The Original vs. The Cover – “Smokin’ In the Boy’s Room”

For this episdoe of The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to discuss the anthem for the outcast, “Smokin’ in the Boy’s Room. The Original is by the band Brownsville Station who were a regional band out of Michigan and this was probably their biggest hit and was off their 1973 album ‘Yeah!’ (I wonder if this title inspired the title to Def Leppard’s Cover’s album. Hmmm). It reached #3 on the Billboard Charts. The Cover as done by Motley Crue was off their album ‘Theatre of Pain’ from 1985. Crue only took the song to #16 on the Billboard Chart, but MTV played the crap out of this song.

The song was written by Michael “Cub” Koda along with Michael Lutz and is about a bunch of outcast school kids who would hideout in the bathroom to not get caught by the principal for smokin’. They get caught and the principal tells them “Smokin’ Ain’t Allowed in School”. The song was inspired by Cub’s experiences as a young pup sneaking smokes that he stole from his parents at the movie theatre.

Whose version is better you might ask yourself so let us explore each song and find out which version is best.

BROWNSVILLE STATION

The lead singer, Cub Koda, opens the song speaking the verses and a lot of the verses seem more speak then actual full out singing. His voice is front and center with an accompanying drum rolls and fills. The electric guitar is there, but it takes a backseat for most of the song until the solo which they lay down a nice one. They guitar gets the second half of the solo because the first part of the solo is handled by Cub Koda on the harmonica. He really lays down a cool solo. The song finishes up a little more rocking than the beginning with Koda’s vocals adding a little more grit which increased the angst vibe to the song. The drumming toward the end is great and smashing cymbals adds a little extra to the song.

MOTLEY CRUE

Motley doesn’t stray far from the original. Vince starts it off with spoken lyrics as well, but Motley Crue being more metal than Brownsville Station, the song immediately has more umph and power. The music is much louder and Mick Mars lays a cool riff. The solo is similar with a harmonica (played by Mickey Raphael) and Mick doing a killer guitar solo. Mick also adds some cool riffs during the verses that aren’t there in the original. Now the drumming at the end isn’t as good as the original as Tommy’s playing isn’t highlighted and no massive cymbal hits.

The only real change in the lyrics is that in Brownsville Station, he is name dropping his friends of Fang, himself and Fang while Vince does the same except now it it is Sixx, Mick and Tom. Vocally, the biggest difference is the speed in which Vince sings the song. He is going 100 mph while Cub sang it in a much more deliberate pace. Crue also added a little break with hand clapping and repeating the chorus along with it which was a nice touch which brings the song to about 30 seconds longer in length. Outside of that the band was pretty consistent in keeping the same vibe of youth ridden angst to the song only turned up to 11.

THE VERDICT

This one is actually a hard decision. I like the simplicity of the original version and I like Motley’s version being a little heavier and more aggressive and louder, but that doesn’t mean louder is better. After spending time with the two tracks, I think I will stick with Brownsville Station’s original version. It was more authentic with its simplicity and I think I like it better musically especially the drumming. I like the 70’s sound and it seems to work a little better all around. It doesn’t mean I won’t listen to the Crue song because it was one of the only few good tracks off the horrible “Theatre of Pain” album.

I am really interested in hearing what everyone else thinks of these two songs.  Let me know which version you like the best and why.  Feel free to leave a comment and talk about the song and tell me how right or wrong I am on this one.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Original Lyrics:

“Smokin’ in the Boys Room”

How you doin’ out there? Ya ever seem to have one of those days
Where it just seems like everybody’s gettin’ on your case?
From your teacher all the way down to your best girlfriend?
Well, ya know, I used to have ’em just about all the time
But I found a way to get out of ’em
Let me tell you about it!

Sitting in the classroom, thinking it’s a drag
Listening to the teacher rap, just ain’t my bag
The noon bells rings, you know that’s my cue
I’m gonna meet the boys on floor number two!

Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Now, teacher, don’t you fill me up with your rules
But everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school

Checkin’ out the halls, makin’ sure the coast is clear
Lookin’ in the stalls, “No, there ain’t nobody here!”
Oh, my buddy Fang, and me and Paul
To get caught would surely be the death of us all

Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Now, teacher, don’t you fill me up with your rules
But everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school

[break]
All right!
Oh, put me to work, in the school book store
Check out counter and I got bored
Teacher was lookin’ for me all around
Two hours later, you know where I was found

Smokin’ in the boys’ room (Yes indeed, I was)
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Now, teacher, don’t you fill me up with your rules
But everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school

One mo’!
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Oh, smokin’ in the boys’ room
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Smokin’ in the boys’ room
Now, teacher, I am fully aware of the rules
And everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school!

Written by Cub Koda and Michael Lutz

41 thoughts on “The Original vs. The Cover – “Smokin’ In the Boy’s Room”

  1. I’m sorry that pic of Mötley Crüe makes me cringe so hard, like how did they think it was cool to dress and have their hair like that? I never really liked that song anyways, but for Mötley Crüe, it fit them and the 80s really well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was the look of the time. I’ve seen much more ridiculous. Luckily our host “John T. Snow” had the foresight to never adorn such attire. Look how classy he looks in his yearbook photo!

      Liked by 2 people

                1. He’s also about nine inches taller if his reported height is to be believed. We all know these celebrities like to stretch themselves for all that they’re worth. I’d check Mr. 2loud’s IMDB page for the truth.

                  Liked by 2 people

      1. Ok yeah true! Not many rock musicians have long hair nowadays and I’ll give props to Mötley Crüe for taking fashion risks. It is pretty weird to know that they wore more makeup than me though.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I howled at that part in The Dirt book when during the harp solo they turned on Vince’s mic as he couldn’t play harmonica as a roadie was doing it backstage every night when it came time to for the harp solo. lol

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My choice would be Mötley since it’s the one I’m more familiar with. Theatre of pain was my first Mötley vinyl. Had the 2 previous ones taped from friends.
    By the way, I read the first Reed book, it was more like a booklet. It had tons of quotes and at times they were not marked clearly so it was hard to know who they were quoting.
    Managed to read another book I can recommend to you which was Lenny Kravitz Let Love Rule. It was more fun since it’s written like he’s doing the telling. The book goes over his childhood and ends when Let Love Rule comes out and he starts a family. I really enjoyed reading this book. The music he likes is cool and there’s half a page on artist you like in the book. No spoilers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gotta go Crue as well but probably because I always enjoyed the video so much even though like you said “MTV played the crap out of it.” There was always something I really liked about seeing B-list actor Michael Berryman wearing a horrible toupee and playing a principal. Not as good as his bit part in “Weird Science,” but still a valiant effort!

    Liked by 1 person

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