Feed Us A Live Insect
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Youth and Surveillance
The kids are back from summer break. The student body this year looks like the population of the Hotel Cafe from Sunday night (when I took in Never At Night, Kissing Cousins, and Death House Chaplain) but multipled many times: guys with shaggy beards and girls with long, stringy hair, huge sunglasses, and old sundresses. Well, there are also jocks, fratboys, and dorks, but a lot of those people look like Silverlake as well.
Sorry this is so brief: I'm a bit distracted at the moment by this article
. Does the world have
to constantly become a worse and worse place to live in?
Coming up: Remember Betaville?
I'm trying to nail down an interview with its director. Stay tuned.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Youth And Experience
Sorry about not posting anything for a while, but not much is happening at the moment in the Monolator camp. We were both out of town last weekend at my brother's wedding and Mary is in Alabama until Monday, so no shows or anything for a little bit.
So I'll babble aimlessly about a record I'm listening to at the moment, an awe-inspiringly great comp on Norton Records of mid-sixties garage rock that my brother gave me for my birthday called Friday At The Hideout: Boss Detroit Garage 1964-1967.
See, The Hideout was a "teen club" and record label out of Detroit, and basically was a result of the city's post-war white flight
phenomenon: while Motown/rhythm and blues happened in the inner city, lots and lots of middle class white kids were stuck out in the suburbs buying Rolling Stones and Byrds records and starting garage bands. Or at least I gather that's what happened.
I dunno if you've heard many of these garage/surf/hot rod-type comps, but they're usually collections of scratchy, ultra-obscure 45 rpm records pressed in tiny numbers by ultra-obscure groups made up of sex-crazed teenagers
who later became depressingly old
and probably went on to form hideously unlistenable 1970's blues bands (or, in this case, became Bob Seger). There isn't really anything on this comp to match the greatness of, say, Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction," or "Dirty Water" by The Standells, but there are some gems. Probably the most interesting band on the whole disc would be the all-girl Pleaure Seekers whose blatty ode to underage drinking, "What A Way To Die," still seems strangely relevent these days.The Pleasure Seekers grace the back cover of
Friday At The Hideout.
Take a look at the brunette bass player on the left there...does she look a tad familiar to you? No? Look again...hmmmmm...could it be...why yes! It's none other than Suzi Quatro, AKA LEATHER TUSCADERO FROM "HAPPY DAYS!" Yes! You think I'm making this up? I am not.
Instead of "What A Way To Die," though, I kind of prefer the b-side (or was it the follow-up? Dunno), "Never Thought You'd Leave Me," with its great keyboard solo and sloppy spoken-word declaration of love over the fadeout: "c'mon baby come on back you know I love you I've always been true I'll knit a yarmulke for you outta my leg hair if you'll just come back to me," stuff like that. I love little spoken-word messages at the end of songs. Fats Waller used to do that, and Lou Reed. And The Pleasure Seekers, apparently.
The other great track on here is "Youth And Experience" by Doug Brown And The Omens. This is...well, what the hell is it? Why, it's a get-out-the-youth-vote musical endorsement for then-Republican U.S. Senator Bob Griffin!
It musta worked, because Bob won the election and served all the way from 1966 to 1979, all thanks (I assume) to the brave rock and roll efforts of Doug Brown And The Omens, who apparently recognized that Bob had both youth (?) and experience on his side. Seriously, this is the best theme song ANY republican has ever had or ever will have, featuring a wickedly catchy chorus and the deathless refrain "keep Michigan off the floor/ by keeping Bob Griffin as our U.S. Sen-a-tor."
Again, you think I am making this up? I am not. Like Doug says, give Bob a call, 'cause he's got an action slate for our action state. Except that by now he's about 83 years old.
It occurs to me how easy it would be to do an updated cover of this song for the Arnold Schwarzenegger gubernatorial campaign. I doubt that Doug Brown would shy from rhyming, for instance, "out the door" with "Ter-min-a-tor," or something like that. And then you could have a line that went "he'll shove his tongue down your throat / so you'd better go out and vote..."
etc. etc. I tell you, this stuff just writes itself!
There's one more interesting thing about the Friday At The Hideout
comp, which is this picture I found in the liner notes:
Who is that guy? It's me, isn't it? I mean it certainly looks like me, right? Who is that girl? Why don't I remember this? What's going on?
Anyway, here's some of the cuts I mentioned...you can buy Friday At The Hideout here.The Pleasure Seekers -- Never Thought You'd Leave MeDoug Brown And The Omens -- Youth And Experience
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Shirley Rolls 45 is here!
Oh man. This record is soooo good. Tom, who played guitar on our cd and plays live with us sometimes, has his own band called Shirley Rolls that I wrote about a while back
. He records his own music at home on a reel-to-reel 8-track deck and it sounds just incredible. If you like the old Stones records from when they were good (the B-side, "Busted," reminds me a lot of Satanic Majesties' Request
) or you like The Yardbirds or maybe even The New York Dolls then you'll dig this. Tom's got an mp3 of the A-side cut on his site but you really need to get a copy of this single--it's only 3 bucks and that includes postage! You can get one by visiting Tom's website
or emailing him
Here, to remind you, is an mp3 of Shirley Rolls - I Got Nothin'
Saturday August 6--The Tomorrow Show
Just the two-piece tonight, and in the lobby of the Steve Allen Theater playing for the crowd waiting to see The Tomorrow Show.
The Tomorrow Show is kinda hard to describe--it's basically a weekly comedy revue hosted by the guys who made the "Home Movies" cartoon series, one of whom is our old pal Shelly's boyfriend, Ron Lynch (that's not how we got the gig, though--we got it via the LA Alternative article, for which we're still very grateful). There were standup comedians, musicians, silly skits, lotsa stoned people, and a disturbing educational film from "The Trainables" series showing a young Downe Syndrome patient learning all about menstruation. Great. It was awesome, though, the highlight being for me the hosts' note-for-note (well, almost) rock band performance of The Who's "A Quick One While He's Away," which by complete chance we were listening to as we pulled into the parking lot to load in our gear
Our set was about twenty minutes in the lobby...the crowd was nice and receptive. Andy and Sheena were there, but unfortunately Andy's bass cabinet was out of commission so he couldn't play. Also we left our merch bag in the van and had nothing to sell. We need a merch person!
Interestingly I happened to find a post on a messageboard
about this particular show, from one of the comedians who did a routine, Erik Charles Nielsen
, who said:
This show was great (even despite the absence of Oswalt... and MLR... and Pepitone). Also, three hours long -- not even counting the opening act (a band by the name of the Monolators, who kind of reminded me of the Wedding Present, except there were only two of them, and neither had a gruff-sounding Yorkshire accent, and there wasn't really a lot of strumming. So maybe not much like the Wedding Present, then), who set up in the lobby and started playing circa 11:30.
So yeah--apart from the fact that we didn't get home until about 4 in the morning, it was a great night. We'd do it again in a second...oh, we did manage to sell one cd to a girl who spent the evening sitting on my amplifier. I guess she felt guilty.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Friday, August 5 -- Mr. T's Bowl
Our anniversary show, Mary and I have been married five years tonight. It's also the first Friday of the month again and we're playing our beloved Mr. T's. As with our June show, we assembled The Big Band for the occasion--this time with 9 of us up onstage. As before, Andy was on bass (unfortunately Tony was off in New Zealand, doing something or other that I can't remember, so no 8-Bit tonight), Tom was on lead guitar, Raymond was on keyboards, and Allie, April, and Tasha were on backup vocals--plus we had Becky Gessert, ex-Hope Rides A Pony bassist and Emm't Swank album covergirl on saxophone for the last three songs of the set. Becky hadn't played sax since highschool and her horn was in sorry shape, refusing to get in tune--fortunately Mary had her tenor sax refurbished a few years ago for the ill-fated Dory Previn project, so Becky used that instead. Actually I didn't really mind the out-of-tune sax quite so much, it sounded dissonant in an interesting way ("middle eastern moon music," said Raymond), but for everyone's sanity I suppose the in-tune sax was perhaps a better option, especially in that massive wall of sound.Future guest sax artiste Becky graces the cover of Emm't Swank's brilliant first (and only) LP.
It's a little hard for me to say exactly what The Big Band sounds like live. I like playing with Mary as a duo, there's a certain...ummmm...spareness and angularity to that sound that really appeals to me. I like playing with Andy and Mary as a trio, since Andy is a damn fine bass player and makes us sound more like an actual band. But The Big Band is special. It's this kind of overwhelming spongey mass, like a swamp or a really big jelly donut...or maybe like a blasting church choir with the lead guitars, the vocals, and the organ all going at once, like a hymn...I really wish I could hear a recording of the whole thing because it's pretty much impossible to tell what's going on while I'm tucked away in my little corner of the stage. I'm pretty sure it sounds kinda good...at least people say it does...
So anyway, some pictures from the evening. Unfortunately they're all of me, pretty much:Tom Bogdon lurks in the background on lead guitar. Sadly this time he chose not to wear a skirt. Please note the lavender shirt with no buttons I'm sporting.
Thanks to RM Snyder for these pictures!This picture is actually from our cd release show back in June, but at least it shows some more of the band--left to right is Tasha, Raymond, Allie, and part of April. You can see a tiny glimpse of Tom behind Raymond there, clad in a fantastic leopard-skin skirt! Rawk.
Also on the bill were Never At Night, featuring our pal Danny from Circus Minor, E>K>U>K, and our Las Vegas brethren Guns That Shoot Drugs
, who hauled ass to Highland Park just for the show and decimated everyone. Thanks kids, we'll see you again soon, I hope!
The only crappy thing about the night was Tommy. Tommy was a huge 6' 5" drunken jock, backwards baseball cap, those stupid cargo shorts, cropped hair with sideburns, earrings, and driving a jeep. He started pseudo-slamdancing (it was really more that he was shoving people around) during E>K>U>K's set, while we were all trying to dance, and pushed Mary and Allie really damn hard. Then he started hassling Katie (John from Guns's girlfriend) and when Clayton (bass player from Guns) told him to lay off he did his standard jock "I'm gonna kick yer ass" routine. More shoving, security does nothing or doesn't notice. Finally he leaves.
Out in the nearly deserted parking lot I'm going to get the van, Tommy is pissing on the wall. "Well well well," he says as I pass, "c'mere I wanna talk to you," just like we're back in high school. I can see a number of possible scenarios and just keep walking, I really don't want to talk to this guy. He says "hey you!" and then "fuck you!" Later on while we're all loading up our van he's still hanging around: "hey man I wanna talk to you." Not sure what to do, he's raging drunk and I hate him, so I ignore him. Eventually he starts up a conversation with (April's boyfriend) George, who is a better man than I, and says "I just wanna talk with that Eli dude." George says "well maybe if you hadn't pushed his wife and said 'fuck you'..." Then as I'm passing by with some cymbal stands he says "hey ELI! It's TOMMMEEEEEYYYYYY!" Apparently he told George his bar tab was about $120. I'm just glad the 8-Bit crew weren't around when this all happened 'cause there would've been a fight.
Bocephus und Chad, pt. 4--notes from a superfan
Really, I was only able to get ahold of Matt in the first place because of Alisen. She was at school with Matt up at Humboldt and was a big fan of Bocephus und Chad/Ed. She witnessed several (?) shows during their Arcata days and actually wrote an essay on the band for her non-fiction writing class at Sonoma State ("in late 1994," she notes. "I think I got a B on the paper, so someone thought is was better than average, but parts were making me cringe a bit"). She was gracious enough to fill me in on her side of the story:Alisen:
Here's what I remember: I saw Bocephus Und Chad doing the song "Real Men" in the cafeteria (affectionately known as "The J"--Jolly Giant Commons). I was already a big They Might Be Giants fan and they reminded me a bit of TMBG, but I knew there was something more authentic about Bocephus...maybe because they were playing songs that immediately had relevance to my life: college dorm life in Humboldt.
I remembered that Matt had been in that band when I met him in one of my English classes later the next semester. I always felt like English classes had the greatest potential for pretentious majors (and I met a lot of them), but Matt was a guy who I could really relate to and was so much braver than me. He once told me that his theory was English majors were just Drama majors who didn't like to get naked. I think this is apt, but if you've met Matt, I dare say he's sitting a bit on the fence of that whole naked thing. I think he'd doth protest too much to say he wouldn't get naked. Still, I'm glad he ended up in my crowd.
He always kept me up to date with the latest tape from Bocephus Und Chad. The brilliant green one kept my entire floor going that 1990-1991 year. Everybody loved it. I didn't know Brian very well at all. I could pick him out of a lineup if need be, but we didn't have the major in common and both he and Matt lived in another dorm on another part of campus.
My favorite Bocephus Und Chad memory (and my memory is probably skewed) is when they played at the ARCATA theater. Their name was on the marquee...it was so cool. Did I take a picture of this? Sadly, no, but you will have to believe me. (I may have the ticket stub, though...I will look) I went to the concert at the ARCATA with another English major that Matt and I knew. I had been, not dating exactly, but I guess trying to date him and Matt told me he would play the "Life Would Suck Without You" song for me. My recollection is that he brought me onstage (this "onstage" is the part that may be skewed. I may have been just in the front row, but in my mind I will always be onstage in this memory) and sang to me and when it came time for the "and if you should die, I'd find the villan, I'D FIND THE VILLAN, I'D FIND THE VILLAN...and not like him very much" part, he went up to the guy I was trying to date and throttled him (a bit). It was funny to me because he was not expecting this throttling and because he was even more shy than I was and Matt really came after him.
Matt and I had many English classes together, so I always kept up with what Bocephus Und Chad/Ed were up to, but once I left Arcata to go to school at Sonoma State, I slowly lost touch with Matt. I, oddly enough, did a piece about Bocephus Und Chad for my non-fiction writing class at SSU, and came up to Arcata to interview Matt in the J for my paper. Thanks to Myspace, I found Matt again.Me: (asking the profound questions)
Do you have a favorite song of theirs?Alisen:
I really like "Schmuck with a Guitar." I always have. "I thought that I was special, I thought I was unique, I'm just another schmuck who plays guitar."
Of course the best Bocephus Und Chad song that got away is the break up song he wrote called "You aint worth the shit you date". I lent that tape (LENT) to a friend---yes, this keeps happening to me--and never got it back. I intend to ask Matt if he still has that song popping around somewhere, just because I always reference it as the best break up song ever.
Jesse's story about Matt is that he never saw a Bocephus Und Chad concert, but when the two of them taught at Upward Bound together he performed with Matt (and when I say performed, I think Jesse just wore a dress and stood there while Matt performed...apparently Matt said "nothing gets a laugh like a guy in a dress.")Note: Alisen sent me a number of Bocephus-und-Chad-related pictures, which I just realized I can't post for fear of incriminating the weak and hapless. But I can show you this one, taken when I was stranded in Arcata, resplendent with horrible $9 haircut, playing, yes, "Twisted Metal" with Jesse and his buddy Paris:Alisen:
I especially like the random nativity figures on the table top above your head.There's a picture of Alisen herself that needs posting, I'll get to that as soon as I can.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Bocephus und Chad--part three: a word from Bri
Here's the second half of the interview I recently conducted with the members of Bocephus und Chad. Before continuing my conversation with Matt, I've got a few words from the mysterious Bri himself, in response to questions asked by Matt on my behalf--he's apparently attending a wedding in Ireland at the moment and hasn't replied to me directly. I hope to hear from him soon...Matt:
What did you think when you first met me?Bri:
He seems nice enough, Thank god he is not redneck Dave or Idiot Mike
across the hall, but we must work on breaking him of his catholicism.Matt:
Did we always mesh musically?Bri:
We didn't mesh. That was the point. You like Tom Petty and guitars and
I like Homosexual British bands.Matt:
What were shows like?Bri:
Like when David Blain locked himself in a fishbowl for a week, except
without oxygen. Although my brother Al says that our show in Mountain
View was the Greatest Thing He EVER SAW, EVER! and we should die proud.******
(My interview with Matt continues here)Me: I was under the impression that you'd recorded "Kitfo Kid" in Arcata, but that was actually done in San Francisco? Was this after Bri had officially left to pursue opera at the SF Conservatory, and is that also how you got the female singers on "Molly"? Matt:
We recorded Kitfo Kid in San Francisco --I'd drive there from Sac., we'd record and go to an Ethiopian restaurant where we'd eat kitfo (raw beef) and get tipsy on honey wine-it took a few months to get them all done-most were knock offs of earlier songs---just done up with far more instrumentation--Bri was still in conservatory and hanging out with an obnoxious rich Aussie guy, a German woman and someone else--they were the "Molly" singers. The recording involved a lot of Chips Ahoy cookies and a very messy apartment owned by Bri and Al. At one point, the guy who taught me guitar, Pat Wehren, came in to play on "You're Lonely."Me: I should've asked earlier, where did the name Bocephus und Chad come from? And what was your musical experience pre-B&C?Matt:
The name represents the fusion of my tastes at the time (Georgia statellites, Steve Earle) –Bocephus—with Bri’s taste (large flaming show tunes and silky New wave music that reminds you of Spandau Ballet)—ultimately—he pulled me more over to his side and than I did him and we ended up just left of They Might Be Giants.
My previous music experience was playing in church (hey, who doesn’t) and 11 years of Catholic school—yah—I’m a survivor—which is why if you go to Three Messiahs Walk into a Bar on our website, you can see what 11 years of Catholic school will do. It’s my Musical about what it was like to be Joseph and have everyone know you were dating a woman named The Virgin Mary—beyond that, Brian was the person who brought this type of music out of me and made it fun.Me: The most memorable Bocephus und Chad moment?Matt:
I will always remember the day both of Ron's girlfriends showed up at a
show at the same time. I will remember the show that Steve brought up every girl in the audience to surround him and then forgot why he did that.
I will remember our performance at the midnight movie when the midnight movie didn't show up and we ended up playing for 12 people in a movie theatre. And I will remember when the comedy club asked us to host a variety show on Tuesday and, since we didn't really know anyone in Sacramento (I'd just moved and Bri didn't live there), we couldn't draw any audience at all.
I must amend my most memorable moment answer: 1. When the lead guitarist told me, “thanks for this band. I’d have never been in a band without this.” I realized why I did the band in the first place. It gave people who would never have gotten their band moment (people like me) that moment.
2. When Brian and I decided to stop playing together. It was very sad for me. And then I realized that playing for audiences is very unsatisfying. It’s really all about being on stage with someone you like. If you enjoy who you’re playing with, you can play for a room full of chairs and it wouldn’t matter. That’s for me- I know some musicians just love the music and don’t care who they play with.Me: Dare I ask what you've both been up to post-B&C?Matt:
After college we moved to separate cities but had a couple of years where we’d meet and play small cafes or record and he used to come to Sac[ramento] to do comedy clubs with me—but in time it just got too crazy driving around. He moved to New York City where his wife is pursuing a successful acting (stage) career and he, as a man whose trust fund allowed him to never made him work, got a job—as a side note, he was prepared to kill himself when his trust fund ran out until he met his wife—so we are thankful to her for keeping him alive—He had left Humboldt to study at the San Francisco observatory as a tenor and learned a valuable lesson—he hated opera. So he gave up music and only this year has decided to return to making it. He has been a cubicle tech worker in New York city for the past 10 years—those without money dream of fame—those with money dream of cubicles—I believe Foucault said that.
I became a teacher and have been recording and trying to be heard ever since—I long ago gave up any desire to make money at it—but my guerrilla marketing plan goes like this:
I make CDs—go to big cities and leave them randomly in shops, on benches and in the free magazine stands –they all have the Bocephus und Chad website on them. Though I often change the name of the band just so I can write things like: "The Fornicating Lemurs" on CD covers. Myspace was a blessing because now we can do absolutely nothing and people can still hear the music.
Nowadays most of my performances are storytelling and music for kids. I had to play an interactive show at this festival that no one came to and ended up performing to 10 bales of hay while about 6 adults just laughed and shook their heads. Tonight I'll be playing the Harry Potter Birthday party at Borders and will have an audience of 3 (my kid included). Besides, you're not a musician till you've played for people who don't want you there.Me: What were the post-college reunion shows like?Matt:
Bocephus und Chad after college--Bri hooked up a computer, ran it through a keyboard--I played guitar--mostly songs highlighting Bri's voice--small crowds--some comedic skits to introduce the songs. The show ends--we look at each other and go: it's harder to do this when you're old isn't it? He answers: it'd be easier if we had an audience.Me: Could you describe your "Three Messiahs Walk into a Bar" project and the Belligerent Tenors for people who haven't heard of them before?Matt:
It's been a lot of fun. Where I am now I work with a lot of people who used to be things--they used to write or used to play something or used to whatever--few of them still...it has always been my goal to not used to do anything that I love.
Three Messiahs Walk into a Bar is a musical comedy about Joseph (from the bible) who moves to Nazareth to woo Mary only to find out that she is called "The Virgin Mary" there. This constant broadcast of his sexual status is embarrassing to him and he tries to beat up everyone who calls her that. Too bad he fights like Justin Timberlake. When Mary beats up three guys who are about to beat him it is too much. They break up. Mary visits her cousin, meets the angel etc. joseph realizes he's a putz and follows her but after getting a piss bucket thrown on him, trying to change his clothes and getting arrested for "waxing his spear" in public (a charge he vehemently denies) he ends up in prison with 3 messiahs (a materialist, a wannabe psychologist and a narcoleptic). He eventually gets out and after numerous "signs", advice and messages from people sings the finale --"give me a sign" and finally Gabriel beats him over the head with a sign that says "sign". God plays a recurring role as a slobbish binge eater and sings "I'm God so I'll never have to diet."
Bri helped with the music and I wrote the play and the lyrics and adapted his songs to be less complicated (I can't often play what he writes--he's way to high above my level). It should be being performed in Sacramento in the spring after a successful staged reading run this summer (July 21 22). It's the best music I've done in a long time and very satisfying. I'm currently working on musicals for children because, frankly, they sell better and I'm already going into the hole for "Messiahs."Me: Oh, I forgot the most important question of all: can people still buy/acquire Bocephus und Chad/Belligerent Tenors music? Matt:
Yes--if they want CDs--I'll charge (cover costs--10 bucks and they can pick the tunes they want)--all they have to do is go to the myspace page
and email me and say, I want tunes--I'll reply back with a list of tunes and they can put together a do it yourself cd--no longer than 80 minutes--they can even create the name of the CD or have me rename songs (if they want Tiny Peters for their boyfriend, I'll call it "Bob's song"--if they want free downloads they can go to the myspace page-If they want just one song I'll email them an MP3 of it--I'm flexible--if it doesn't cost me, it doesn't cost them-they can request that I put up new ones--I get a lot of hits and a lot of plays but it never says anyone's downloaded and few people if any make contact--I had another milestone the other day when some teenager from South Carolina put us up as his music on his page--otherwise It's like holding an open house--people come in, they look around and you can't tell if they are going "there should've been food" or not. Oh yes, and of course, many many requests by dating services who go--clearly this guy needs a service.Bocephus und Chad - Carrots And BeerBocephus und Chad - Al's Song (If The Cat Won't Eat It)Matt:
Al is Bri's older brother--he is the epitome of a cool, dry place--no one is cooler and no one's humor is drier. When we were recording the album in San Francisco (Bri's old apt on the Haight), Al (who was living with him) gave us this song and told us we had to record it. And we always do what we're told. So we tried to make it as pompous as we could. I believe he liked the final version.
A Bocephus und Chad discography:
The Green Album --in Arcata
The Pink Album-in Aracata
The Kitfo kid--San Francisco
Prairie Oyster Stew--San Francisco
The Greatest Hit of Bocephus und Chad-San FranciscoMatt's solo albums:
This CD Could get you Fired
We've Given up on Reading and we're focusing on breedingMatt:
Inebriate ED (from Bocephus und Ed--Steve the Elvis singer) released an
album called Got Wood of his favorite songs (or songs I thought were his
favorite--I did the music and he did the singing)--There are 5 copies in
existence. I have one.
We encourage piracy of our work--but if you like us, you have to go to the
myspace site and tell us, because WE CRAVE ATTENTION!******A final note from Eli:
Bri, if you're reading this, please get in touch. The same goes for the other members of Bocephus und Chad/Ed. And I need pictures.
I understand there's also some newspaper articles floating around, a public access tv performance, and other stuff...if anyone has any of this, please let me know.
Bocephus und Chad pt. 2: an interview with Matt
For the next few days I'm devoting my blog entries to an interview I recently conducted with the members of Bocephus und Chad, an Arcata, California-area band circa the mid-1990's that mainly consisted of two guys named Matt and Bri (as in "Brian," but mostly referred to as "Bri") who first met as college roomates at Humboldt State. In this installment I'm talking to Matt ("Bocephus"), who understandably asked that his full name be witheld.Me: can you clarify the chronology of the band: you meet Brian as college roommates, begin to write songs together and later perform shows and record tapes, Brian leaves to pursue opera, and you continue the band with other members until you graduate from college and/or move from Arcata--is this correct? And then the band exists via an occasional reunion with Brian until he moves to NYC, yes?Matt:
Chronology is right...Bocephus und Chad started because when one enters college dorms, they fill out a form that states all their interests, mannerisms etc –those forms are then taken by evil little bureaucrats and used to match the most unlikely of people together—thus Brian—music major, Broadway fan, stuffed hippo hugging, blanket (his gankie)-loving, was stuck with me—Bon Jovi and Rick Springfield fan, English major, slob, Catholic school survivor.
And while times were rough in the beginning—when I was sleeping he’d play phantom of the opera on his keyboard until I woke up—and I’d throw his clothes and his hippo out the third story window—in time we found that we both loved making music—since we were in Humboldt we started out singing lovely tunes about nature—like “Please Don’t Pick the Fucking Flowers”—then we moved on to songs about lumberjacks “Real Men” and hairy Humboldt women –the Humboldt Rap.
As the years in college went on, Brian moved into a house and allowed a woman to live there if she would be his accompanist/kept woman and, at any time of the day or night, would go to the piano to accompany him on any song.—now we had a band. We enlisted another guitar player, a guy whose job it was to play the saxophone and if anyone could guess what he was playing, they could strip him down to a G string.
Brian eventually moved towards opera and dropped out of the band—so I carried on taking only people who had been rejected by other bands (for two years I was the only one in the band who could play their instrument)—we were like a half way house for musicians. We had a wonderful lead guitarist who could play killer Guns and roses riffs but couldn’t play rhythm—two female lead singers who couldn’t sing—and an open door policy for anyone who wanted in—as a result we were the only show in town that had a cakewalk in the middle where you could win a cake but finishing a song was sometimes an iffy proposition.
The last two years saw us at our heyday--Rob the guitar player who wrote “Someone Farted in the Elevator”, Mauro the bass player you must keep from your daughters, Anna the backup singer who could sing, Ron, who was good looking but couldn’t sing or play an instrument, Matt (different one) the male exploited sex object (he was 6 feet, 135 pounds and danced in a leopard g string—he looked like a middle finger when he danced), Steve the elvis impersonator, Wendy the backup singer (who could sing) as well as the aforementioned lead guitarist. Good times. We played more cafeteria shows and a gay pride parade, had a few cakewalks and every time we played "Carrots and Beer," we had to put on protective gear (garbage can lids, cups, a fire helmet) as the audience would pelt us with carrots. The highlight for me was the day that both of the girls Ron was dating showed up to the show together, and we stopped in the middle of a song, looked at him and said, “you’re sooo dead.” And the time we took every male in the audience, brought them backstage, taught them the words to Tiny Peters, and had a men’s chorus –it was beautiful.Me: What exactly did you think of Bri when you first met him? It sort of sounds like a bit of a clash, you being the sort of classic rock-type dude and him singing showtunes and all. Did you mesh pretty well from the beginning? Because to me that's one of the things that makes B&C sound distinctive, that sort of rock-and-musical-theater combination.
I didn't know Brian for the first week--he'd brought his girlfriend up to college and was shacked up at a hotel--when I first met him, he was hard to get to know--he was chronically shy--never spoke. He just smiled. But when I started to decorate our door with pictures of Tiffany (accompanied by pledges of allegiance to her as both an artist and religious figure), New Kids on the block (accompanied by comments about how much they reminded me of my growing up in the hood)penguins and
other random crap, he began to come out of his shell. We were from the suburbs--we had that same frustration with conformity, that same cynicism that comes from recognizing that every emotion you hear on the radio has a for sale sign hanging on it, that same urge to somehow be different in a world where everyone buys their identity at the same store.
We lived together so we would get into plenty of arguments. Once when he got mad at me he tried to write "flaccid Nazi" in glow in the dark ink on our light--however, as a music major, he was obligated to be a bad speller and wrote "placid Nazi"--two years later that was still on the light... but we knew we were the same people--two doofuses -- two fives --two musical freaks..and we were very happy to be that.
Musically we always meshed. He turned me on to They might be Giants, the Rainmakers, Les Mis, and a bunch of other groups I'd never heard of and loved. I don't think I ever turned him on to anything--but I gave him an outlet to be as weird as he wanted. I knew I'd struck gold with Bri's talent plus he owned the four track--so I had to be nice or no recording for me.
I forgot-when Brian wasn't in the band we went by Bocephus und Ed---not really that important but I thought I'd throw it in-we did it just out of respect for Bri.Me: What kind of venues did Bocephus und Chad typically play in? Were these clubs, or parties, or...?Matt:
We typically played the cafeteria--every few months, I would want to do a show-there were only 4 bars in all of Humboldt and only one played music--we didn't get invited to parties --so it was all a do it yourself show--I worked at the cafeteria, so I had access to there. Later on I played at a café that sold potato dishes to the post bar crowd. In Sacramento we played Laughs Unlimited Comedy Club until they stopped calling us, and another bar/café that is now defunct. It was a very lax playing schedule--with us-we weren't the hardest working band in Humboldt.Me: On the Kifko Kid album there's a cover version of "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid. Whose idea was this, I assume it was Brian's, but did you goad him into it?Matt:
Brian never needed goading to cover cheesy songs--he would have made an all Disney and Ultravox album if he could. Bocephus und Chad - MollyBocephus und Chad - Chris RodewaldMatt:
Chris Rodewald was our dorm neighbor and later a roommate of Bri's--he was a golden god. Perfect hair, built like a brick shithouse and so completely friendly and humble and smart that it drove us nuts. Usually attractive people have a flaw--they're stupid or vain or something--it's god's way of keeping things equal. Chris had no flaw. It drove us crazy---and we were all good friends (he and I still are) because brian and I were not exactly estrogen magnets. Chris had beautiful women fighting over him and he was turning them away to be loyal to his crazy girlfriend. That song is a direct rip off of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with all the lyrics written in Chris's room as we pillaged it and laughed about all the ways he was cooler than us. We once ran him (without him knowing) for a college elected office as a write in candidate and he almost won (the signs said vote for Chris Rodewald--he'll get you laid--or Vote for Chris Rodewald-because he has better hair than you). Chris is now a very successful businessman in San Diego and still the nicest person anyone could meet.