Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Music: The Nightmares' "Baseball Altamont," a Shea-inspired masterpiece

In the summer of 1985, the unlikely combination of the New York rock underground and America's pastime found themselves at the same party. Literally. Not only were they getting along, but it seemed they were actually becoming friends.

The Nightmares, a young New York garage band, held an in-game record release party in a luxury box at Shea Stadium. The band's single, "Baseball Altamont," was released on the relatively obscure Coyote label, known mostly for being the home of The Feelies and a very young Yo La Tengo. Mets fans were undoubtedly confused when the scoreboard read, "The Mets welcome The Nightmares Baseball Altamont record release party".

The song describes a riot that broke out during a Mets home game just one year earlier. Names are named and faces are melted. This song is a barn burner. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and declare it the best song ever written about the Mets.

Between the Beatles in '65, Grand Funk in '71 and the Nightmares in '85, Shea Stadium will go down in history as the "Ball Park That Rock Built." And no, I didn't forget the Billy Joel show.

Listen to the song.

Some lyrics to whet your appetite:
Yeah well, Keith stood by and watched it for a while
And then he took off his shirt and his cap and he laid 'em in a pile
Then he bummed a cigarette from Dr. K
And then they smoked 'em in the stands as the fans tore apart Shea...Stadium!!!
It was baseball altamont!
It was baseball altamont!


John U said...

Whoa... Awesome. That song is incredible and the back story makes it even better. It seems crazy that The Mets would be on board with a band that is having a laugh about a riot in the stands a year earlier. Everyone must have been a lot more cool back then.

nick said...

Thanks for the comment, John U. Yes, everyone was a lot more "cool" back then. And a lot more coked out.

Ryan A said...

That song rocks. New favorite band!! I love the blog Nick. I was a big Mets fan growing up and went to a bunch of games at Shea. I even fell in HoJo's limo once trying to get his autograph. It was sweet. Go Mets!

Anonymous said...

I use to hear this off the juke box, at The Blue Marlin, I think, when I was at Columbia. Everyone was way cooler then. I'm amazed the song is here!

Anonymous said...

I wanna hear the flipside! I think I used to like that one too

Brian Collins said...

I actually bought the 45 back in the day and have loved it ever since. Arguably one of the best undiscovered songs of the 1980's.