So the story goes like this: When frontmen Dan Abbott and Corbett Redford of Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits were on tour, they stayed over at a host house where a drunk, stoned-out hippy literally walked into a closet and got lost looking for the exit, ripping clothes off the hangers and panicking about the endless walls; thus giving birth to the album title and the first track "After the Armadillo" on Bobby Joe Ebola's latest record release Trainwreck to Narnia, an album so bold and polished, it's time to say Bobby Joe Ebola have truly come into their own, successfully capturing their trademark ability to find the humor, truth and irony in every given situation.
"He was a human trainwreck," Abbott said when describing the incident and how the metaphor and verbatim account evolved into a song and eventually an album, setting the stage for the trainwreck America is spiraling towards and the fantasyland ideal we're all desperately trying to get to. He goes on to say it's "something so terrible, you can't really watch, but you can't look away," adding "There's something magical and fantastic, but at the same time terribly real and depressing" in it.
Speaking of real and depressing, the second track titled "Vanilla American" is the whitest white song I've ever heard, about really white, white people. You know, the June and Ward Cleavers of the world with their white superiority who don't know they're a dying breed, just going through life clinging to their racist rants as "picture perfect plastic people."
Meanwhile, in the ever-changing landscape of the real world amid an economic recession and massive unemployment, the third track "Blues Turn Brown" is a song all of us, no matter the income bracket, can relate to. An upbeat song in the guise of a college bar sing-a-long, you don't realize it's really about how shitty life can get until you're already sucked in. "Blues Turn Brown" is Dan Abbott's moment of clarity, when he was unemployed and desperate for money and realized he made more money as a kid just doing his chores, one of which was "Scooping up dog shit/From my uncle's lawn." In that moment, he fully understood what would make someone "Shoplift cheese" or "snatch some old lady's purse."
Abbott and Redford see "Blues Turn Brown" as a metaphor for their entire adult lives. Abbott went to college and Redford worked in the corporate world, explaining "We tried normal but it doesn't click. It just didn't work," referring to himself as "chronically employed" until he hit his "sixth or seventh mid-life crisis" and threw it all away to, lucky for us, focus on music and other artistic endeavors.
[Official Music Video] "Blues Turn Brown" by Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children Macnuggits
Watching Bobby Joe Ebola perform the fourth track "Cop Kisser" live at their record release party in Oakland, Cali. last Saturday night was to witness a moment of pure rock perfection. A straight-up punk rock mantra, this hardcore, pit-friendly song mocks the Oakland police department's response to the Occupy movement, and its prevalence towards violence when dealing with the protesters. The premise being, what if the protesters were sexually turned on by police brutality and actually liked it? It's a siren song of homoeroticism and masochism that tells the cops "I want to go downtown on you" and feel "the pain of your pepper spray." Yikes and pass the baton.
Speaking of yikes, the fifth track "Biological Imperative" is a sweet little ditty about eating children for dinner as an alternative to the cost of raising them. Describing children as a poor man's riches, an endless supply of food, the song explains "There's so many ways to fulfill your biological imperative,' in furthering one's DNA," declaring, "Dinner time." Another sweet little ditty, the sixth track "My Darling Boo" is a love song about a man who's head-over-heels crazy for a mannequin, committing his heart to whatever it, she, who knows (?), wants.
"Baked Beans & Whiskey," the seventh track on Trainwreck To Narnia is sure to be a favorite sing-a-long in every bar in America. Opening with a harmonica, it sounds like it came right off the timbers of a campfire on skid row. "Give me whiskey or give me death!" is the battle cry for the hopeless masses as more and more Americans resign themselves to the inevitable and commit fully to the out of control train our country finds itself on.
If "Blues Turn Brown" is the upbeat sing-a-long with the depressing message about unemployment and the economy, then the eighth track "Walk In The Crosswalk" is its rebellious wild-child brother railing against lack of access to healthcare and the fact he "can't afford to stay alive." If he survives his latest medical condition, then it's a lucky day. The song warns him to "Walk at the crosswalk/Look both ways/If you get hit/You can't pay."
For anyone who's ever had a 'come to Jesus' experience while high on mushrooms, the ninth track, "Bone Dagger," is the song for you. Inspired by the true story of friends of the band who wandered the hills of the East Bay while high on mushrooms and came across a partially fossilized deer carcass, one of them took a rib bone and threw it into the ground and screamed "Bone Dagger!" and a quest was born. An intense rock song that sounds like it rose up from the gates of hell, the only thing missing in the live performance is Corbett Redford biting the head off a bat and spitting it out at the audience. Craigums, who does vocals and guitar and is also the sound engineer, said it was the most complicated song they put together, and this becomes most apparent on stage, when the entire band blows wide open and the pit devolves into madness.
And that quest leads straight into the tenth track "Censor The Word [cunt]," a fun song that alternates between hardcore punk and a sweet, happy sing-a-long, until you truly listen to the lyrics and realize it's mocking America's overly sensitive fear of the vagina, 'cause, ya know, if we just censor the euphemisms, women will go away, gays will be straight, and the power of 'this man's army' will make everything all right.
Finally voicing the impatience and frustration with the issues addressed in the previous songs, the eleventh track "Hey Everybody!" is the call-to-arms shout-out to the Occupy movement that tells us "we are all birds in one big flock" and it's time to "free the whole cell block," to find our voice and rise up against our oppressors and be free before it's too late and the world becomes the inevitable wasteland presented in the final track "The Last Child Soldier."
On my list of things I want to see happen in 2013, watching Stephen Colbert sing "The Last Child Soldier" on his show with Bobby Joe Ebola is at the top. In the vein of the '80s charity ballads "We Are The World" and "Do They Know It's Christmas?", this song speaks of the post-apocalypse world, free from the human race who have finally done themselves in. It asks the serious questions "If there's nobody to jerk off, will there still be Internet?" and "Who will feed the pets?" as the Earth continues to spin after humans deplete its natural resources needed for survival. It mocks all of humanity as its own charity case in need of intervention and is a fitting end to an album that forces us to think about the consequences of the bad choices of society at large.
Speaking of my list of things I want to happen in 2013, somebody get Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children Macnuggits on Saturday Night Live stat! The world needs a comedic voice of reason that makes us laugh at our own inadequacies.
To get more information about upcoming shows or to purchase Trainwreck To Narnia, visit Rooftop Comedy Productions at rooftopcomedy.com and http://shop.rooftopcomedy.com/album/trainwreck-to-narnia
[Official Music Video] "Bone Dagger" by Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children Macnuggits
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