Here’s your 90’s Video of the Day: Harvey Danger: Flagpole Sitta

Because we love ‘em all. Here’s your 90’s Video of the Day:

Harvey Danger: Flagpole Sitta

An anthemic anti-zeitgeist song that ironically became a part of the 1990’s music machine itself, “Flagpole Sitta,” didn’t have the traditional makings of a hit with it's quirky outsider lyrics. Harvey Danger was made up of a group of journalism students at the University of Washington who hadn’t truly sought out for much more than having fun playing in a band, however the full lineup only existed for a mere four years before they’d be an MTV Staple.

Singer and frontman Sean Nelson revisited the song on it’s 20th anniversary, which it hit back in 2017, and discussed coming up with the tune with Stereo Gum. “The thing I really remember is, the one thing I didn’t have was the chorus. The chorus for most of the first year we had the song that we were playing it was just the backing vocal bits, which I always thought of as very much in line with the Turtles or something. But we had recorded the song and I thought, “Well, there needs to be words in the chorus. It can’t just be this.” So I went desperately flailing through my notebook and I found that line: “I’m not sick but I’m not well,” which was from another song, and then I basically just sang it and made up the other words on the mic. And I’m glad that I did, though I wish I had had the f—-ing sense to change the name of the song. “I’m Not Sick But I’m Not Well” is what everybody calls it. And if I had done that instead of thinking it was somehow less artistic, less honest, or whatever, to change the name of the song after we had already played it in front of the 87 people we were playing to in those days, we’d be having this conversation on my yacht.”

Never quite comfortable with the pressures of fame, (but too smart and cunning not to be a force in pop culture) singer Sean Nelson has since found his own less visible but secure place in music, writing and even some Hollywood roles. He is still the arts editor for the alternative weekly magazine The Stranger.

So what’s a “Flagpole Sitta?” The title was inspired by a Groucho Marx line in the movie Animal Crackers where he called someone a "flagpole sitter," and the band had an inside joke in which saying it with an “A” at the end was just funny, so it stuck.

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