Monday, June 4, 2012

Checkmate in Charge

I’m not only obsessed with covers. It’s important that you understand that. I would hate to come across as one dimensional so early in our relationship. I have other obsessions as well.

I love most pop culture, but have always particularly loved television. I think that it is (or at least was) a greatly misunderstood medium. People are all too ready to dismiss it as of little value, and even though in recent years (thanks to shows like The Wire or Breaking Bad) it has got some cred, I think that TV in general, and comedy in particular, is still not seen as “important” in the same way that a film or novel are (despite the fact that there are some truly terrible films, and even worse novels).

Quite a few years ago now, a friend who shares my love of TV suggested we start a band. The band’s name (for reasons which don’t really exist) would be “Knee To Groin: Checkmate”, and we would play all covers. But not just covers of any songs. No, Kneedagroin (as we would no doubt be known) would exclusively play covers of TV Show themes. Imagine it. You go to a pub. There’s a band setting up in the corner. They plug in, say “1 2, 1 2, 1 2” and before you know it they rip into a ball tearing version the the theme from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It was a perfect scenario.

When thinking of songs we would do, one that was at the top of both our lists was this classic from 1984:

It was an incredibly cheesy show, with an incredibly catchy theme song, whose only reason to exist was to keep Scott “Chachi” Baio on our screens, which was reason enough to love it.

There are 2 things, which happened somewhat simultaneously, which ensured that Knee To Groin: Checkmate never saw the light of day. One was that our bass playing friend suggested an even stranger idea for a band (which, in turn, we started) and the second and more compelling reason was that the TV Show Scrubs had basically the same idea at the same time. Their in-show a capella group “The Blanks” performed a few songs, including this version of the above theme.

We agreed that not only had the TV show cover-band idea been “done” but more importantly the definitive cover of the Charles in Charge theme now existed. There was no way we could top this, nor would we want to try.

Sometimes a cover comes along that is quite different in style from the original, and yet shows a reverence and an understanding of where the original is coming from. I will explore this concept further in a later post, but I wanted to show that this sitcom, in paying homage to an earlier one, has achieved that goal where many “real” acts have tried an failed.


  1. Good call. You were never going to do a better cover of Charles in Charge.
    Speaking of a cappella there is an entire album of a cappella versions of Ben Folds' songs -!

  2. I would have loved to see knee to groin: checkmate make it.

  3. "PaulJune 5, 2012 8:57 AM
    I would have loved to see knee to groin: checkmate make it."

    Me too! They could have been the support band to Check 1-2!