Friday, February 25, 2011


Rock and roll is full of weirdos, which, of course, is pretty much the beauty of the whole thing. First of all, would you buy a record made by a non-weird person like Jim Nantz or Eric Staal or John Tesh? The answer is not just no, it's heck no! I was thinking about including Wolf Blitzer in that list, but when you think about it, he seems right weird. I hope he makes an album.

One of the most genuinely weird bands I ever heard was the great Killdozer. To begin with, they're from Madison, Wisconsin. They came along at a time when punk music was loud and fast and anarchic, and created music that was loud and slow and, well, bolshevik. Or maybe you could call it 'extreme working class'. Or maybe, when you think about it, you could conclude they were just messing around when they called their albums things like "Intellectuals are the Shoeshine Boys of the Ruling Elite" and "Uncompromising War on Art Under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat"(on which bassist/singer Michael Gerald is identified as Michael "Che" Gerald. After all, they populated these albums with songs like "Knuckles the Dog (Who Helps People)", "Earl Scheib" and "King of Sex." And although there was a sort of earnestness on the records, it wasn't an ideological earnestness. It was more the earnestness of a guy who walks around the neighborhood for 2 hours looking for a big pile of dogcrap to put in a bag and light on fire on your front porch. It really didn't take much thinking to get the joke.

I first heard Killdozer on Chicago/Evanston's WNUR in '88. They played a couple of songs, including their cover of Jessi Colter's "I'm Not Lisa". That song was on the EP released that year called "Burl", not-so-famously "dedicated to the memory" of Burl Ives (who dutifully passed 7 years later). Here are a couple of great concert vids from "Burl"-era Killdozer, which includes the opener, "Hottentot".

Killdozer loved doing covers. They covered "Cinnamon Girl". They covered "When the Levee Breaks". They covered Creedence and ZZ Top. My two faves, though, are the aforementioned Ms. Colter tune and the late-lamented Black Oak Arkansas classic "Hot 'n Nasty". I'm sure Jim Dandy would have been proud (not that he's dead or anything).

Oh well, I couldn't find "Hot 'n Nasty", so this'll have to do. This is a pretty recent performance, confirming that their "farewell tour", 1996's "Fuck You We Quit" tour, was pretty much a joke too.

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