I scat nonsensical words initially to feel where the lyrics should go before adding them later.
We all thought those were the lyrics, Steven.
Steven, Joey, Tom [Hamilton], Brad [Whitford] and [producer] Jack [Douglas] went down to Times Square to see Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein,” which was in theaters then. I had already seen it, so I stayed behind and hung out on the roof. When the guys returned, they were throwing lines back and forth from the film. They were laughing about Marty Feldman greeting Gene Wilder at the door of the castle and telling him to follow him. “Walk this way,” he says, limping, giving his stick to Wilder so he can walk that way, too. While all this was going on, Jack stopped and said, “Hey, ‘walk this way’ might be a great title for the song.” We agreed. But we still needed lyrics.
David Johansen of the New York Dolls told me it was the dirtiest song he had ever heard on the radio. Coming from David, that was high praise.
Rick said our original version was ‘proto-rap‘—since Steven’s lyrics were half-spoken, half-sung, and we had this solid beat. Rick asked if I’d be willing to put some guitar on it and if Steven would sing new vocals. We said, yeah, why not. They were sampling our kick-drum beat anyway. It was going to be radical, since up until then most rappers had avoided electric guitars.
BONUS “they all look alike to me” correction:
In a previous version of this article, the caption for Run-D.M.C. identified the band members out of order.
Hey, what can I tell you?
I play slots at casinos, I watch Judge Judy, and I like Geffen-era Aerosmith.