CHEECH & CHONG: Alice Bowie’s “Earache My Eye”, the first Chicano Punk Song

“Earache My Eye” is a comedy routine and song by Cheech and Chong from their 1974 album Cheech & Chong’s Wedding Album. The skit is about a teenager (played by Tommy Chong) who wakes up and listens to a song by “Alice Bowie” (Cheech Marin), while his father (also played by Marin) yells at him to get ready for school.

My momma talkin’ to me tryin’ to tell me how to live
But I don’t listen to her ‘cause my head is like a sieve
My daddy, he disowned me ‘cause I wear my sister’s clothes
He caught me in the bathroom with a pair of pantyhose

My basketball coach, he done kicked me off the team
For wearin’ high-heel sneakers and actin’ like a queen

—— lead guitar ——

The world’s comin’ to an end, I don’t even care
As long as I can have a limo and my orange hair
And it don’t bother me if people think I’m “funny”
‘Cause I’m a big rock star and I’m makin’ lots of money
Money, money, money, money, money, money
Ahhh! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…

I’m so bloody rich! Ha ha ha ha
I own apartment buildings and shopping centers! Ha ha ha ha
And I only know three chords! Ha ha ha ha

The First Chicano Punk Song
Ed Fuentes, KCET, June 14, 2012

It opens with an alarm clock waking up a heavy sleeper. Then you hear coughing and groaning as a teenager turns on a bedside turntable. A long guitar riff opens the metal-fused song, rebellion for waking up in time for school. It’s “Earache, My Eye,” a 1974 Cheech and Chong sketch on a 45rpm single that featured a song by Alice Bowie (Cheech Marin) poking at the commercial record industry.

Cheech also voiced the father that belts the sleeping teen, voiced by Tommy Chong, who can’t go to school because he has an earache. Alice Bowie was a cross — and cross-dress — of proto-goth hard rocker Alice Cooper, before the release of “Welcome to My Nightmare,” and David Bowie during his orange-haired glitter turning glam Ziggy Stardust period, before “Diamond Dogs.”

It could be considered an indirect link to the movement that is the source for Cheech’s Chicano Art collection. Does Alice Bowie become a nod to Los Angeles performance art, specifically East Los Angeles’ Asco?

“Absolutely,” says Cheech from his home that also has a private Chicano art gallery. “Gronk, Pattsi (Valdez) and that whole Asco scene. They were provocateurs. They were street and performance artists, who with Pattsi, kinda learned to paint after.”

It was a period “when those barriers were being broken down, and hip kids from East Los Angeles could discover Hollywood and music,” according to Cheech, comparing shared backgrounds in mining material. “I was the same way. I was a little bit older, but I discovered hippie music. I used that, plus rock and whatever what was happening with my Mexican roots.”

Under the banner of Pacific Standard Time, the performance, public art, and multimedia by Gronk and Patssi Valdez, along with other founding members, Harry Gamboa Jr. and Willie Herrón III, were subject of “Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective 1972-1987” at Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2011, which surveyed visual arts as a component of activism, sometimes heavy with the use of glam rock imagery… [+]


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