Anyone of my generation was probably pretty sad to hear about the passing of legendary radio personality (and voice of Shaggy) Casey Kasem this past weekend. Kasem, who hosted the weekly show “American Top 40” for approximately a million years, will be remembered for many things, including something I’m sure he and his family would rather forget: a profanity-laced outtake directed at U2, who were apparently new on the charts at the time, because Kasem dismisses the famously Irish band with the now-immortal line, “These guys are from England and who gives a shit?”
The rant achieved immortality when it was picked up by the pioneering culture-jamming band Negativland and used on a 1991 EP called (0bviously) U2. Because it sampled U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” without permission, U2 became the subject of a protracted lawsuit (obviously) and was eventually taken out of circulation, but it’s lived on in bootleg form (and, in more recent years, on YouTube) ever since. It’s a kind of cautionary tale, really, about the perils of launching into a profanity-laced tirade anywhere in the vicinity of recording equipment—one that politicians, actors and TV personalities continue to ignore to this day.
Now, to commemorate Kasem’s passing, Negativland have announced that they’re reissuing “U2,” complete with Kasem’s “Who gives a shit?” rant, as a free download. But not just any free download—they’re releasing the multi-track masters, so fans and fellow musicians can remix, re-edit and reinterpret “U2” however they see fit. You can grab the full download (all 278 MB of it) here. Anyone who produces a new version of the track is encouraged to post it on Negativland’s official website or Facebook page.
Negativland first announced this project on Monday, so the interwebs have already swung into action. We haven’t had a chance to listen to all the remixes yet, but so far this one is our favorite:
Rest in peace, Casey.