Thursday, January 03, 2008
I've always had eclectic tastes in music. Well, I call it eclectic, others have said that I like weird shit.
In my earliest memories of enjoying songs, I was drawn to novelty tunes. But that's not really much of a novelty unto itself...many, or even most kids like funny songs. It's just that I never stopped. This and that appealed to me, but when I first heard the music of the messiah of Gibson guitars, Frank Zappa, it was a revelation. If my memory serves, the album was Burnt Weeny Sandwich and I thought it was great.
I became the biggest Frank Zappa fan in town. I owned every damned one of them and I listened to them obsessively. I can feel the blush of embarrassment come up as I confess that I even had the long black hair, mustache and signature goatee that Frank had. Thankfully, that was a brief period.
Other bizarre acts became instant favorites when I heard them. The Bonzo Dog Band were and will always continue to be favorites of mine. When "Weird Al" Yankovic hit the scene, I was immediately enraptured.
I've always looked for new oddities to add to my list of whacked-out favorites. One great place to hear off-the-beaten-track stuff is the No Pigeonholes radio show, hosted by Don Campau. Don plays home recorded, underground music of all styles and genres and lots of it is humorous and decidedly offbeat.
One day, a few years ago, I heard a song on No Pigeonholes that really caught my ears. It was called The Pincushion Man and it sounded like it came from one of those cool old black and white cartoons. The artist was identified as The Rudy Schwartz Project. Intrigued, I did a quick Internet search and located the website of The Rudy Schwartz Project. I decided to order one of the CDs that were offered for sale and I simply chose the first one listed, which was called Bowling For Appliances.
It quickly arrived and I wasted no time in getting into my stereo. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I was shocked at what came out of my speakers that day. Bowling For Appliances is strange, funny, outrageous and slightly unnerving.
I liked Bowling for Appliances and if I was satisfied by it, then I was utterly blown away by the next one I ordered. Don't Get Charred....Get Puffy! is widely considered the finest release by The Rudy Schwartz Project and it is an astonishing piece of music. There is the obvious influence of Frank Zappa in it (and all of Rudy's music), but it is far from any sort of slavering imitation. Rudy Schwartz has his own warped mindset and his own political agenda.
There was no turning back after hearing Don't Get Charred...Get Puffy. I was thoroughly corrupted and I had no choice but to buy all of the other music. I've been a huge fan ever since. In fact, after numerous listens and continuing to be astonished by the music, I was forced to come to the conclusion that The Rudy Schwartz Project was my very favorite musical act. And, like with any other music I liked, I forced it upon everyone I know. Some were frightened off. Others were interested, but still intimidated. Others still saw what I saw in the songs and have become fans.
But what kind of music does The Rudy Schwartz Project play? Uh, that's like asking what kind of music that Zappa played, or Weird Al Yankovic or The Bonzo Dog Band. Like many of my favorite bands, The Rudy Schwartz Project is fiercely eclectic. You can't pigeonhole the music into one single genre, though the songs touch on most styles.
I don't know what kind of music you like. But if you are offended by what society considers to be obscene language, The Rudy Schwartz Project is not for you. If you are the kind that will be insulted by irreverent religious satire, you need to look elsewhere. If you like music that is easily definable and sits comfortably in a category in a record store, uh uh. But if you like complex arrangements and performances, laugh-out-loud humor and pointed criticisms of the bullshit in society, The Rudy Schwartz Project just might be your cup of poison.
So imagine my surprise when Rudy Schwartz contacted me and said that he liked Horror Drive-In and wished to write movie reviews for the site. I was stunned and extremely flattered and I gratefully agreed. He'll be doing reviews of mostly rare horror and SF movies and as I indicated before, he's a very funny man. Check out his reviews and I think you'll agree.
The first one is up here and there will (hopefully) be many more to follow.