved better.

    That does not mean I’m not totally down with booty though. It’s a matter of scale.

  18. edweird
    Posted March 7, 2007 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    “I saw it as moronic corporate misdirection.”

    Um… apparently you’ve not paid much attention to the entire world of pop music. It’s ALWAYS been about misdirection.

    What frightens me more is the lack of protest music in the last 6 years. Hell I went and made a protest record myself and only Japan has seemed to notice it. During the Reagan administration there was literally tons of independent bands mocking the man. Is Bush too easy a target, therefore not worth the effort or do these kids not care?

  19. muppster
    Posted March 7, 2007 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    this post made my day. thanks for the laughs, all.

  20. dr. teddy glass
    Posted March 8, 2007 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    My booty stops – I mean it comes to a DEAD STOP – every day when I cross over the Ann Arbor line. It’s weird.

  21. dr. teddy glass
    Posted March 8, 2007 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the link, Rebekah.

    “Damn, yo’ shit be up in my face” is incredible.

  22. Andy
    Posted March 8, 2007 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    We had a ton of bands from all over staying at our little apartment in Ypsianti in the ’90s. Every band knew Ypsi due to the song about the Chick-Inn restaurant by the Detroit band The Gories. Of course they all wanted to eat there too. I’m talking bands from France and Japan knew about Ypsilanti from that song. It’s on the Gories 2nd album “I Know You Fine, But How You Doin’?”

  23. mark
    Posted March 8, 2007 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Lots of good song nominations. Someone should put together a website with all of them on it. (I would, but I have no computer skilz.)

    Oh, and, since no one else is likely to nominate it, I’ll also point out that there’s a Monkey Power Trio song about the Ypsilanti smeet.

  24. mark
    Posted March 8, 2007 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Tim, thanks for dropping-in and commenting.

    I hope that everything’s going well at SXSW.

    Tell Mr. Cross that I said hello.

    (I’m sure he still remembers the half hour that he spent with Linette and me discussing my then brand new Honda Civic hybrid.)

  25. Cousins Vinyl
    Posted March 9, 2007 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Mark, if you collect all the entrys or send them my way I will host the audios at Cousins Vinyl. Then we could vote and make it official. I’m sure there are lots out there and we could make a nice collection or even a compilation LP. It would be nice to turn it into a fundraiser.

  26. Jordan Miller
    Posted May 7, 2007 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I know this post is older, but I just read it and had to tell you a story.

    This past Christmas I didn’t have any money to give my family presents, so Davy traded me as much FOUND stuff as I wanted in exchange for a t-shirt that actually belonged to him anyways and a case of PBR I had left over from the previous labor day. Oh yeah, and a CD box set of Band of Brothers an ex-boyfriend had purchased at a garage sale.

    Included in the pile of loot I took was a “Booty Tape” CD, which I gave to my little brother. On Christmas morning, since my grandma had forgotten her hearing aid, we jammed to Oh My God Iss A Booty and other such tracks, at high volumes, while my grandma looked on and smiled. She also has a The Booty Don’t Stop sticker on her walker, which makes her the coolest grandma at American House on Carpenter Road.

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