“Dr. Demento Covered in Punk”: Osaka Popstar’s new version of Barnes & Barnes’ “Fish Heads”

By on October 10, 2018

Have a look and a listen to Osaka Popstar’s brand-new animated music video for the Barnes & Barnes classic “Fish Heads,” the #1 all-time most-requested song on “The Dr. Demento Show” syndicated radio program.

This new video — directed by Osaka Popstar’s lead singer John Cafiero — features appearances by Barnes & Barnes and Dr. Demento himself (Night Flight contributor Barret Hansen).

We consider it also a heartfelt homage to the late, great actor Bill Paxton, who directed and starred in the original “Fish Heads” video, which debuted in 1980 and was featured for two weeks in a row on NBC’s late night hit TV show,Saturday Night Live.”


John Cafiero (left) and Dr. Demento come together on the new album Dr. Demento Covered in Punk

The video also features all kinds of clever pop culture references and nods to influences ranging from sugar-coated breakfast cereals, TV’s The Twilight Zone,” Queen, and Captain Beefheart‘s seminal album Trout Mask Replica, to name a few.


“Fish Heads” — currently celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year — is newly re-imagined by Cafiero’s Osaka Popstar in this propulsive, celebratory and near-anthemic version, which “Art Barnes” (a.k.a. Billy Mumy, of TV’s “Lost in Space” and other shows) said this about their new version:

“Osaka Popstar’s new animated video and rockin’ version of ‘Fish Heads’ is Bitchin, Boss, Bodacious and Bold! I dig it Bigly. I can’t think of anyone who could’ve done as great a job! Uhh… well… maybe one band! Heh… YEAH!!”


The track appears on the newly-released 64-track collection Dr. Demento Covered in Punk, which features newly-recorded “punk” makeovers of the bizarre novelty songs famously heard on Dr. Demento’s radio show, as well as some truly “demented” renderings of bona fied punk rock classics.

The eclectic roster of classic and contemporary punk/indie/alt-rock artists — as well as special guest stars from film, TV and more —include Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (covering “Science Fiction Double Feature” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show), the Misfits (“The Cockroach that Ate Cincinnati”), Fred Schneider of the B-52s, William Shatner (covering the Cramps‘ “Garbageman”), the late Adam “Batman” West, “Weird Al” Yankovic (covering the Ramones‘ classic “Beat On the Brat,” backed by Osaka Popstar) and many others.


The album — which features an elaborate booklet with lots of amazing art created for the project, interesting and informative liner notes and more — plays out just like a radio show and runs just over two hours.

A full-track listing for the collection — issued on Cafiero’s newly-launched Demented Punk label imprint in January 2018, and available in both physical and digital platforms — can be found at CoveredInPunk.com.

Read more about John Cafiero and Dr. Demento Covered in Punk below.


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Osaka Popstar’s video for “Wicked World,” animated by Mari-chan and starring an army of fire-breathing devil dogs

John Cafiero is a film and video producer/director and former animator, who, among other endeavors, manages the legendary punk band the Misfits, and the Estate of Dee Dee Ramone.

Cafiero occasionally produces other artists, and records and performs under the name Osaka Popstar.

Dr. Demento Covered in Punk debuted as the #1 Comedy album for two consecutive weeks earlier this year on the Billboard charts, and it has held various positions within the Top Ten during a six-month period on the charts.

The album also charted outside the comedy realm on the New Alternative Music album charts (#18), on Billboard’s top independent album chart (#20), and on the Billboard Compilation Albums chart (#5).

Here’s the video for “Insects,” from the album Osaka Popstar & the American Legends of Punk, animated by Joel Veitch of RatherGood.com

Dr. Demento Covered In Punk also features a fantastic cover painting by iconic illustrator Drew Friedman, who also makes a cameo in the video.

The video opens like a miniature TV show with the album’s theme song — “Dr. Demento Covered in Punk,” also performed by Osaka Popstar — before bringing to life a variety of personalities that have been illustrated by Friedman.


Comedian Emo Philips, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Dr. Demento & John Cafiero (Osaka Popstar) celebrate “Weird Al Day” in L.A., August 27, 2018, when “Weird Al” received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Also, be on the look-out for contributions by Topps trading card artist Neil Camera, and illustrator Stephen Blickenstaff (the Cramps), whose giant “fish head” illustration from the back cover of the album also appears.

Cafiero’s animation team includes illustrator/animator Sam Fout (his resume includes stints at LucasFilm, Warner Bros, Hanna-Barbera) and Todd Cronin (of the appropriately named Fishtoonz Animation).

Osaka Popstar’s video for “Where’s the Cap’n?,” consisting of public domain 60s-era Cap’n Crunch animation by Jay Ward

John Cafiero produced this Dee Dee Ramone animated short with the same team who worked with him on “Fish Heads”

Cafiero’s animated spot for an Osaka Popstar vinyl toy he designed and released (which comes with a digital single for a corresponding theme song, “Hopping Ghosts”)

Barnes & Barnes’ original video was ranked #57 by Rolling Stone’s Top 100 music videos of all-time. Read more about here on Night Flight’s blog in Dr. Demento’s remembrance of Bill Paxton, who died in February of 2017.

You can purchased “Fish Heads” T-shirts, enamel pins, totes, and lots more, including an exclusive limited-edition variant vinyl pressing of the album at the Demented Punk online store.


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.
  • http://uglyradio.wordpress.com Richard Vachel Lindsay

    The album also features the last ever recording by the legendary, notoriously scatalogical performance art duo The Kipper Kids (they were featured in Richard Elfman’s The Forbidden Zone and also – very, very briefly in the Weird Al vehicle UHF) – Brian Routh passed away in August of this year.

  • https://nostalgiaward.bandcamp.com David Buck

    The album is great all the way through, and one can never go wrong with Osaka Pop Star. Dr. D uses the Uncle Floyd cover version of “Cheerio, cherry lips, cheerio” from this album as his current show closing theme. I listened to the original show from 40 years ago where the song debuted again recently and listened to B & Bs debut album, “Voobaha.” In my mind, they still hold up quite well and I’m delighted John is helping to bring the music to a wider audience (he’s a super nice guy, too).