Toon Tunes: Biker Mice from Mars

curated by Jon Doyle

When it comes to Toon Tunes, it turns out choosing a toon is a lot harder than choosing the tunes. At least for me. The cool people who’ve done this feature previously have already taken some of my all-time favourite toons, so I had to dig a little deeper into my childhood to find something.

That something is Biker Mice From Mars, the informatively-titled 1993 cartoon about three anthropomorphic mice from Mars who like to ride motorbikes. Throttle, Modo and Vinnie flee a war on the Red Planet, only to land in a Chicago under threat from the very forces they were escaping. Instead of jetting off to pick a more peaceful planet, the three team up with the cool grease monkey/inventor Charley Davidson (yes, really) in an effort to free the Windy City from the evil Plutarkians and get some degree of justice for the destruction of their own home.

Honestly, the whole bare(ish)-chested macho heroism thing gets tired pretty quickly, especially as they’re modeled far closer to humans than the lovable Turtles (because, let’s face it, the Biker Mice were trying to grab a slice of the TMNT success-pie for themselves. See also: Street Sharks). And, while Charley is a female mechanic who invents new technology and is as adept on a motorbike as any muscular alien mouse, it’s pretty telling that more often than not she’s kidnapped by the bad guys only for the testosterone trio to rescue her and save the day. That said, one redeeming episode sticks out in my memory. The Biker Mice, convinced that crime fighting is a job reserved for tough guys like them, refuse to let Charley join a mission against arch nemesis Limburger. So what does she do? She suits up and covers her face and joins them anyway (the mice aren’t too bright), pulling a whole host of cool moves and attacks and generally showing the fellas who’s boss before taking off her helmet and rubbing their noses in it.

This mix is a collection of songs that captures Charley’s attitude in this episode – brash and confident and generally not giving a damn about bad guys or good guys or anyone at all. Think of them as sonic confidence to help you plant your behind on that seat, rev that engine and do whatever it is people insist that you can’t.    

P.S. Apparently the villain in the 2006 reboot in named Ronaldo Rump, who’s dastardly plans include turning Mexico into a huge golf course and hotel resort, which seems pretty apt right now.

mp3 premiere: "We Real Cool" - Goldmines

photos: Shannon and the Clams at Teragram Ballroom, Los Angeles, California (7/15/16)