Long before I heard the original “Fourteen or Fight” from Wild In The Streets, I somehow first heard the cover version by the relatively unknown Florida pop-punk outfit The Cichlids.
When I first laid eyes on the cover of the Cichlids album cover, I for some reason built up a whole backstory that they were like a brother/sister outfit. A power-pop version of the Osmonds or The Jets. The faux family bond, however, was my narrative and mine alone.
Formed in 1979, this band and their high-energy tunes burned brightly throughout the pan handle, even getting airplay on major Florida radio stations, but they broke up shortly after their sole eponymous full length.
Their take on the track is a very upbeat affair, channeling appropriate protest ethos of the Runaways by way of the Fabulous Stains, and frankly it makes the movie version sound like a tepid track from Bye Bye Birdie. Upgrade!
American International Pictures was on point when they churned out Wild In The Streets in 1968. Shot in just 15 days, the movie tapped into just about every aspect of the counterculture climate, and produced a decent soundtrack to boot.
The exploitation flick features Christopher Jones as Max Frost, a rock star who becomes President. Max runs on the platform of lowering the voting age to 14 and forcing anyone over the age of 35 into internment camps, where they are fed a steady diet of LSD. It’s also worth noting that a young Richard Pryor plays the drummer Max Frost’s band.
While the movie is obviously a farce, the soundtrack is a somewhat relevant look at the homogenized sitar laden psych-pop faire that was popular at the time. Tune in Troops!