Contrasting the upbeat, optimistic, happy fallacy of the American ideal in the forefront with the impending shitstorm reality of actual America in the background, "Life Is Excellent" epitomizes exactly how the band Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits is destined to leave their mark on history as one of the great satirists of this generation. They are one of those unique bands that cannot be wedged into a specific genre or style, giving the listener the rare experience of being treated to something truly special, where every song appeals to a different part of the senses, while the mind tries to decide if it should laugh or cry at the inherent truth in the lyrics. Upbeat catchy songs drenched in satire full of serious political undertones one would expect to see on an episode of Saturday Night Live, Late Night With David Letterman, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or The Colbert Report, Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits can only be described as genius, brilliant, reminiscent of the late George Carlin mixed with a heavy dose of Monty Python.
Hailing from the California Bay Area, the two frontmen, Corbett Redford, vocals, and Dan Abbott, guitar and vocals, are living proof music can be fun, entertaining and serious as hell, wrapped in a package where the audience has no choice but to dance. Incorporating animation, 'claymation,' puppets and a variety of willing collaborators in their videos and onstage performances, it's hard for me to comprehend why this band doesn't yet have a record label to call home.
Insisting "rock-n-roll is not rocket science," Redford and Abbott focus their music on "...exploring the stuff we find interesting" about life, America and the world. With the song "Tashirojima (The True Story Of Cat Island)" about cats who save the people of a tiny, remote island by detecting an earthquake before it happens and fleeing to the safety of the mountains, in which the people have the good sense to follow before the subsequent tsunami can wipe them all out, Bobby Joe Ebola explores the larger universal truth that maybe animals are a lot smarter than humans and "if we [Americans] put these cat shrines up, cats might steer us right." Inspired by the true story of an entire island in the Miyagi Prefecture in Japan full of elderly people and the cats they praise who survived a recent tsunami, it will appear as a pink vinyl 7" record single, and all of the proceeds will go to JEARS, the Japanese Emergency Animal Rescue & Support fund.
Appreciating police officers on a wholly different level, the song "Cop Kisser" is about a person who is sexually turned-on by police brutality. Begging for loaded guns and search lights is a criminal who baits cops for the thrill of being a "cop kisser" who wants "the pain of your pepper spray" and ultimately "go[ing] downtown with you"; and he isn't talking about the local police station. From the soon-to-be-released upcoming full-length album Trainwreck To Narnia, currently without a record label, this song is a straightforward challenge to American law enforcement, and mocks the Oakland Police Department specifically amid recent allegations of police brutality and misconduct.
Just as the listener wraps his head around that bit of sadomasochism, a throw-back to the '80s charity rock ballads "We Are The World" and "Do They Know It's Christmas" appears in the song "The Last Child Soldier," also from Trainwreck To Narnia, and warns of the consequences of ignoring the ails of the world. When AIDS and war and virus and disease, combined with corporate greed that cuts down all the trees, destroys the last of the human race, who will be the "one to dig the grave"? Determined to add their trademark dark and twisted comedy to even this sobering bit of reality, the lyrics ask "If there's nobody to jerk off, will there still be Internet?" while mourning the loss of the last fire to "cook the last cheese dog on."
Redford and Abbott talk about their fans as being "people who don't fit into society well," but with the lyrics and the eclectic mix of sound and style as they impose the mantra of mocking everything without restraint, anyone can relate to the truth of their observations. The song "Blues Turn Brown," also from Trainwreck To Narnia, speaks of a thirty-four-year-old college graduate unable to find a decent-paying job, who's "scoopin up dog shit from my uncle's lawn" just to keep the Internet on and pay the rent; who 's starting to see how someone could be desperate enough to "shoplift cheese or snatch some old lady's purse," proclaiming "When the dogshit is piled high/ It blocks out the sky/ 'Til your blues turn brown/ And the world slows down." Resigned to the plight of the young adult in the lack-of-opportunity free-fall that is today's America, he confesses "I hear the slamming of those doors I'll never knock upon." The irony of this song is that it is set to a catchy southern rock bar room sing-a-long, and if one doesn't over-think the lyrics much, it tricks the listener into thinking he should raise a glass in celebration.
From there is the inevitable shout-out to the Occupy Wall Street movement in the song "Hey Everybody!" a fast, upbeat dance tune that, according to Corbett Redford, is "an anthem for the beaten, weary and cheated," a call to arms for people to break out of their prison cells and fly, that the 99% are "birds of one big flock." Redford is a bit of a bird enthusiast and has a flock of his own in the form of eighteen pet birds, relating them to a metaphor for freedom. This song was written in memory of one pet bird that died at the time the Occupy Wall Street movement began.
In a hardcore nod to punk rock, their most recent song release "Bone Dagger" speaks of a man who finds a dagger with a bone sticking straight up in the sand and is inspired to go on a quest to slay dragons and "make a big ass mess" for no other reason than because he can. Pre-orders for "Bone Dagger" can be made here.
The anticipated release date for the upcoming album Trainwreck To Narnia is Nov. 13. In the meantime, check out additional videos from their 2010 album F for more entertaining truths amid the laughs:
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