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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

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.

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