October 30th, 2002


Songs of tenancy

For obvious reasons, I’ve been listening to a lot of landlord/eviction songs recently. I have this feeling that it may be possible to make a whole mix tape. Are there any that I’m forgetting, dear LJ readers?

This is what I’ve got so far:

Dead Kennedys – "Let’s Lynch the Landlord" A classic. "Rats chewing up the kitchen / roaches up to my knees / Turn the oven on, it smells like Dachau, yeah / ‘til the rain pours through the ceiling"

Then there’s the more straightforward hardcore (in the old school sense) of Christ on Parade who repeat a simple truism over and over in their "Landlord Song": "They can’t tell us what to do / Tell your landlord . . . Fuck You!"

The Coup, "Kill My Landlord" is not my favorite Coup song. But it’ll do for the comp.

Then there’s an incredibly underrated song by the local band Ed Asner and the Little Bandits. They played probably 5 shows or something in the mid ‘90s and recorded a crappy demo tape. But one of their songs really deserved a wider audience despite the tinny beatbox and fuzzy vocals. I will quote it at length:

Landlord Rap

My ad in the paper says 3 bedroom flat
But one of the bedrooms has no walls and a welcome mat.
I’m a landlord and my job is making money.
So hand over 3/4 of your wages, honey.

You complain about rats on the bathroom floor.
They’re unauthorized tenants so I’ll have to charge more.
You can bet yer life I’m cutting down that tree
Cuz trees take up space where rental units should be

When it comes to maintenance, I should be sainted
But I’m gonna sell it as soon as it’s painted*
The laws are mine. The money is mine
So get your rent check in on time.
I agreed to fix the heat before I went on vacation?
Where’s your legal documentation??
Word to your mother and your legal defense
The AGA** says I can raise your rents
And if you can’t pay rent cuz you say you’re too poor
Some other sucker’ll come along and pay more

Section 8*** making me so sick
I wouldn’t touch it with my 10ft dick.
And if you think I’m a pain in the ass
Just try to get a pro-tenant law to pass,

You can talk tenants’ rights and section 8 quotas
But I’m comin’ at cha with a 30-day notice.
Got a lot more power than in ’76,****
Cuz we’re back to conservative politics
I’m a landlord, and I can enlist ‘em
The cops, the banks, and the justice system

With 12 properties, my life’s so hard
And I’ve gotta put gas in my other three cars
You can call me up, tell me I’m a jerk
But your rent strike, it ain’t never gonna fuckin’ work
You can stand up now, but your gonna give
Cuz I’m everywhere you’re ever gonna try to live

I’m a landlord

*which is exactly what happened to us
**I can’t remember what it stands for but it’s the East Bay version of the Rent Board, a place where tenant landlord disputes get settled.
***section 8 = government subsidy for housing.
****1976 was when the East Bay rent control laws were passed. They were gutted in the mid ‘90s. Luckily the SF ones are still fairly intact.

Elections are near

Two amusing political advertisements for Tuesday's election

Doris Ward is the current Assessor for the City of San Francisco. She's had a lot of problems in her term, being caught shopping on work time and not paying taxes among them. Her signs around town call on all of her political favors, getting political hacks and organizations to support her as an incumbent. "Feinstein supports WARD for Assessor", "Sierra Club backs WARD for Assessor"

Then I saw one yesterday which read, "FBI investigates WARD for Assessor" identical in blue and orange style to the others. heh heh.

While watching People's Court, a very low budget ad for a San Jose hotel sales tax proposition came on. Many locals were trotted out to support the tax on tourists in order to support the crumbling infrastructure not supported by the undertaxed computer industry. The the slogan, "Proposition F: It does alot of good!" Yes, alot not a lot. Tax the tourists and buy dictionaries!