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How Paul Jacobs Got Involved In Lemmings

April 20, 2002

Paul Jacobs is a talented musician who was associated with National Lampoon on “Lemmings” (as a performer, musical director, and composer and arranger with Christopher Guest), National Lampoon Radio Hour and the “Good-bye Pop” LP (as a composer and performer). Paul recently contacted me and let me in on some of the story of how he became involved with “Lemmings”:

“The short story is that Christopher Guest heard me at a recording session and hired me to play some of his songs. He was friendly with Jerry Taylor, associate publisher at Lampoon (who was also married to Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary at the time), and had been brought in for “Radio Dinner.” He arranged an audition for me with Tony Hendra. I improvised/wrote five songs for the show. “Lemmings’ Lament,” “Papa Was a Running Dog Lackey of the Bourgeoisie,” part of the Stones parody, “Megadeath,” and a song called “Wish They All Could Kill The California Way,” which was a Beach Boys type of song that told the story of Charles Manson. Sort of a mix of “Good Vibrations” and “California Girls.” Unfortunately, the cast couldn’t learn the vocal parts. They were very hard. I was a big fan of the Beach Boys.

“Basically Sean Kelly and I wrote the songs. Sean is amazing, as you know. “Lemmings’ Lament” was sort of my response to the sickeningly sweet “Our House” by Graham Nash. “Papa Was a Running Dog…” started by me putting the beginning of the Communist Manifesto to music.

“Anyway, the show came along at a perfect time for me, and it was fun, and a thrill being 22 and a half and involved in this cool project.”

Paul and his wife, Sarah Durkee (who wrote and performed in some of the National Lampoon stage shows), lately have been doing music for PBS kids’ shows, including “Between the Lions.”

This fall will mark the 30th anniversary of “Lemmings” opening at The Village Gate in New York City.


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