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Video Time-Warp #15: The Refreshments – “Banditos”

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Before we get started, I have to acknowledge what a complete and utter jam this song is. This was played seemingly hourly on WRRV when I was growing up and I still can’t get enough of it. The Refreshments came out of a scene in Tempe, Arizona that had a bunch of bands (the Gin Blossoms, Dead Hot Workshop, the Pistoleros) that went on to either massive commercial success or a die-hard cult following, but that no one really seems to remember or acknowledge. After the Meat Puppets became and underground sensation during the 80s (and then again after their wider exposure thanks to performing with Nirvana during the Unplugged show):

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This song is so catchy and fun and the video so absurdly 90s-cool that it’s dangerous: it might actually trick you into thinking that going to Arizona is a good idea.

What’s cool about 90’s bands that popped up from a scene–as opposed to the many bands manufactured by record labels in an effort to cash in on scenes with which they had no relationship–is that you get dudes like the drummer of this band. Dude looks like he’s 15 years older than everyone else. Like the real drummer didn’t show up because he was hungover from one too many Sunbrus so they had his drum tech or Overly Enthusiastic Music Shop Dude from the store down the street fill in (anyone who has ever purchased a musical instrument has met a member of the Overly Enthusiastic Music Shop Dude family; they’re everywhere).

The lead singer has cool Shawn Hunter hair, one of those Shure 57 microphones like Elvis used to use, and he’s singing “Everybody knows that the world is full of stupid people.” He also has his own tequila called Mexican Moonshine! This guy is the greatest. Little does he know that one line could be so influential to the young, still-wet-concrete brain of a boy in New York that it would shape his worldview forever.

Thanks, Refreshments. Not only for an awesome song, but also for a lifestyle. They even did the King of the Hill theme song!

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