Sunday, September 2, 2018

ROB TYNER AND DENNIS THOMPSON CREATE HUMAN BEING LAWNMOWER


This song was written by Rob Tyner and myself in the band house in Detroit. Becky was sitting in the corner and Rob was at his drafting table. I used to visit Rob a lot and he was always working on some songs. Very productive time for Tyner 1968-69.

Stopped by one night and Rob forever in an efferescent mood, smiling ear to ear, hands me a joint and says "check this out!"

"Dennis you know how songs are all verse chorus bridge then verse chorus and out"? "This format is boring isn't it Dennis?" I replied, "Yeah kinda." Rob then showed me something brand new...


The lyrics were 3/4 finished, and the song was about the US Army Draft. The song became Human Being Lawnmower...

Rob wanted me to think in a new format. He sang me a line while playing drums with his hands on his thighs. Then he told me that this song will played as an ensemble orchestral piece.


Rob asked me if I could drum just to his lyrics and ignore the bass and guitars. He said take your cues for your accents from the vocal line.  My accents were to run underneath his vocal to really make the lyrics pop!

The Human Being Lawnmower was symbolic of a machine chopping up young soldiers and turning them into cannon fodder. It took some rehearsing but after due diligence it became a very cool finished song.

All you rockers out there, this is one of the most classic methods of the lyricist and the drummer together creating a song.. Did this with Rob On Kick Out the Jams, Future Now, and Starship. More to come about working with Fred...



Human Being Lawnmower

Lyrics/Rob Tyner

Can you hear me?
Hope you can
Listen here closely
You'll understand
There's an ancient race of killer apes
They use the thigh bone

Millimeter by millimeter
Millimeter by millimeter

Six times hot as the sun
Didn't mean to hurt anyone
Didn't mean to hurt anyone

Sorry, sorry, yeah
Don't try to force them
To help them
Do what they do

So they'll hunt and they'll hound you
chase and surround you
till you're standing before 
the human being lawnmower
chop chop chop chop...

6 comments:

Michael Bolan said...

Thank you for that MC5 history lesson Dennis! Your really helping us fans in the education process.

Joe Ruffner said...

I remember at the end of this song playing live ... Fred and Wayne pointing their guitars at us like they were M16's

Mark Cox said...

Keep em coming MGT!

Bruce Bertram said...

One of my faves. Will have to register with your info in mind. I always loved the syncopation and knowing were it came from makes it all the more impressive. I used to play it on a radio show I did from the small college and town of Olivet. People though I was nuts.

Carl Hoff said...

So great! One of my favorite MC5 tunes!

Patrick Mezza said...

Always one of my Favs!

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