“Hi there, Midget Fan Club. I’m Garrett. Long time listener, first time realizer.” I’ve had a song stuck in my head, lately. Starting Over, and at the end of the song the lyrics mostly repeat: “Starting over, gonna do it right this time…” It was a song I don’t recall the origins of – I don’t know how I found it, where I first heard it, or if someone introduced me to the song. It is entirely possible it was on the original MP3.com website as a free download, but I do remember burning it on to a CD, and even putting it on my Rio MP3 player. I haven’t heard it in years, but the lyrics have been repeating in my head for several weeks – I had to hear this song, by this unknown band, once again.
Well, this week I started searching the lyrics, and I was brought directly to the website of a band called Midget Fan Club. The downside? The website looks like it’s been abandoned for about 5 years, and was never much in the first place. But, I’ve been able to navigate it some, and found out that the track I loved was indeed called Starting Over and was on an album called A Total Nightmare. The better news? The album is free to download on their website (but, wait, it gets better…). I’ll get you the download links in just a minute, first, let’s talk about the band and the album itself.
The lead singer of Midget Fan Club is a dude named Guy Smiley. His voice was given to him as a gift of the punk-rock gods, and would be suited for nothing else… wait until you hear him. Imagine that raspy growl asking if you’d like fries with that, or congratulating you on the approval of your new home loan. He was destined to be a punk rocker. He’s made a living off of it, and (even though it’s hard to tell from the album), Midget Fan Club has released several albums and EPs, and has even been a part of the Vans Warped Tour.
A Total Nightmare is an punk rock album through and through. Driving drums that make my arms hurt just listening, guitar solos that sound inspired by metal bands but are so gritty they have to be punk rock, and only 3 songs over 3 minutes long. One obligatory accoustic track is also included on A Total Nightmare. But it is tracks like Weekend Song part II that take me back to high school nights spent with friends, listening to our favorite songs and singing along with the tracks at the tops of our lungs. The track Crucified has the angsty lyrics you don’t always expect from a punk band, but Guy’s voice somehow makes it okay. What is Mine is a breakup song, but in that backwards sense of being left after knowing someone cheated, and still feeling the hurt, wondering how to pick up and move on. “And I’m trying to make up / For my mistakes/ And I’m trying to wake up / But I dont have what it takes,” Guy sings.
The album ends on “Starting Over” – which I faintly recall reading the history of the song, years ago, and it was about finding the right people to fit in to the band, and starting the band all over again with the right musicians. I also could’ve made the entire back story up, I completely forgot the name of the band for the last decade. The song is just one verse, then the two line chorus repeats for another 45 seconds or so. “Challenge lies ahead / It’ll take every thread / Of fiber in my being / But I’ve made up my mind…” What it builds to this mantra of getting it right, no matter the cost – which repeats in a way that really screams determination.
Okay, so the album isn’t the best I’ve ever heard… but hearing that last song again made it all worth it, and maybe you might like something on one of their other albums… but good luck getting them. I lucked out because A Total Nightmare is available as one of the few free downloads on the website. That’s the original 2002 version. Ready for more good news? A remastered, 2008 version of the album is ALSO available for free on their webite. So go download Midget Fan Club’s “A Total Nightmare” remaster right now. You can’t argue with free.