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Mission for Christ
2 Jews, a Black, a Woman and a Cripple...
Politicians sometimes (ok, often) say really stupid stuff. Take former U.S. Secretary of the Interior James Watt, for example. In September of 1983, he decided to jokingly mock Affirmative Action policies by pointing out the wonderful diversity of an advisory panel with whom he was working. He chose to illustrate this by saying the board had,
a black . . . a woman, two Jews and a cripple. Of course, that's pretty tame compared to what former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz said in 1976 about a particular segment of the population:
I'll tell you what the coloreds want. It's three things: first, a tight pussy; second, loose shoes; and third, a warm place to shit.
The latter was the inspiration for the European title of Alex Chilton's final studio album, Loose Shoes and Tight Pussy. His US record company timidly retitled it Set, however, and replaced the nice cover with a particularly ugly one, to boot.
The first quote above, however, was immortalized in the title of Mission for Christ's 1983 demo tape, 2 Jews, a Black, a Woman and a Cripple... The ugliness of Watt's comment complements the ugliness of the music quite nicely. From what I recall, they had
a Black on bass, and the singer may have been Jewish. It's been 25 years, however, so I have no recollection of the guitarist or drummer, though I'm fairly certain neither was
a Woman [or] a Cripple.
You'll notice on the typed sticker glued to the cassette case that this song is entited simply
Nancy Reagan. Well, when I saw them play it live, it had the much longer title as written above, so I chose it instead. It's my blog; you can't stop me. Please forgive the somewhat spotty sound on this one; it was dubbed on a cheap tape twenty-five years ago. I don't know how many they made, but the sticker being manually typed (please, see above) would seem to suggest not many. Who knows, I may have (politely) harrassed them into selling me the tape. It could be the only copy! I doubt it, though.
Though Mission for Christ were a Washington, D.C. area band, they got little attention, sadly. I went though all of my D.C. 'zines from the period and found precisely one mention of them: a short bit in a review of the Rock Against Reagan preview show at Space II Arcade in 1983. If I remember correctly, they and Maryland's Braille Party were the standouts on that (very long) day. It was summer, it was boiling hot, there was no air conditioning, and the friends I took with me kept whining all day:
Who's playing next?
When's the next band going to play?
Are we there yet?
I have to go potty.
Mission for Christ eventually released the song
Pennies from Hell as a single, along with the dub version for the b-side. I've always wondered why they did that instead of, perhaps, using
Nancy Reagan for the flip? From what I recall, it got good reviews outside of D.C. Sadly, they never released anything else. They do have the distinction, though, of being the only band other than No Trend to be preserved in wax on No Trend Records.