Over the years, we’ve heard some pretty amazing and interesting covers of Disturbed’s “Down With the Sickness.” But not every cover is a gem, and one turned out so poorly that it was worked into a recurring joke within HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. So how did Blind Monday’s take on the Disturbed classic end up with prime space within the political-leaning comedy series?
As you might suspect, it wasn’t all about the song, but actually tied in to part of the night’s political commentary. To open the show, Oliver addressed the ongoing Canadian trucker protest, elaborating on how it’s gone on to represent even more ideals than were initially part of the protest.
Oliver called out one of the central figures in the protest, explaining, “One of the convoy’s de facto spokespeople have been Tamara Lich who has linked to far right groups in Canada and has been a leader in Wexit, which I know sounds like a campaign to have Westies refuse to participate in the National Dog Show after years of being unjustly overlooked, but it’s actually referring to a Western Separatist movement that is calling for Canada’s prairie provinces to secede.”
But the host then showcased one lesser known fact about Lich, revealing her rock music history. “And a fun side note,” offered Oliver, “Lich also sings with a side band called Blind Monday. Would you like to hear them perform? Well too fucking bad, you’re going to,” before the host cut to a clip of the band playing Disturbed’s “Down With the Sickness.”
Coming out of the clip, Oliver offered a roll “Cool,” before adding, “But I will say this, it is hard to think of a song more thematically appropriate to her cause than ‘Get Down With the Sickness,’ except maybe ‘ My Heart Will Go On, ‘ in that it is Canadian and inextricably linked with an avoidable tragedy,” while showing a Titanic graphic.
But that wasn’t the end of Blind Monday’s name check within the commentary, as Oliver offered up a call back joke. “Copycat versions have already taken place in France, Australia and New Zealand, where they have a novel way of trying to clear the obstruction,” explained Oliver of the protests before cutting to a news report of New Zealand officials reportedly blasting the music of James Blunt, Barry Manilow and Disney to try to break up the trucker sit in.
“Oh come on, New Zealand,” scoffed Oliver. “Playing James Blunt and Barry Manilow clearly is not going to cut it here. You’re not going to move on people this angry with the actions of a bad wedding DJ. Besides, as we all now know, if you really want to get a crowd to disperse, don’t go with Disney or James Blunt. Take it from me, there is only one song guaranteed to clear a room and it is this.” He then cut to Blind Monday’s “Down With the Sickness” cover once more.
Check out the feature in the opening moments of this week’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver below.
Disturbed Cover Featured in Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
75 Rock Songs That Defined 2000