Heya pallys! I've been at County Hospital for about three weeks now on account of my Rectal-Cortez. It's worse than I thought. Hard to believe that this place is more hellish than the Home where I'm usually stationed. All they feed me here are peanut butter & honey sandwich squares with Grits for breakfast, cold spaghetti for lunch, and some weird meatloaf substitute for dinner that smells like The Missing Link's anus. Talk about cliche old people food, Jesus Mary & Joseph. I would blow this pop stand if I could, but I'm afraid that in my weakened condition I could take a nasty spill down the stairs and subject myself to further radio silence. Luckily I talked the widow Pendergrast into bringing me her laptop computer. Now I have a way to make contact with you Hippies. I feel like the nurses are spying on me. I refuse to be lobotomized like McMurphy.
So I have a roommate in this hell. His name is Harold. Harold has failing kidneys. Harold also farts in his sleep constantly. He literally never stops farting once his R.E.M. cycle starts. His FlaRny kidneys may or may not have something to do with this, so I ignore the urge to slip a pillow over his dumb face and press down with all my might. What can I say? I'm a nice guy. I'll give Harold one thing though. The guy's got good DNA (not counting the flatulence gene). Every morning his dizzy little twenty-four year old granddame brings him breakfast. She's quite a beauty. She never misses a morning, and neither do I. I mean, she wears pig-tails for FLaRnsake. The only thing keeping me from recruiting her to aide in my escape is the fact that she's always sporting a faded 1974 WINGS World Tour Tee. I'm not exaggerating when I say that she wears that goddamn thing every goddamn day, which makes me wonder if she smells like her Grandfathers tuckus. This saddens me because for the most part she seems quite clean and smooth. Who the hell wears a Wings shirt anyway? Let's be real, you're making two subliminal yet completely obvious statements with a shirt like that. You're stating that you:
A) actually enjoy McCartney's post-Fab-Four output (punishable by death)
2) own a Beatles shirt but never wear it in public for fear of being stripped of your zygote hipster status so you settle on the less-popular-less-talented-secondary band to impress people who don't know any better (punishable by rapey death).
I must say this now and I will not repeat it so listen up. NEVER WEAR A GODDAMN WINGS SHIRT! DO YA HEAR ME??? This crime cannot be overlooked, so of cours, I do what any warm-blooded American would do in this situation; I pretend to be asleep while still gawking through flitted eyelids whenever she shows up to shovel lukewarm applesauce into her Grandpa's FlaRny Farty Face!!
I'm going stir-crazy.
I got up at 2am to go urinate and as I walked back to my room an hour and a half later (it takes my prostate time to wake up) and I hear the nurses mumbling something about needing to clear me out because they need my bed. Or at least I thought that's what I heard. Who knows really. It was 2am and I can barely hear as it is. Plus it's not like I'm fighting to stay at this FlaRn Feast! I got shit to do. As soon as my Rectal-Cortez heals, I'll be on my way. But I'll be damned if I'm gonna be rushed out the door like some goddamn Red Chinese.
For some reason they changed the dinner menu tonight. I'm nervous. Why do I have a big slab of prime rib slathered w/gravy sitting in front of me while Ol' Harold over there still has the same stale meat-log? And why is the prettiest nurse sitting at my bedside trying to feed me? Something's not right here.
Ah, what the hell. I never get to eat prime rib at The Home. One little bite won't hurt.
Where the hell am I? One minute I'm chomping on steak in a lumpy hospital bed, the next I'm stuffed inside a shopping cart on skid row with an I.V. needle sticking out of my arm. Oh well, at least they had the decency to dress me in my street clothes.
I smell pee.
What luck! An olfactory putrescence plus the faint sound of an accordion led me down an alley and right into The Smell. It's not just a clever name. It reminds me of the Home. I've heard many a tale about this venue and this is my first time gracing its structural visage with my greatness. Walking through the door I notice a dame playing an accordion. I guess she calls herself Blood Orange. Word on the street is that she used to play with local FLaRNsteaders, Moses Campbell, but now she lives in Portland. From the first few songs I can easily say that I don't care. Not because the poor little dear isn't worth my time, but I wasn't really paying much attention. I was pacing around the perimeter, trying to figure out the sneakiest way to drink sips from my hip flask. What kind of all-ages venue doesn't allow alcohol or hard drugs? America, you shame yourself. Anyway, Blood Orange. Meh. If you're gonna go solo with an accordion, you better be as amusing as this guy. And if you're not, well then you better be pushing an accordion/burlesque shtick rife with boobs and feather boas and lap dances for this ol' so & so! Ya hear that, Blood Orange? The "blood" in your name is misleading! I was hoping for a gang fight.
Speaking of gangs, the next act coming up is one that I've been DYING to see. Pun intended. Le Cos is new to the scene and guess who happens to be a member??? HAH!! I have to see this.
So about two songs in, I can safely say that Lordy's new band are a bunch of degenerate sissy-nannies pretending they're tough by playing dress-up in FLaRNyard animal masks and singing about killing. Now while I agree that most of the vermin on this planet deserve to be murdalized, I say you don't earn the right to sing songs about it until you've felt the last breath leave the neck of a Red Chinese soldier on the beaches of Inchon. And that's the truth!! I am now throwing bottle caps dipped in glass at Lordy's stupid masked head. And what the hell kind of an animal is he supposed to be anyway. From what I can gather, it looks like a cow with enlarged testicles instead of utters hanging from its chin. These background singers have gotta go. They're made up of two dames and a crum-bum on one side of the singer, and then Lordy and some other dame on the other. The dame next to Lordy is dressed as Foofa from Yo Gabba Gabba. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. I'm not sure why.
Geisssssssss is up next. He's working a guitar and some sort of computer rig into his performance, so it's not just him and his ipod anymore. Expansion is always welcome. I'll hand it to the kid, he knows how to keep a crowd interested...what with his mincing around and gyrating. He's playing a bunch of songs I don't really recognize, but also "Jeremy" and a couple other songs from his solo album, Princess. He's closing with "The Lonesome Part," by request. I tip my hat, take a swig and approach the kid when he clears the stage.
X: (nudging Geissss' shoulder)
GG: Um, hi.
GG: My name's Geof. I'm not sure we've--
GG: --No way!
GG: Well if it isn't Mister Hater himself, finally in the flesh. I thought this day would never come.
X: Yeah, yeah...enough with the melodramatic introductions. I'm here to tell you that, compared to Harold Arlen, your show stank!
GG: Well how could I ever live up to an Icon of such magnitude?
X: Good answer. Ya see that? That's respect! That's why I don't hate you as much as I do the rest.
GG: Thank you
X: I still hate you though.
GG: I'm flattered.
X: You're welcome.
GG: Well what can I do for you, Haterus?
X: I heard the news about your Pizza!
GG: Ah yes.
X: Would you be into a quick guerrilla-style interview?
GG: Why not!?
X: Ok. So lets go straight to it. What the FLaRN happened? Pizza! disbanded? You guys were sitting on an album this whole time, and then when you finally get around to releasing it, you do so after breaking up?
GG: It happens.
X: When did you finish the album?
GG: We actually finished it a while ago. We recorded the parts in 2009 and 2010, and had it mixed by Dan Long in late 2010. In the meantime, we stopped doing the day-to-day things that bands need to do to stay vital -- we weren't rehearsing regularly or writing new songs, and I think that all of us started getting tired of playing the same material when we did occasionally play live. We should have written a whole new album in that time, but we didn't.
X: A bunch of slackers!
GG: It wasn't for a lack of trying. We planned to reconstitute in 2011, write some new material, and then release the record once we'd gotten back into the swing of things. We made a little bit of headway on that, and we came up with some cool ideas that would've been awesome had they been realized. But nothing got finished, and the sessions kept getting further and further apart, and I think that each one of us individually came to the conclusion that we just weren't a band anymore. So when we did finally have the conversation, no one was really devastated or surprised.
X: I'm devastated.
GG: Aw...are you?
X: Of course. That's a well of hate material that just dried up in the blink of an eye.
X: So it was just a matter of what then? Why not write a bunch of songs and bring it to the group.
GG: Pizza! was a completely collaborative effort. No one wrote full songs and brought them to Pizza! - we all tossed ideas into the pot and then saw how they developed in the group setting.
X: Bunch of communists.
GG: I love that way of creating, and I think that we made a lot of unique music as a result of the process. It worked really well when we all lived together between 2005 and 2007, but then we stopped living together and the process got slower. We had to schedule time to be in the same place as each other; we couldn't just sit on the porch playing a riff on acoustic guitar and expect someone else to pop out and join in.
X: You all lived in the same house?
X: How droll.
GG: It had its advantages, but once that changed, our songwriting eventually just ground to a halt. I can't speak for anyone else, but I felt stifled. We talked a bit about changing the process a bit.
X: If it's broke, why fix it....is what I always say.
GG: Words to live by, I'm sure.
X: What about your other bands? Was the process that much different?
GG: In Big Whup, Drew and I would write songs on our own and then we'd develop arrangements as a band. We talked about doing that in Pizza!, but it never really materialized. In the moment, it frustrated me that we couldn't do that. In hindsight, I realize that the essence of Pizza! was that we didn't write songs that way. But we weren't writing songs our way either.
X: So now you hate each other, right?
GG: No, no. It was an amicable split.
X: So then its out of the question to expect some trash talking?
GG: Most likely.
X: Well, you're no fun. So do you feel like the band was just D.O.A. in every area? You seemed to have a nice buzz there for a while amongst the zygote hippie contingent.
GG: We weren't really getting any attention.
X: If attention is the main reason for a band to stay together, then 90% of you bastards are wasting your time.
GG: It's not the main reason, but it helps. We had a bit of momentum a few years ago, after we released our first record. But it took us too long to come up with another one. We paired with Manimal Vinyl, but eventually they lost interest. And I can't really blame them -- we kept them waiting for a while. Maybe one of the reasons that we broke up was because we really didn't have any wind at our sails -- we felt like we were starting from scratch.
X: Getting buzz off of your first release is rare in itself. At least you had that.
GG: That, we did.
X: What the FLaRN are you kids gonna do now?
GG: I don't know anybody's plans, but I can tell you what folks are doing.
GG: Duncan just finished scoring his first feature film, "The Most Fun I've Ever Had with my Pants On," written and directed by Drew Denny.
GG: Alex is playing in Fol Chen.
X: Goddamn Chinese.
GG: Tyler is working hard on his debut solo album, for which we all recently sang background vocals.
X: Stupid Tyler.
GG: Why stupid Tyler?
X: I have a reputation to uphold. You understand.
GG: Right. Last but not least, Rand is at USC, pursuing a PhD in Robotics.
X: Robots, eh? Sounds like u bunch of newfangled BullFLaRn to me. And what about you? Obviously you're keeping busy.
GG: Well, I joined my favorite local band, So Many Wizards, on bass guitar. We're releasing our debut album June 15 via Jaxart.
X: Well looky there. Jax is actually putting something of substance out again. Good for her.
GG: She's a sweetheart.
X: I proposed to her via email and she never responded.
GG: I'm sure it had nothing to do with you.
X: I know this. We woulda made great music together. And by music I mean copulation.
X: So is that it? You're just handling bass duties for So FLaRNy Wiznards?
GG: I'm also working on a new solo album, which is shaping up to be quite good.
X: Another solo album, eh?
X: So it looks like you really made out in the wake of this devastating breakup.
GG: I'm doing okay.
X: What are the possibilities of a reunion in 2022?
GG: Anything's possible.
X: Be still my anticipation.
GG: You look bothered.
X: I hate this place.
X: Is it hot in here? Would you help me take my jacket off?
GG: Sure thing
X: Good man.
GG: Um, Haterus. Why do you have an IV?
X: The IV at the end of my name stands for "the fourth," son....thought you woulda figured that out by now.
GG: No not that. You have an IV needle taped into your arm.
X: Oh that. Long story, kid. Want some hooch?
GG: I'll pass, but thanks. You gonna watch the next band?
X: Traps PS? Yes. But first I'm gonna go to the alley and get some fresh air.
GG: You might miss them.
X: They're still on their second song. I have time
So the damn Traps PS band only played for fifteen minutes. What the FLaRn is that about? Damn hipster jagoffs think I'm made of money? I did get to catch the end of their set though. Everyone was getting rowdy and moshy. I considered entering with my cane and swinging for the fences, but that would just be bad form. I'm a gentleman. I’m also wise enough to know I need to take my time and not overdo it. I am fresh out of the convalescent pokey, ya know? Time to sit back, drink my hooch flask, and enjoy the scuttle sound of all you hippie scum!! Yessir, its good to be back.
I still smell pee.