I’ve had it up to here listening to a small segment of people trying to put down America.  America’s the greatest land on Earth and we oughta be proud of what we have!  I’m proud of America.  I’m proud of our people, and I’m gonna prove it!  We’re American and damn proud of it!  Frankly, I’m getting a little ticked off.  Go to Hell!

Ah, Bob Serpentini.  Anyone who lived in Northeast Ohio in the mid-’90s remembers his obnoxious commercials for his Chevrolet dealerships, where he would rant about his right-leaning views for a good thirty seconds (like the quote above), before launching into a hard sell for the latest Impala.  His commercials were so over the top, they became a bit of a local phenomenon, if not an ironic one.

Local boys Dink took advantage of this, sampling one of Serpentini’s spots for the intro of their first single, “Green Mind,” (download) bearing the band’s trademark fusion of industrial beats, rock guitar, and hip-hop samples.  Spawned from Kent, Ohio, the same area that gave birth to DEVO and the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde, Dink gigged for months before local alternative radio station WENZ added “Green Mind” to its regular rotation.  The band’s multi-media live shows and radio play brought the major labels sniffing around.  Dink eventually signed to Capitol, who released Dink’s self-titled debut album in 1995.  With that major label backing, a snazzy video was shot (in Akron!) for the single and MTV added it to the rotation of “120 Minutes” and “Alternative Nation.”

You may also remember the video for “Green Mind” being played on “Beavis & Butthead,” where Serpentini’s rants inspired Beavis to scream in agreement, “YEAH!  GO TO HELL!”  “Green Mind” was also featured in the movie “Fear” and all this exposure helped the song go national, becoming a minor Modern Rock radio hit.

Dink surfed on this wave of momentum with a second single, “Get On It,” (download) which, while not that big a hit, sure sounds influencial in retrospect.  Take a quick listen – the sampled industrial beat (ignore the dated “Funky Drummer” sample), the distorted slide guitar, the vocal melody – is it me, or did Rob Zombie completely rip this song off to create “More Human Than Human” for White Zombie later that same year?  I’m sure it was completely coincidental – after all, a lot of industrial music tends to be awfully similar on the surface – but boy, I remember hearing the White Zombie tune and immediately thinking of “Get On It.”

Dink were unable to capitalize on their relationship with Capitol, even after releasing an EP, Blame It On Tito, in 1996.  The band were finishing up their second full-length album when they were dropped from the label.  Too bad, since they were working with super-producer Stephen Hague.  I’d love to hear those sessions, but since the band officially called it quits in 1998, there doesn’t seem to be much chance of that.

“Green Mind” peaked at #35 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart in 1995.

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