Hi there. Today we have another look at a fan favorite Russian Funskool GI Joe figure. We also have some songs, some of which are more unsettling than others.
Your regularly scheduled review will be posted on Thursday. It’s not GI Joe-related, though, so I suggest you get your fill today so you don’t go hungry for the rest of the week.
Russian Funskool Barbecue
No, I’m not talking about a company-wide picnic for the entire Funskool corporation, complete with shirtless volleyball and burned hot dogs. Instead, I’m talking about the Russian Funskool version of everyone’s favorite GI Joe firefighter– Barbecue!
This is an oddball figure, and it’s the epitome of what fans usually think of when they think of “Funskool.” It’s wild, wacky, and fun. And also has some problems. So click the link below to learn everything you ever wanted to know about Russian Funskool GI Joe Barbecue.
I didn’t want you to leave you with just that figure profile this week (even though there’s plenty to read and see over on that page), so I decided I’d put together a list of songs for you, too.
5 Songs that Mention GI Joe
There are way more than five songs containing the words “GI Joe.” Many and/or most of them are probably on Kid Rhino releases of old Sunbow cartoon and movie soundtracks, though. I decided to avoid those.
Surprisingly, some big names have mentioned GI Joe! And some not so big names. Country icon Waylon Jennings released a song called “GI Joe” in 1988, which is a total banger. Trap/hip hop powerhouse Migos also released “Crown the Kings” in 2018, which is probably somewhat expected, but the line works pretty well within the song.
Instead of the big and obvious songs, though, I wanted to talk about a few songs that are a little smaller and a little less obvious. Of course my knowledge only runs so deep (my head is full of the names of Japanese Beast Wars characters instead of any trivia that would be interesting in an actual conversation with a human person), so none of these are too obscure, either.
1. Limp – Bug Dance (1997)
Limp was a band that was popular at my high school. The jocks liked them. But I thought they were okay, too. They are also not Limp Bizkit. Instead, they’re a San Francisco pop punk band that was signed to Honest Don’s Records. I heard this very song, “Bug Dance,” on a cheap Honest Don’s compilation CD I bought in the late 90s. It always kind of stuck with me.
It’s ostensibly about the transition into adulthood and how you’re not prepared to deal with that reality, especially as the days of playing with GI Joes and Lego don’t seem all that far behind you. This song hit me a little hard back then, as I was a teenager and I knew I was supposed to move beyond playing with plastic army dolls. I never did move beyond it, though.
2. Ministry – Hero (1992)
“Hero” by Ministry features much heavier subject matter than Limp’s “Bug Dance,” but you pretty much expect that from Ministry. The song is from what’s probably their biggest album, Psalm 69, and it is a total rager.
It’s an anti-war, industrial speed metal spectacle. I feel like the lyrics and themes are pretty self explanatory on this one, so I’ll just move on to the next song.
3. Dog Fashion Disco – G. Eye Joe (1997)
This one might technically be cheating, since only the title (kind of) mentions GI Joe. And I’m honestly not 100% sure what the song is about– it could be about a veteran returning from combat, or it could be about a currently-enlisted person.
Dog Fashion Disco was (is?) mostly a nu metal-type band with an experimental bent. Their first album, though, had some oddball ska and punk elements, as if they were trying to be a budget Mr. Bungle. It’s actually a great record.
This song is from that album, and it’s probably one of the more harsh and grating tracks on it. This is maybe the most “metal” song on Erotic Massage, although it’s certainly not Bolt Thrower or even Korn.
It’s possible this whole article was an excuse to listen to this album again and skip over this particular song after the first 30 seconds were up.
4. The Clash – Ivan Meets GI Joe (1980)
You were probably expecting this song. So how could I disappoint? Legend has it “Ivan Meets GI Joe” originated from the band joking that “people prefer to dance than to fight wars” in a Rolling Stone interview.
So this song is basically about a dance-off between GI Joe and the Oktober Guard (if you don’t think too hard about when this song was released) to determine Cold War victory. It’s a pretty fun little disco-type number from my favorite Clash album.
5. Melvins – GI Joe (2000)
I mentioned Mr. Bungle earlier, and it turns out that this weirdo track was co-written and produced by the Bungmaster himself, Mike Patton. Melvins are a strange band, but this is a bizarre song even for them. It kind of has some evil dancehall reggae vibes, and Patton never makes any song he’s involved with more comforting.
This is not my favorite Melvins track, but it is maybe my favorite Melvins track that mentions GI Joe. Because it’s the only one that mentions GI Joe.
Thanks for reading. And even more thanks if you actually read the part about the songs– or even listened to any of the songs!
Also be sure to check out RTG’s “GI Joe Moments in Punk History” over at Attica Gazette, which has even more songs. He beat me to it by over a year, too. Which is not unusual.
Did I miss your favorite GI Joe-related track? Would you have dinner with Mike Patton (I probably wouldn’t, for the record)? What’s your favorite oddball Funskool GI Joe repaint? Let me know in the comments!
5 thoughts on “5 Songs that Mention GI Joe and an Oddball Funskool Firefighter”
I thought about doing something similar with toy and comic references in rap songs. My two favourites being Del the Funky Homo Sapien on “Missing Link” talking about phasing “like Kitty Pryde, city wide”, and RZA referencing Rom and Unicron before “blasting photon bombs from the arm like Galvatron” on WTC’s “Impossible”.
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Not sure why it says “colintravels”.
Oh, WordPress you dinosaur.
[Puts head in hands.]
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Thanks for stopping by, Colin!
I’d actually love to read that if you ever wrote it. I feel like you’d have more than a handful with Kool Keith, Del, and various Wu-Tang alumni alone.
There’s a bunch of face coloring variants on the Funskool BBQ. The Funskool releases had bright yellow faces, or more flesh colored like this Russian figure. The brighter yellow are much more striking as they better match the backpack.
In 1999, Hasbro sculpted part of the BBQ pack as an Easter egg in one of the Episode I accessory packs. For the life of me, though, I can’t find it as I think it was on the back or underside of the item and the photos of those things are all 20+ years old, now.
Whenever I heard a Joe reference in a song, I always assumed it was referring to the ’60’s G.I. Joe. It seemed to have much greater infiltration in pop culture. Kung Fu Grip, especially, seemed to seep into the lexicon.
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Thanks for stopping by, Mike! I remember you mentioning some color variation in one of your articles (probably just the Funskool Barbecue one), which is why I mentioned it. I’m guessing the Russian figures are all pretty much like the one I have, though. I kinda do wish I had the one with more vibrant yellow, but maybe I’ll find it someday.
That’s interesting about the SW item– with the inner-company rivalry between the Hasbro and Kenner divisions at the time, that is kind of interesting.
And yeah, I think a lot of songs are definitely talking about 60s Joe. The Clash, Waylon Jennings, and Melvins definitely are (though I assume Mike Patton, who wrote that song, probably was aware of 80s GI Joe). The younger bands on the list (Limp and Dog Fashion Disco) would have been 18-19 when those songs came out in 97, so I have no doubt they were talking about ARAH. Uncle Al from Ministry is an older dude, but also a weird nerd, so it could go either way. Though he is probably referring to 60s Joes who, as you said, kind of seeped into the world beyond just nerdy pop culture stuff a bit more.