Flavor
By: Beck Hansen, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Original Performance: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Written by: Beck Hansen, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Versions:
  1. Flavor (6:16)
    Available on Orange and 1 other release.
    Credits
    Russell Simins: Drums
    Jon Spencer: Guitar (Electric), Vocals
    Judah Bauer: Guitar (Electric)
    Beck Hansen: Vocals
  2. Flavor (Part 1) (4:47)
    Available on Orange and 2 other releases.
    Credits
    Russell Simins: Drums
    Jon Spencer: Guitar (Electric), Vocals
    Judah Bauer: Guitar (Electric)
    Beck Hansen: Remix
    Mario Caldato Jr.: Remix
    Mike D.: Remix
  3.  
  4. Flavor (Part 2) (4:08)
    Available on Orange and 1 other release.
    Credits
    Russell Simins: Drums
    Jon Spencer: Guitar (Electric)
    Judah Bauer: Guitar (Electric)
    Beck Hansen: Remix, Vocals
    Mario Caldato Jr.: Remix
    Mike D.: Remix
 
Lyrics:
Flavor [Version (a)]:

Beck's rap for "Flavor":

Feel so good about a piece of trash
The birds are drunk, drinkin' from my glass
The worms are hungry looking for my guitar
White lightning and an old fruit jar
I get juiced from Africa to Spain
Ghettoblastin' the diamond lane
Fix my strings in the sycamore shade
Dig my grave with a silver spade
Making a list, taking requests
Ripping the blues out of your vest
Strychnine, hit it with a thud
Stripmine Delta flood
When you dig up the past, the bones is just toys
Beat your fist through the static and the noise
'Cause I got the blues and I can't be satisfied
Leave those blues, gonna catch that train and ride

Yes. Was that good?
You got it! You got it!
Alright. You want me to do one more?
You got the flavor!
You want me to do one more?
You got the flavor!
You got the flavor!
You got the flavor!
Flavor (Part 2) [Version (c)]:

Beck's rap for "Flavor part 2":

Flavor! Got the flavor! Got the flavor!
What man? Where's Beck?
You ready? You ready for this shit?


I feel so good about a piece of trash
The birds are drunk, they're drinking from my glass
White lightning and an old fruit jar
Pump box rock clocking where you are
Dig my grave with a silver spade
Juiced up from Africa to Spain
Ghetto-blastin' to the diamond lane
Insane in the mundane
What goes up!

Press the bucket, dig your heels
Feather duster and the cigarette
Wheels spinnin' back, black sheep
'Cause I got the flavor
Yeah, I got the flavor
Yeah, I got the flavor
Yeah, I got the flavor!
Yea, what the fuck?
Got the flavor, ohh! Yeah!
It's a def comedy jam with Beck and Mike D.
White boys in the house!


Out in the moonlight taking requests
Ripping the blues out of your vest
Stripmine, the Delta flood
Strychnine when you hear the winter thud
You take out the past, the bones are just toys
You beat your fists through the static and the noise
'Cause I got the blues and I can't be satisfied
You can keep the blues
We're gonna catch that train and ride

Flavor
Flavor
Flavor
What goes up
We got the taste
Got the taste
We got the taste
Got the taste
What goes up
What goes up
What goes up

Gutbucket
Oh got the flavor in my gut
Oh yea, shake your guts!
'Cause I got the taste
'Cause I got the taste
'Cause I got the taste
'Cause I got the taste
I got the taste
Oh no and the flavor!
'Cause I got
 
The Song:

Having been a big fan of James Bond movies as a kid, Beck naturally picked up a record one day by the band Pussy Galore. This was one of Jon Spencer's early groups, and Beck was immediately hooked on the raw punk sound. He remained a fan, and around April 1994, Beck could not pass up a chance to work with Spencer on his song "Flavor" on the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion album, Orange. Spencer, in return, appeared on "Diskobox" and reportedly they have an album's worth of material in reserve. (Probably forever lost.)

"Flavor" is a funky blues groove that's really a lot of fun. The song pauses near the end, and Beck's lazy rap was tacked on. He's not really rapping, or singing, mostly just speaking. And apparently he did it over the phone! The song ends with a modest Beck asking if he should do more than the one take. Jon Spencer assures him that he's "got the flavor!"

Jon Spencer reminisced about the recording in Rolling Stone in 2015. He remembered how Beck, in "Loser" press, often mentioned Pussy Galore. Then when Spencer's other band, Boss Hog, signed to Geffen, he tracked down Beck's phone number: "I hit him up, he said, yeah sure, I'll call you back in about 30 minutes. We got a Radio Shack suction-cup microphone, put it up to the phone and called him back and said, 'OK, we're just gonna play the song really loud in the control room.' Beck freestyled and I think that's his first take. You can hear me at the end of it saying, 'Yeah that was great.'"

Beck had the lyrics around for awhile, using many of the lines at different times on stage throughout 1994. Also, he would use many of the cool images and phrases again. "Ghetto-blasting the diamond lane" refers to the carpool lane in Los Angeles (which is marked by a diamond). One also wonders if "Feels so good about a piece of trash" is a reference to Al Hansen, Beck's artist grandfather who made sculptures and collages out of found objects. As Beck tends to do when improvising, he drops a lot of classic blues lines like "Dig my grave with a silver spade" into the mix. The end of the rap, "'Cause I got the blues and I can't be satisfied / Dig those blues, gonna catch that train and ride" is lifted from Mississippi John Hurt's "Can't Be Satisfied." The "old fruit jar" shows up in some old country songs (such as Red Foley's "Tennessee Saturday Night), and I believe it references how people drank moonshine.

A bit later on, Beck remixed "Flavor" for an EP of remixes of songs from Orange. Beck worked with Mike D from the Beastie Boys and Mario C, their producer (who would go on to work with Beck on a few sessions for Odelay). The song is divided into two parts. The first part is the JSBX section, and part 2 is Beck's rap. It's more of a rap now, and a down and dirty, nasty recording. It's not just a spoken word piece over the phone anymore. He moves some words around, extends some jams, has some fun, perfects it.
 
Live:

Played live 5 times:
Earliest known live version: October 24, 1994
Latest known live version: December 5, 1994

On October 24, 1994, in Cambridge, MA, Beck pulled someone out of the audience to beatbox for him (not a rare concert gimmick for Beck back in the day). After some prodding, the kid gets going, and Beck starts rapping:
I was feelin' so good about a piece of trash
The birds are drunk, they're drinking from my glass
Ghetto-blasting through the diamond lane
I dig my grave with a silver spade
Rip the blues out of my vest
I dig my boot, ??? in my chest
Now I got the blues and I can't be satisfied
Similarly, he did the same at the show on November 28, 1994. "OK, I need somebody's help with some rhythm. I need somebody with some rhythm. Somebody do that, do the [beatbox]... do like that shit." He pulls some guy out of the audience, commenting, "He's got the hat for it." Beck gets in a conversation with the guy, and tries to get him to be a little funkier. . .but ends up forcing him to give it up! He pulls up a new guy, who has "a drum machine in his chest." Beck starts rapping:
Feeling so good about a piece of trash
The birds are drunk, they're drinking from my glass
White lightning and an old fruit jar
I get juiced from Africa to Spain
Ghetto-blasting through the diamond lane
Pick my sides in the sycamore shade
Dig my grave with a silver spade
Out in the moonlight, taking requests
Running the blues out of my vest
Stripmine, the Delta flood
Strychnine, when you hear the winter thud
You dig up the past, the bones are just toys
I beat your fist through the static and the noise
'Cause I got the blues and I can't be satisfied
You can keep the blues, I'm gonna catch that train and ride

I was feeling so good about a piece of trash
The birds are drunk, they're drinking from my glass
White lightning and an old fruit jar
????? with a worn out star
Get out of the moonlight and rock this!
One more time!
[Beck starts beatboxing as well]
These are two of the lengthier examples of Beck doing this rap on stage. Other times, he might just use a few lines during "Loser," or more often, the "I can't be satisfied" lines at the end of "Corvette Bummer."
 
Notes: