So, last night I finally got a beautiful presentation of a couple of wonderful projects that I have been meaning to share with you fine readers for quite sometime. It was in a back corner of Portland, Oregon’s beloved Powell’s Books (the one on Hawthorne, for the locals out there) on a delightfully chilly Monday night when two of my favorite players in the world of independent music made their way up from their beloved Bay Area and joined some of their wonderful artist friends to tell a few folks about what they have had up their sleeves in the last year or so. It was a wonderful intimate performance that I am always going to remember as being one of my favorite hours in live music watching history. In fact, I recommend that all shows be acoustic and take place in book stores. But, I digress…..
Corbett Redford and Dan Abbott, better known to many of you as Bobby Joe Ebola & The Children MacNuggits, are no strangers to the Trainwreck’d Society. We’ve covered them various times in the past, and I have been a fan of this wonderful duo, and sometimes full out band, since I was a young lad trying to figure out where all these hairs were coming from as they appeared in my nether regions. Their creativity and ingenuity has always been an undeniable force in the world of indie music. And their amazing DIY attitude and mannerisms that have led them to be what I consider America’s premiere blue collar band are at the very least commendable and worthy of the praise of every creature and low rent music blogger on the face of the earth. Honestly, I could continue on with another 10,000 words on how much I am in absolute man love with these guys, and how grateful I am that they still walk the earth to this day strumming funny little ditties that look at the world in the brightest of light even if the shading is a bit off-putting and stirred with realism that scares the shit out of all of us. Seriously, after twenty years of performing in some aspect or another, this is one of the finest groups to exist in our day and age.
Alright, now that the hypothetical dick sucking is well under way, I am so excited to tell you even more about how fucking fantastic these cats are. As I stated before, balls deep of course, BJE’s creativity is by far one of their finest attributes. Hilarity is often a common centerpiece around their work. But it is always hilarity within reason, the type of funny stuff that makes you think a bit more than you ever would have before. Think John Stewart and Stephen Colbert in a folk/punk duo, but with more fart jokes (if that is possible).
And on their latest efforts, these fine gentlemen have created…..a listen along kid’s book? Well, maybe not exactly. It is billed as a “Horrible Little Listen-Along Book”, and depending on how apt you may be to teaching your kids about the horrors of livelihood, it could be a wonderful “kid’s book”. But, thing is for sure, this wonderful book and accompanying EP, Meal Deal with the Devil, is a delightful bit of comedy intermingled with some hints of perversion and sympathy for the not so righteous. The 5 track EP contains three awesome new unreleased cuts (“Punk, You Let Me Down” definitely has a very strong message, but the Huffington Post already covered that in a far more elegant manner than we ever could. They never claimed to hypothetically blow they band. But, of course they probably would). And when you get to the final two tracks, this is where the fun begins. This is where we enter the Listen Along section, and the wonderfully illustrated and delightfully hilarious tails “Down at the Jamboree” and “The Town With No Beer”. Corbett Redford narrates the whole bit as we follow along to the brilliant pictures and amazingly detailed drawings orchestrated by Portland’s very own Jason Chandler (big dog behind Horrible Comics, and esteemed member of the awesome punk band The Frustrators). The stories are funny, delightful, and just a down right good bit of fun. There are so many great aspects to this fun little book, but I think a passage describing the book in the book itself states it best:
“Meal Deal with the Devil has been expertly designed and crafted to provide many wonderful years of being lost in a closet at your Mom’s house after you move out, and that poor woman has suffered enough already, with all of your crap.”
Well said, if you ask me.
And of course, in BJE’s own well deserved narcissistic manner, releasing a single book and accompanying EP just isn’t enough. No, the band decided that after all of these years, and hundreds of songs written between the two of them, it was time to release to the world, the Bobby Joe Ebola Songbook. 190 pages, continuing over 98 songs spanning the life and times of BJE since the band began (which I would learn was all in an attempt to get laid. And seriously, what other reason is there to start a band?). And in the fashionable duality of man, BJE offsets any negativity of being narcissistic (I see none, though) with a generous and extremely selfless act of not simply releasing a book with a bunch of lyrics and chords and maybe a quick introduction begging you to give them 16 dollars to continue playing music. No, this is another beautiful piece of art. Once again, Jason Chandler joined the team to edit (and release through Microcosm Publishing) as well as dozens of other wonderful illustrators, artists, and manic fools creating some wonderful art to accompany the words. Folks like Petr Sofra, who did a perfect rendition of characters from one of my favorite old school BJE tracks, “Freshman Philsophy”. And the list goes on and on. And further more, there are little tidbits of history and fun facts that are fascinating as well! In fact, there are so many tidbits of information about the band’s hometown of Pinole, California, that I might have decided to take a trip through there some day!
All of this being said, there simply isn’t enough digital space on the inter webs to truly state just how wonderful Bobby Joe Ebola & The Children MacNuggits truly are. The magnetism towards a group like this should be bloody obvious, and with great reason. The band has withstood the tyrannical test of time for such a long time, and have proven that they have the illustrious fortitude to continue rocking on until the dawn’s early light sends them packing on to another plain of existence. What surprises me the most about BJE releasing a sing a long book and songbook at the same time (with efforts that almost drew them lifeless during production), is how surprised I actually WASN’T by these fine folks doing such a thing. If it is innovative and original, Corbett and Dan will fucking go there. If it is delightful and brings joy to others, these guys will go out of their way and slay the dragons of impossibility to make it happen. These are some cats who care about their work and the joy it brings to their fans, the old and and the new. I have never been more serious in my life when I say that Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits is one of the finest acts to exist today.
And on that note, I’m going to need a Kleenex and a toothbrush. Goodnight Everybody!
You can pick up anything BJE related at the band’s awesome WEBSITE. You can also pick up Meal Deal with the Devil and Bobby Joe Ebola Songbook right now from MICROCOSM PUBLISHING.
Also, it would behoove you to support the great Jason Chandler, who was instrumental in making this project happen. Check out his band The Frustrators and definitely check out Horrible Comics, “drawings for immature adults and unsupervised children”.