My Top 1000 Songs #422: Hey
When I got to college in '84, it was my chance to get adventurous (musically) and discover all the music I'd been missing in my cloistered midwestern suburb; all the amazing stuff that never found its way to MTV or the local classic rock station or the mixtapes my high school friends would play at parties.
Still, there were some limits, some artists that felled too intimidating for that initial deep dive into college radio. Obviously high on the list were the Butthole Surfers. Between the name, and the imagery (I'm not using the cover art for the 1983 self-titled debut EP where this particular song first appeared because you just never know...), and the music itself, it was all just... well, kinda scary as hell.
Still, over time I found some songs in their catalog that were surprisingly user-friendly, perhaps none more so than "Hey." It's got a surf rock vibe, with a clean, twangy guitar riff, overlaid with the psychedelic hey-hey-hey's bouncing back and forth when you listen on headphones. Sure, Gibby Haynes' vocals even on a relatively approachable track sound aggressive and a little terrifying, but the overall package is almost pop-adjacent, an ugly punk rock song concealed inside a familiar Ventures track, unassuming and brief and over before you know it, yet something so distinctly memorable that those bouncing Hey!s still manage to grab my attention four decades later.Live 1985: