Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Headline Ripped from the Archives of Bobby and the Chuxx

The AP reports that police nabbed a man with frozen shrimp in his pants. I know. Times are tough. Perhaps the fellow was just trying to feed his family and friends at an olde fashioned shrimp boil.

The incident fits perfectly with one of the earliest hits of Bobby and the Chuxx ever recorded. The song was "Don't Hit Me, I'm Full of Shrimp" from the early 1990s. (Free download!)

The title came from the side of a seafood truck Jon Niccum and I saw on I-435. Apparently people kept ramming into their trucks before they painted this on their vehicles. I can hear the safety manager speaking at an "All-Hands" meeting.

"Okay people, listen up. Accidents are up in the workplace here at Luverne's Seafood Delites. Last month alone we had three injured backs, a slipped disc, and one split skull. Most of these came on the loading dock, where shrimp sometimes fall out of their containers and make for a dangerous footing. But there's a bright spot. Highway fatalities are down 8%, thanks to Jenkins's idea of putting that clever saying on the side of our panel trucks. Way to go, Jenkins. You get one more personal day next month. Now be careful out there!"

Hat tip: Rick Tamblyn

Monday, August 18, 2008

Behind the Scenes

One of the draws of a blog like this (this blog has draws?) is getting a behind-the-scenes look at what a band does. You've seen the posts describing how we write songs, and what we're recording.

But what about promotion? The Chuxx are on myspace, facebook (somewhere), and Last.fm. I have just added us to iLike, which is a facebook add on, but also a site in its own right. You can make your self a fan of Bobby and the Chuxx, and then I get notifications in aggregate form. For instance, here is our first graph of statistics:

So indicate you iLike us and become a fan on myspace. We clearly need some numbers.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Revare Family Ghostly Children Screamers

Today Jon and I got together to record some vocals, clean up the drums, add even more guitar parts (which now number 6), and do some rough mixing of "Shower Power." Jon's daughter, an avid Chuxx fan, always said she wanted to appear on a Chuxx song. When the time came, she proved too shy. My children, however, sang, "Water water everywhere, to cover up your STINK." They sang it so intensely it sounds a little like they are angry. It was because of their performance that Skap named them "The Revare Family Ghostly Children Screamers."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Shower Sessions, Day 2

Today, Jon went back to work and Skap and I continued working. We first recorded some vocals for "Shower Power!' The idea is to have a group of people (including children) singing on this song. Skap's part was a character voice, the main adult voice singing the song. He did some excellent verbal gymnastics with the meter. This one will be funny-haha.

We also began work on "The Tourist Halts." Skap did some fancy acoustic geetar strummin' and piano playing. He also sang a scratch tracks. This song has some great lyrics.

Skap broke out the Uke for a "Ole Dry Rub". We used a pickup to get the right sound for the ukelele, but we also used live mics pointed right at it. It sounds great. He laid down keyboards and a scratch vocal track. Drums are nothing but a click track at this point. The idea of the song is to make it sound like a cheap burlesque band. I think we can pull that off.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Shower Power!

Skap was in town for our 25th High School Reunion, so he stopped by today. Jon took the day off of work and he came by as well. We began work on Shower Power, recording the scratch guitar track, some keyboard tracks, and horn tracks. These are virtual horns, though there's chatter out there about using some real horns. We will see.

It is turning out very nicely and we hope to have a demo for people to listen to really soon.

Power Up!

Today the Chuxx (or rather 75% of the band) will gather to record. The new album is taking shape, and promises to be even stupider than we could have wished.

Today's goal: Shower Power!

There will also be a session tomorrow, so scrub your junk, and get ready for some hygiene!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Shower Power!

I got this idea for a song that I envisioned as being from a series of “hip” commercial spots that ran during the “ABC After School Special” aimed at promoting teen cleanliness in the 1970s.

Musically, I took inspiration from this British band called The Go! Team, and in particular this tune: http://youtube.com/watch?v=p_LoSqyNmeo

Overmodulated drums and horn parts. Teen chanting. Very bombastic and aggressive.

So I ran the idea by Steve, and we concocted these lyrics. (The music is composed as well.):

Shower Power!
By Bobby Wendalo and Schwa

Shower power
Shower power
Everybody in the shower. Right now!

So you've spent a hot day with friends at the arcade
And you've biked to the dime store for a lemonade
Then you wrestled that kid who's in the seventh grade
You're probably sweaty
Don't try to figh it

You reapplied deodorant by spraying 'neath your shirt
Washed your face with Phisoderm to get off all the dirt
Tried Dad's Aqua Velva, applied in one long squirt
Still you don't smell ready
You need to right it

You've graduated from a bath
Get on the adult path

Shower power
Shower power
Everybody in the shower. Let's go!

Put on your birthday suit and step under the spout
Grab a bar of Lifebuoy and rip that sucker out
Lather up your goodies without a whine or pout

You've graduated from a bath
Don't suffer your parents' wrath

Shower power
Shower power
Everybody in the shower. On the count of three!

Water, water everywhere to cover up your stink.

Shower power
You're an adult now, kid
Shower power
Wet is cool
Shower power

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Googling Chuxx

Sure, I have a job and all. But it is still important to spend quality time Googling "Chuxx."

I was saddened to find that the German band ChuxX appears to have taken down there MySpace page. Did they go out of biz? Who knows?

Also, in case any of our fans was hoping to get chuxx@yahoo.com for their e-maiul address, it is taken.

But in the spirit of international cooperation among Bobby and the Chuxx fans, can anyone help Engr.Chibuzo find out who the current senators from Akwa Ibon state are?

Here is the request in full.

Author: Engr.Chibuzo Email: chuxx@yahoo.com Date: 8/20/2007 Comment: can you give me the names of the current 2007 Senators from Akwa Ibom state.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Someone Should Write It

It might be me, but then again, it might not be.

That is: a new song called, "Secret Bra."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Update on "(Catch) The Spirit (of 17)"

This song was conceived as part of "What You're Watching," a sketch comedy show we put together back in 2000. There are a couple of funny promotional parodies on there for a fictional station, KSUP, Super17. My idea was to parody those silly songs TV stations used to do with the anchors walking around town and pretending that they hang out with each other all the time. I envisioned a male voice doing the vocals, kind of like the guy who does those Bud Light "Real Men of Genius" commercials. Soon after I wrote the lyrics (here's an earlier post on the song), I found out my friend Richard Malmos was coming to town for his bi-annual float trip. He's a big-time L.A. voiceover guy. While he is away from L.A., he still does his sessions in a studio and they patch him through to his stations with a fancy phone line.

So I sent him the a scratch version of the song with sample vocals (a hilarious performance by Skap). So Rick has his daily session down at Wheeler Audio, a really nice post-production audio facility here in the Crossroads district of Kansas City.

So I go down there, and Janet Jameson is engineering the session. Janet is a very talented engineer and musician, so it was quite an honor to have her helping us out. Rick finished up his session (there was a lot of "Tomorrow night at 8!" type of a thing, and some fun movie stuff) and then he went in the booth and we got going.

The performance is absolutely hilarious. As he's doing his thing, Janet says, "He's channeling Neil Diamond!"

It turned out funnier than I imagined. Rick did an outstanding job and I'm anxious to get the rest of the music done.

Postscript: Skap and I had tossed around some ideas for what the vocalist should do at the end of the song, and we came up with some riffs on "he's infected, we're infected, she's infected." It has a couple of meanings, mainly that the song itself is obnoxiously infectious. And it really gives the song an ominous tone when you say something like "Now YOU'RE infected, baby!"

Monday, May 19, 2008

On This Day, A Cheese Jesus Is Born

Steve and I got together today to record the basic tracks for "Cheese Jesus", another song that had its genesis on the emails. A quick recap here:
  • April 23: Steve sends me a 5-point email, the fifth point of which is just the phrase, "I like cheese." It is a reference to an odd sketch we once shot for our cable access comedy show, in which a weird old man (played by Skap, if memory serves) bugs a nice gentleman (played by our friend Stu) in a train station (I think) by simply asking him, "You like cheese, boy? I like cheese." This is my recollection of it, inaccurate as it may be.
  • April 24: I answer Steve's 5-point email with a 7-point email, addressing each of his questions or statements in order. In response to "I like cheese," I write, "Of course you like cheese. Jesus!" Point 6 is then "Of course you like Cheese Jesus." And Point 7: "Please write Cheese Jesus. The lyrics cannot exceed 75 words."
  • April 25: Steve sends along the lyrics to "Cheese Jesus", totaling 67 words.
  • May 6: I tell Steve that I woke up with the music to "Cheese Jesus" in my head. I also write (while in the shower) an additional stanza, to give the song a nice two-stanzas-then-chorus-then-two-stanzas-then-chorus structure. My additional stanza jacks the word count to 86, but, as I say in the email, "if you only count Cheese Jesus once, the word count is 74."

So Steve and I got together for a quick three-hour session to lay down the song's basics: a simple drum track, a simple keyboard track and about five vocal tracks. When I came up with the music (on May 6), I had imagined the song as an a capella tune. But in the intervening days, I moved away from that idea, wisely I think. We might end up calling the song "Cheesus," if we find that funnier.

It was at the end of this session that Steve tallied up the Mustardy songs in the works on his computer, informing me that we now have 14 songs in various stages of disrepair. If we are organized about it, I feel confident we can have another album by this time next year. Maybe even sooner. But probably not sooner. We're lazy like that.

UPDATE: (re: word count) I forgot that I added two words to the lyrics. And upon recounting, it appears that the lyrics hit the target of 75 exactly, provided you only count the chorus once and the phrase "cheese Jesus" once.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Dancing Children

Last night I was having a few beers with a couple of friends, and once again learned that "Mr. Poorluck Buys Some China" has a strange effect on children. My friend, Dale, urged me to market the CD to "soccer moms everywhere," because his two kids (6 and 4 I think) were crazy in love with Bobby and the Chuxx. He said it was the best way to keep them entertained in the car. High praise when there is a DVD option involved.

He couldn't remember many specifics, but once again "Frank Has No Pants" was identified as a particular favorite of young children. I am not sure there is good reason to be proud of that, but for my part I am quite proud. And I think having the whole family sit down and listen to the Chuxx might be a great way for parents to open up that difficult conversation about whether children should or should not talk to strange men who are naked from the waist down. It is just so hard to decide who children should trust.

Parents could also hold family meetings to listen to "Herr Germy," and discuss the importance of vigorous hand washing before supper. Other important lessons regarding picnicing with fat men, real estate, preparation of pork chops, due diligence in bartering with Arabs, how to pick up Asian chicks, and the history of human waste disposal can all be illustrated by listening to Bobby and the Chuxx as a family.

So let us reconsider our sales strategy, and begin to aggressively market the Chuxx to children. Let us not permit the tobacco companies to corner that market.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Next Chuxx Album Proposal

Bobby and the Chuxx Presents
Family Choice Brand Popular Music Album
Featuring your family’s favorite music selections.
1. Song.
2. Sad Song.
3. “Rock – ‘n’ – Roll” ‘Song.’
4. Funny Song.
5. Kids’ Favorite Song.
6. Stupid Emo-Sounding Song.
7. Neil Diamond Cover.
8. Neil Diamond Rip-Off.
9. Dad’s Hooker (is Mom).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nebraska, Alaska

A quick Google search reveals the location of the real KSUP Steve wrote about in the last post. There is a KSUP, but it's not in the continental United States. Also, it is not a TV station.

KSUP is Juneau, Alaska's "maximum music" station, Mix 106. Less than a year ago, it changed from a rock format (when it was "maximum rock" appropriately) to the Adult Top 40 station it is today.

It is unclear whether they have a "girl in sports." But they do have The Morning Brew with Mike Lane and Rockin' Ron Davis. After that, there's not much info to add. Their website is very sad and seems as if it was designed in 1995.

Monday, April 14, 2008

(Catch) The Spirit (of 17)

Skap and I worked on music for some lyrics I wrote. for a parody of a 1980s television station jingle. It's called "(Catch) The Spirit (of 17)" and is for the fictional KSUP, South Central Nebraska's Super 17.

(Catch) The Spirit (of 17)
For KSUP, Super17
By Schwa

There’s a certain kind of feeling
You get when you turn us on
It’s a fresh, familiar reeling
And you know it can’t be wrong

Catch the spirit!

We’ve an integrated anchor team
Bringing you the news
But we’re American as ice cream
As comfy as comfy shoes

Catch the spirit
You know you gotta
Catch the spirit

Not just stories of people who died
We’re more than glum reports
Come and see our fun side
We even got a girl in sports

(Girl in Sports Bridge)

Cast aside your doubts ol’ bean
Forget about being unsure
You’re infected with the Spirit of Seventeen
For which there is no cure

Catch the spirit
You know you gotta
Catch the spirit
The Spirit of Seventeen

Catch the spirit
You better
Catch the spirit
The Spirit of Seventeen

Copyright 2008, SchwaSongs

The music is typically schmaltzy and somewhat pat, until you get to the Girl in Sports Bridge, which is in 5/4 time. It's designed to break up the standard feel to the song, and Skap added a little vocal call that makes it absolutely hilarious. Can't wait for Jeff and Jon to add their parts. Should be fun.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Russell's Private Headquarters

Skap and I got together yesterday to record a couple of things. We laid out the basic keyboard track for "(Catch the Spirit) The Spirit (of 17)," which I will discuss in a separate post.

While working on that song, Skap remarked on a picture I had on my Mac's desktop. It was of my son inside a little ring of sand on the beach in Sand Diego. I explained that it was Russell's Private Headquarters, something my daughter thought up and made for her brother to sit in. Skap thought that might make a great Chuxx song title. I agreed, and we discussed it a little bit at lunch. Our initial ideas are about a spy who get irritated because every time he returns home from a mission, the milk has spoiled, the made cleaned up his desk, and the gun rack is dusty.

We finished the basic tracks for "(Catch the Spirit) The Spirit (of 17)," and what happened next will tell you a lot about the Chuxx. We were about to mess around with adding a keyboard part to one of the other songs that will be on the next album. I selected a sound on the Mac for Skap, an emulation of a Rhodes Suitcase Mark II. He began playing a Ray Charles-y riff. I added a drum loop and we decided we had the beginnings of "Russell's Private Headquarters." I'll keep you posted as the song develops.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How We Write Songs, Pt. 3

Thos e. has posted two cogent analyses of how Chuxx songs get written.

Today we follow "Chuxx R&D" in real time (almost).

While we discussed via e-mail what "The Tourist Halts" will ultimately look, sound, and smell like Thos sent this notice, which you would understand if you had about thirty years of background context on Chuxxian Sociology.

"Also, I think YOU can post this on the Chuxxblog. Quit crying your eyes out, drinking your gin out of a jelly jar in the dark in your underwear and DO SOMETHING!!!!"

Which quickly yielded a quatrain of some brilliance from the same source:

You got gin in my peanut butter!
You got peanut butter in my gin!
Two great tastes in one candy bar!
New Reese's Gin Butter Cups!

Stay tuned to see where this goes, if anywhere....


Monday, March 10, 2008

How We Write Songs, Pt. 2

While "surfing" these "Internets", I frequently stop at a hilarious site called Engrish.com. And during a recent stop, I came across this image:

And based solely on the phrase "The Tourist Halts", I wrote these lyrics:

--thos e

The tourist halts
Stops in the rain
He stares at nothing, frozen in his place
The tourist wonders
If that was all there is
To the Vatican

The tourist halts
Stares at the face
The smiling face everyone makes such a fuss about
The tourist ponders
Just what the deal might be
About this Lisa chick

Back home
In Atchison, Kansas
Living rooms are carpeted in shags
And back home
In Geronimo, Texas
Mailboxes are painted like flags

The tourist halts
And shakes his head
It seems he got off the bus for a bunch of nothing
The tourist frowns
And looks with disdain
At a stupid pile of rocks

Back home
In Stockton, California
Beer hats are sold in all shops
And back home
In Absecon, New Jersey
Squirrels are dressed up like cops

The tourist halts
Stays in his room
Pretends he’s already gone down to join the group
The tourist sighs
And counts the colored paper
Stuffed into his wallet

© 10 March 2008 Those Chuxx Songs (ASCAB)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Get Me Zamenhof!

So there's this site called MyHeritage.com, which has on it this really cool tool. All you do is scan in a picture of yourself and it will analyze your face and tell you who you look like. I won't go into detail about who it said I look like (let's just say if Burt Reynolds and Dakota Fanning had a baby, it might look a little like me), but I would like to share that site's thoughts on our Mr. Poorluck.

What I find funniest is not that Poorluck looks 50% like Halle Berry or 49% like Grace Jones. It's that this program thinks Poorluck only looks 50% like famous economist John Maynard Keynes, who (at least in the photo they provide) appears to look EXACTLY like Poorluck. Even down to the hat. But he's only at 50%, where Billy Idol, who isn't wearing a hat, is at 63%, just edging out Constantine I of Greece, who at least has a mustache.

Poor Ann Kok, whoever she is, to be thrown into this motley crew. Oh, and Zamenhof? Who might he be? Why, he invented Esperanto, the 19th Century's favorite make-believe language!