“Pants on the Ground” songmeister Larry Platt was “Idol’s” gimmick du jour last night. The producers gave Platt a platform to perform his song even though he was more than three decades too old to qualify for the show. But they knew he was comedy gold.
On a more serious note, he was part of the civil rights movement, too. I got him on the phone at about noon today. He was rather difficult to understand at times but I cobbled together the best that I could his reactions to his song and how “Idol” portrayed him.
“It played real real good,” he said. “I liked it. I loved it.”
He was inspired to create the song three years ago when he saw a guy walking down a downtown Atlanta street with a baby in his arm and his pants slipping below his hips. “He had his underwear showing,” Platt recalled. The song came to him spontaneously. He started chanting the chorus to “Pants on the Ground.”
“He was being disrespectful so I wanted to embarrass him,” Platt said. “He rolled his eyes and pulled his pants up a little bit.”
Platt has since done that to others as well.
I tried to glean some background about him. He said he was shot in the eye when he was age three and now at age 63, is “on disability.” I asked what types of jobs he’s had over the years and he said he can fix cars. That’s pretty much all I could get. He said he loves to sing and exercise. (On the show, he proved he could do both at the same time.)
He went to the Georgia Dome last June for auditions without realizing he was way out of the age limit of 16 to 28. The producers heard his song and fell in love with him. They probably knew instantly they were going to put him in front of the judges for pure entertainment sake. “I can do things better than a lot of 28 year olds,” he said.
Why did he call himself “General” when he was never in the military? “I’m a general of the civil rights movement,” he said, saying he marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and Hosea Williams back in the 1960s. (Williams apparently coined that nickname for him.) According to my colleague Eric Stirgus, we have checked out his claims in the past and there is photographic evidence of his civil rights past. He said he would often parry with Atlanta city council members.
Platt said he likes to talk to government officials about helping the downtrodden, the poor, the homeless. “I like to help keep people from being dominated. This should be a civilized state. Everyone should be treated equal.”
I asked if he had other songs and he said he had a female version of “Pants on the Ground,” too. He also said he’s pondering offers to record the song for potential sale. (I’d say he better do it quickly!)
He concluded the interview with this advice: “Be a man. Don’t be walking around showing yourself to the world! I don’t think that’s right!”
My colleague Mike Morris dug up some more history about the guy from our archives.
Check out the story.
The Atlanta man became an overnight Internet sensation with his “American Idol” song about pulling up your pants. Comments on his performance raced across Twitter even before he stopped singing. A video was quickly downloaded on youtube, and registered over 50,000 views. Among Google trends this morning, “pants on the ground” and “pants on the ground video” were Nos. 2 and 3 on the most-searched terms (”Teddy Pendergrass” was tops).