By Mark Leiren-Young
A long time ago in a theatre far far away — okay, 1991 at The Vancouver East Cultural Centre just before Valentine’s Day — my comedy partner Kevin Crofton and I launched ourselves as the satirical duo Local Anxiety in a show called “A CBC Love Affair,” featuring another comedy couple, Double Exposure.
A few years later, during our first run at the Edmonton Fringe Festival, a critic gave us a fairly positive review other than taking a shot at our show for including “too much Canadian content.” Kevin and I retreated to our hotel room and wrote the response that became the title song of our first CD — Forgive Us We’re Canadian.
I recently discovered that the song has been popping up on YouTube and the rest of the interwebs, which is pretty cool . . .
. . . except that it keeps being credited to The Arrogant Worms.
Kevin and I love The Arrogant Worms. They make us laugh. When we were both on the same touring circuit, they occasionally recommended us for gigs. We occasionally recommended them for gigs.
I still watch them perform live every chance I get. I’ve seen them do two symphony shows. You have not lived til you’ve seen a symphony orchestra perform “I am Cow.”
Once, when I was at his place for dinner, Worms vocalist Trevor Strong introduced me to turkey bacon — quite the thrill for a guy who sort of keeps kosher and had never sampled the real thing. Two years ago, when they were in Vancouver performing on Canada Day, they joined me off stage to sing “Happy Birthday” to my non-comedy partner Rayne — a Canada Day baby and a hard core Wormophile.
But they didn’t write “Forgive Us We’re Canadian” — although if they’d ever like to cover it, we wish them Godspeed and look forward to the royalty cheques.
Okay, it doesn’t help that some of their songs have similar titles to ours — they do have a tune called “Proud to Be Canadian.” And we each have a coffee song called “The Coffee Song.”
That confuses even me. (And yes, we did write and record ours first.)
Life’s too short to contact all the sites listing our lyrics as theirs and offering “Forgive Us” ringtones, but I have tried contacting the ones who’ve posted tribute videos to the Worms featuring our tunes. Some have actually changed the info on the songs and listed us as the writer/performers. Thank you iBookWatch, fan of our anti-censorship anthem, “Dirty Books.”
Thanks, too, to the proprietor of the page Songs that are NOT by the Arrogant Worms.
Meanwhile, if you’re also a Worms fan, you’ll find all the songs they actually wrote here — including a lot that have completely different names than our stuff. Here’s a link to “Forgive Us We’re Canadian” by, um . . . Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie? Yep, us again (though to be fair, a lot of the Trolls’ greatest hits are also credited to the conqueror Worms). And you’ll find the original Worms-free, Troll-free versions of both “Forgive Us” and “The Coffee Song” on CBC Music.
And finally, here’s a site demonstrating that, even down in Brazil, some people are still a bit confused.
As Ben Franklin once said, “Trust everything you read on the internet.”