New Jersey Stage published its 25,000th story in December 2021. As the site approached the milestone, we posed the question on social media as how we should celebrate. One response was to highlight our favorite stories from over the years. We liked this idea, but could not narrow things down to just 25 favorites so we will present a favorite each day from different genres. Every Monday we feature one of our favorite stories in music. This week's choice is Dr. Demento Covered In Punk, a look at a special compilation album with artists covering memorable songs from the legendary radio program.
The interview was published on December 22, 2018 and is available here. We talk with John Cafiero who put the compilation together. The record is basically a Dr. Demento radio show from the novelty songs down to the factoids and anecdotes by Dr. Demento himself between songs. It also features an impressive cast of artists including the Misfits, Fred Schneider of the B52s, Uncle Floyd, Weird Al Yankovic, the late Adam Batman West (in one of his final performances), and Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner (to name just a few). Over 30 of the songs have never been released before, including an absolute stunner by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. Together they bring a punk mentality to these songs of “mad music and crazy comedy.”
Cafiero grew up in New Jersey and graduated from North Bergen High School. His band, Osaka Popstar, plays a prominent role including covering “Fish Heads” — the most requested song of all-time on the Dr. Demento Show. Originally done by Barnes and Barnes, the song gets a new life and a great cartoon music video.