"Fuckin With My Head" has a ton of guitars and sounds, all layered together. Because of that, numerous sounds and influences are evident--rock, psychedelic, funk, folk, boogie, heavy, acoustic. It's a very successful composition, and a song that would linger in Beck's setlists longer than most of the non-singles on Mellow Gold
Some of Beck's collaborators have commented on how quickly he writes his lyrics, and on songs like this, that's probably true. A lot of the rhymes are hugely entertaining ("I ain't got no inclination to give away my sweet sensation" is probably my favorite opening line in any Beck song), but the final effect is something more scrapbook-like, more of a lyrical collage. Beck moves between different styles in his lyrics as well, including blues (being robbed by the devil, "running wild on the bayou") and punk ("feed my forehead through the ceiling"). He even ad-libs from his own songs, ("make me feel like an asshole" from "Asshole
") and others ("I Ain't Got No Soul" is a Liquor Cabinet song).
Played live 58 times:
March 26, 1994March 30, 1994April 20, 1994June 10, 1994June 27, 1994June 28, 1994June 29, 1994September 1, 1994September 6, 1994September 9, 1994
...and 48 more
Earliest known live version: March 26, 1994
Latest known live version: December 2, 2007
On stage, "Mountain Dew Rock" was (usually) pretty exciting. The verses crashed into the rock riff, dramatically. Sometimes there was more harmonica than other times, but the song was always dynamic. It was also usually pretty heavy.
Old Toolshed version - 1994/1995
Beck played "Fuckin With My Head" throughout 1994, fairly regularly. The intensity
of the performances seemed to vary greatly though. For instance, on March 30, 1994, Beck and band played "Fuckin With My Head" at a lightning pace! Beck tried to make up for the loss of groove with a longer and passionate "I ain't got no soul!" ending. By the end of the year, on September 9, 1994, the song was noticeably tamer, and plodded along a bit more. The band just was not as aggressive with the song as they were earlier in the tour, or even three days earlier on September 6. It's a moody song.
On October 25, 1994, Beck leads the song with a short ad-libbed poem:
A long line, a row of plastic
Electric soda pop strung together
Buy a needle, floating through the riverside
The canyons, the cold dust
Smoke black dust curling from their fingers
My favorite version of the song was on October 28, 1994. Before beginning, Beck took a moment to ask the crowd to stop moshing, because someone's nose had been broken. "Be really creative. You can do the hustle! You can do the bus stop!," he kindly recommended. Ironically, the band then busted out with "Fuckin With My Head"--if any Beck song is going to get moshers, that's it. Nonetheless, Beck's harmonica playing was brilliant that night, and the Bo Diddley-ness of the guitar riff was clearer.
After a false start, Beck bizarrely mentioned the song as their "next single" on July 28, 1995. Was this a plan at one time? I don't know the story behind that. If so, it unfortunately never panned out.
One noteworthy version came on August 6, 1995. Beck announces that someone will be helping out on harmonica during the song (can't quite make out the name), but he blows harp all throughout the song. It makes the song even more hyper and frenetic than usual.
Sweet Sensation version - Odelay tour 1996/1997
The song was performed a few times throughout the Odelay
tour, and was even occasionally used to open the shows. On July 21, 1996, the song began one of his most famous concerts (or bootlegs, at least, Electric Music and the Kool People
). This early Odelay
tour performance was an amazing one, and the psychedelic rock leanings of this song are emphasized. Beck doesn't shout as much here as when he used to sing "Mountain Dew Rock" on the Mellow Gold
tours. The song featured a long harmonica section during the end jam, which is new.
We have it showing up on only around 8 Odelay
setlists, but they were spread out, so I assume there were plenty others during these years.
Cryin' On His Pillow folk version
The only non-band rock version I've heard was when Beck tossed "Fuckin With My Head" into a crazy acoustic folk medley of his songs on September 1, 1996. ("That wasn't a medley... it was an orgy!") It sounds great acoustic, the little bit that Beck played.
Cornbread version - 1998
A stunted version of the song is played about 3 times during the summer of 1998. This was after Mutations
was recorded, but still a few months before it was released. It wasn't an extensive tour or anything, and the setlists were pretty interesting. The band ran through the first two verses of the song, and then instead of the "devil got his pantyhose" verse, jumped straight into the harmonica / "I ain't got no soul" ending.
Walkie Talkie version - 2007
After not playing the song since 1998, leaving it out of all Vultures
, Sea Change
tours, Beck and his band pulled a few Mellow Gold
tracks out at the end of 2007. He was doing a short tour of South America, opening for The Police. They played "Fuckin With My Head" at 3 of the 4 shows.