After 22 Years, The Vaselines Finally Invade America

July 11, 2008 5:09 PM ET

Scottish indie-pop band the Vaselines formed in 1986 and existed just long enough to release a handful of much-loved cult EPs and a single album (and become Kurt Cobain's self-proclaimed favorite band) before splitting. This week the Vaselines played their first-ever string of U.S. shows, and last night at Brooklyn's beyond-sold-out Southpaw anyone who managed to score a spot caught an absolutely incredible set of the group's punky folk-pop classics, including the two tunes everyone wanted to hear: "Molly's Lips" and "Jesus Don't Want Me For a Sunbeam," which Nirvana famously covered on MTV Unplugged. But the highlights of the Vaselines' set were some of the deeper cuts, including a sublime version of the haunting ballad "No Hope," which features the killer lyric, "My life is such a bore/ I need to drink more." On top of the ace performances, singers Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee (who doesn't look a day over 20) showed off their quirky sense of humor, exchanging sexual barbs much to the amusement of the crowd. "We're having a nice time tonight," McKee said, referring to her all-male backing band. "Well, except me. [The rest of the band] is having a ball. They're having a few balls." Kelly retorted: "We don't have any merchandise to sell you. But Frances will give you all a lap dance for $20."

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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