Another 6 Year Old, Taped at New Wave Theatre, 1982

Sadly, this clip never aired. This is a single camera angle; two others doubtless exist, along with who knows how much other great stuff that was taped for that wonderful show.

About this song: the lyrics were ripped from the headlines and processed through our adolescent mentality. Newspapers and TV loved the story about Nancy Jo Burch, who after bloodying a schoolmate with a stick was briefly scheduled to stand trial as an adult. Within about 6 weeks the conflict had evaporated–Nancy Jo’s parents reimbursed the others $20 for doctor’s bills, no trial needed–but if there was any better fodder for an EDB original we never found it.

The lyrics express horror and outrage at all elements of the situation simultaneously—the violent act, the response to it, and the media frenzy—but at the same time end up (only half-ironically) sympathizing with the aggressor. We probably did not fully understood the situation; it seems that it was Nancy Jo’s lawyer who wanted the criminal trial because he thought it had no chance of succeeding, while a juvenile trial might have. Didn’t matter.

Lyrics (by Brad, who also came up with the riff): Six-year-old girl slams her friend in the face / Blood and pus spurt all over the place / Eleven-year-old boy holds her puny arms back / Close your eyes and wait for the whack / Go and try her as an adult, Give her the death sentence as a result (2x) / She says she doesn’t understand the situation / But her friend isn’t into facial flaggelation / Now she has a criminal record / That’s something a six year old can’t afford / Go and try her as an adult, Give her the death sentence as a result (2x) / Make her pay $20 in doctor bills for hitting another six year old in the face with a stick / Another six year old (4x) / Next time kill her


Filming for New Wave Theatre was an incredible honor: We all watched it religiously, both when it aired and endlessly on videotapes.  Every “outside” LA band was on the show, regardless of subgenre – punk bands, performance artists, rockabilly… In the years since, I’ve come in touch with many others who grew up in more isolated environs and who found solace in NWT’s broadcast – something like the Voice of America jazz broadcasts into the Soviet Union had for generations earlier.

Watching it now, I’m – of course – horrified by my interaction with Peter Ivers during the interview.  We knew Ivers as the flamboyant host of the show, but having since read his biography, I’m even more embarrassed – it’s clear that we were the poseurs here.  What might not be known to viewers who don’t know the show is the “meaning of life” question: Ivers typically asked the bands, “What’s the meaning of life?”, so we were expecting that to be where the questioning would start.

This clip never made it on the show and, for decades, we didn’t know the clip survived – until 2009, when it led a show about Ivers and New Wave Theater on WFMU.  They couldn’t showcase a more indicative clip of just how weird New Wave Theatre was than EDB…

Matt

2 thoughts on “Another 6 Year Old, Taped at New Wave Theatre, 1982

  1. Wow! I am so glad you posted this! I was an avid watcher of New Wave Theater way back, as well. I am in the Pacific Northwest’s Seattle. But back then I was in Tacoma, an industrial working class town about 30 miles outside Seattle. Much like Cobain’s hometown here. He would have been close to the age Earth Dies Burning.

  2. Sorry wasn’t done but the post got sent! cont…:

    He would have been the same age as the members of Earth Dies Burning. Many of us here who shared a love of the unusual, a rejection of the conventional and boring, and too much creativity for our ow n good thrived because of shows like New Wave Theater. Last night I posted a clip of ELB on NWT on FaceBook and asked where is today’s radical youth culture? I taught English and Anthropology classes for a while and did everything I could to get those young adults and teens to express themselves creatively about society and the world. We need that to continue as a society, young ideas dissatisfied with self serving systems that show no humanity except that which smiles obeying its master. To me now looking at that NWT with Earth lies burning I see exuberant hope and passion and desire for the real. Where has it gone?

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