There wasn’t much to the song: a sampled riff from AC/DC’s “Back in Black” with the distinctly British voice of “120 Minutes” creator/host Dave Kendall intoning, over and over again, “I’m Dave Kendall… and I am really stupid.”
Working on the theory that you can find absolutely anything on the Internet, Slicing Up Eyeballs spent the evening — OK, maybe 20 minutes tops — trying to find evidence that this track wasn’t just a false memory, but actually was played on Southern California radio in the very early ’90s — if not a copy of the very song itself.
If memory serves, this homemade parody about the allegedly hairpieced “120 Minutes” mastermind — who created the beloved Sunday night college-rock staple in 1986 and became permanent host in 1989 — was attributed to someone or something called The Whitman Samplers, and aired on San Diego’s 91X and perhaps KROQ in Los Angeles, too.
While there’s no trace of the song on YouTube, a few different Google searches start turning up results, beginning with — of all things — an e-mail message from 1996 that was part of an archived Orb fan listserv:
Does anyone remember a song from say…oh 91…that had Dave Kendall (of
legendary 120 minutes fame) sampled and fucked up? Basically the track went:
“I’m DAve Kendall…I’m really stupid…”
NOW: here’s the real question: Was that track by the Orb? I have been
wondering this since 1991, and DJ’s have often told me YES it was the orb,
but…alas…I have never been able to find it…
It definitely wasn’t the Orb, so that’s a dead end. Next up is Kendall’s own Web site (by the way, these days he’s hosting “Party 360″ on Friday nights on Sirius XM’s classic-alternative station, 1st Wave). And here, buried on a page with his press clippings, is Kendall’s own confirmation, in the third-person, no less:
In addition, Kendall also received national radio airplay when a San Diego college student sampled his voice from an episode of “120 Minutes” and edited it into a hilarious spoken word collage over AC/DC’s “Back In Black.” “Everybody knows,” Kendall heard himself affirm in a kind of inverse mantra, “I am really stupid.”
Now we’re getting somewhere. There’s even a nondescript link on the page’s sidebar that simply says Really Stupid and appears to once have led to the song itself, but, alas, now is just a 404 page. Still, part of the dead link’s URL — Audio/Whitman_Samplers-Kendall_250.asx — at least confirms the name Whitman Samplers.
Finally, a trip to the excellent 120 Minutes Archive reveals this 2003 interview with Kendall, in which he reminisces about the song in question and John Lydon (and, come to think of it, didn’t Lydon famously pull off Kendall’s rug on the air?):
A memorable (“120 Minutes” moment) was when we were shooting a show in Tijuana with Johnny Rotten. I was on my way down to interview him (we were driving from San Diego to Tijuana). We turned to KROQ and Johnny Rotten was on the radio slagging me off, ridiculing this contraption I used to wear on my head commonly known amongst 120 aficionados as the “dead cat.” So he was ridiculing me on KROQ, and then they played this song that sampled my voice called “Really Stupid.” It’s me over and over again saying, “I am really stupid.” I’m driving down thinking I’m going to spend the next 48-hours with this guy.
So that’s where we’ve ended up. Proof, from the man himself, that the song existed, but still no audio of this fleeting piece of “120 Minutes” ephemera. If anyone else remembers anything about the track, feel free to leave a comment. If you’ve got an old Maxell filed away somewhere with the song itself — taped off the radio, presumably — drop us a line, or just get it up on YouTube for all to hear.
UPDATE 7/18/09: Dave Kendall drops Slicing Up Eyeballs a note, saying he no longer has a copy of the song, and setting the record straight on the John Lydon incident. Read it all here.
Video: MTV ’120 Minutes’ promo featuring Dave Kendall, 2/4/90