A lot of hippie-clowns lightened up the mood of revolutionary America in the late 60’s and early 70’s including Abbie Hoffman, The Fugs and the team of Cheech and Chong.
David Peel (David Rosario, August 1, 1943-April 6, 2017) was a Puerto Rican who hung around in the East Village bellowing idiotic songs. You could actually be discovered that way. Further uptown, eccentric street performer Moondog became a "legend" and got a record deal.In 1968, Peel was signed to Elektra for a sort of novelty album “Have a Marijuana,” which probably sold about as well as one of the ESP indie Fugs discs. He had a two-lp deal with Elektra so they put out a second album, which lacked a marijuana album cover picture and sold less than the first.
John Lennon, fascinated by the variety of freaks in his adopted New York City, pronounced David Peel “real” for singing “the Pope smokes dope every day.” Thanks to John, who gave a muttery introduction to the title track, and produced the record, "The Pope Smokes Dope" arrived in stores. And yes, since I was buying everything John was on, or endorsed, I bought Peel's album, too.
It was a dumb piece of shit then, and it took Peel's death to make me listen to it again. Peel’s braying New Yawk retard-voice doesn’t help put over the witless refrain: “The Pope smokes dope! GOD GAVE HIM THE GRASS!”
Peel could've joked that the President (or POTUS, as Millennial twits call him) was a secret head, but I guess pissing on the head of the Catholics was a lot more, what, Lenny Brucey of him? Mixing up a protest involving religion does generally get people even more enraged. But who could get that upset about a skanky idiot from the Lower East Side spouting stuff Andrew "Dice" Clay would find childish? Part of the song's lyric:
“Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jill forgot to take a pill and now she has a daughter! Taking pills is not a joke for a groovy Pope. Birth control can be a toke of marijuana smoke!”
Put it this way, it's sad that Peel had a massive heart attack a few days ago, and did not recover, but I still remember being out $2.99 for buying this stupid album.
To be charitable, let's say that David could have influenced The Ramones, the aforementioned "Dice" Clay, and even Howard Stern. Being a moron in public would turn Stern into a millionaire. While Howard didn't sing, he had people getting up at the crack of dawn to hear him talk to retards and have arguments with nitwits like Baba Booey and Jackie the Joke Man. "Dice" Clay would fill Madison Square Garden with goofs wanting to hear him re-cycle old Pearl Williams and Belle Barth gags including the spider saying to Little Miss Muffett, "What's in the bowl, bitch?"
Somehow, college twits of the day loved to replay Cheech and Chong doing “Dave’s not here” for five minutes, and elbowed each other over The Fugs being allowed to sing "River of Shit," but copies of David Peel albums slipped into the bargain bin, under-appreciated. Now, only truly dumb fuckheads consider them, and his subsequent stuff "collectors items" for their basements. (As you can see from the photo, Lennon seemed to have gotten a bit tired of David's schtick, too). Maybe Peel's record label should've added a giant piece of rolling paper? Or paper panties? Then a Peel disc might be worth the same bucks as a certain Cheech and Chong effort, or Alice Cooper's "School's Out."
Check eBay's list of what was sold in the past month (before David's death) and "The Pope Smokes Dope" went for $11.77 on January 15th, another copy $9.91 on February 19th, and another for $15.49 on March 5th. Currently, some kneejerk idiot is paying $49.95 for a listed copy, but another one, just posted for $9.95 will not likely get much more than that.
Like Tiny Tim, Dean Friedman, Kinky Friedman and herpes, David Peel did not disappear with the 70's. His discography allegedly includes "John Lennon Forever" (1987), "Anarchy in New York City" (1993), "Legalize Marijuana" (2002), "Up Against the Wall Street" (2013), and "Give Hemp a Chance" (2015). I don't have any of those. I still remember dropping $2.99 on "The Pope Smokes Dope," and I'm sure all that stuff will turn up on YouTube or Spotify or Zinfart or some other place that is making sure that we'll not see an indie artist like David Peel be able to survive and make any kind of a living doing what he enjoys.
It's nice that Peel, who leaves no family behind, did live long enough to see medical marijuana legalized in his home state of New York. And it's nice that Peel didn't sing "Mohammad Smokes Dope," because if he did, he would not have died of natural causes. Which is a way of saying that the era of comical David Peel-type protest songs is in as rough shape as David is now, and those 43 Coptic Christians who went to "Palm Sunday" services today in Egypt and didn't realize some Muslims don't believe anyone should be alive who isn't Muslim.
The Pope Smokes Dope DAVID PEEL Instant download or listen on line.