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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 Beer
Bocephus 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 Francisco

Matt's solo albums:
Opus Minimus
This CD Could get you Fired
We've Given up on Reading and we're focusing on breeding

Matt: 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.


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