ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 22, 1986
By Steve Newton
When Kim Mitchell plays Expo Theatre this Monday (August 25), one of the cooler tunes emanating over the Expo grounds is sure to be his “Go For Soda”. Mitchell had a big hit with the song last year, but it wasn’t just the blue-jeaned, party-hearty fans of his that got into it. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) also took the song to heart, making it their campaign theme.
(Good thing the title wasn’t “Go For Brewski” instead.)
“Yeah,” says Kim. “They needed something, and that was it. You know, the song wasn’t about their cause, and we kept telling them that.”
MADD’s answer was simply: “That’s okay. When you read the lyrics–‘might as well go for soda, nobody drowns and nobody dies’–you can apply that to our cause.”
Mitchell says he had no problems with that. “We said sure, go for it, because it was a very big campaign at the time, and right on, because it worked.”
MADD’s liking for the song also worked out well for Kim Mitchell publicity-wise.
“I was on Good Morning America,” he chuckles. “And the song was on Miami Vice. Our tour manager phoned us and said turn on channel such-and-such, and there it was. They played the whole song, and it was a thrill. As a matter of fact it was the first time I saw the show, not being a real fan of television.
“So those were the pluses out of it,” Mitchell says. “As far as selling albums and stuff like that, we noticed no real increase when MADD got involved. I mean some people have said, ‘Oh you just did that to get some exposure.’ And I’m going, ‘Hey wait a minute. This wasn’t our idea, this was theirs.”
While Akimbo Alogo, the album that “Go For Soda” came from, didn’t include any songs that go against what the people at MADD believe in, it did include one potent, pass-me-another drinkin’ song called “Lager and Ale”. That song, along with “Rumour Has It” and “Diary for Rock ‘n’ Roll Men”, gave the LP a gritty, down ‘n’ dirty feel, one that isn’t so apparent on Mitchell’s latest disc, Shakin’ Like a Human Being. Kim figures there’s still a fair degree of raunchiness on the new record, though more in the lyrics than the music itself.
“If you’re looking at a stylized Mitchell-Dubois [lyricist Pye Dubois] form of writing, i.e. ‘Lager and Ale’ or ‘Hangover’, I think it’s there in new songs like ‘City Girl’ and ‘That’s the Hold’, I really do. Just because the grungy guitar isn’t there, I still think it’s got that sleazy feel to it.”
Mixed in with the more suggestive material on Shakin’ Like a Human Being is also some pretty innocent stuff, like the light-hearted look at pubescent night moves, “Patio Lanterns”. Mitchell explains the attraction of the song, a big radio hit across the country.
“For someone over 14, 15 years old, it strikes up some sort of nostalgia, you know. I mean everyone can get sort of a mental picture of, yeah, who they were stuck on, and bein’ at that patio or basement party when, you know, two people are kissing, and a half an hour later the whole room’s necking.”
And what about the album title, Shakin’ Like a Human Being? As Kim says, there’s a message most people can relate to there as well.
“I just like the title because of what’s going on in 1986 and how, you know, there’s too much acid rain, and there’s Chernobyl, and there’s heavy angst in public. I mean just take a look around. It’s 1986! Wouldn’t you be shakin’ like a human being?”