At one time, for 15 minutes, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum was the world’s only traveling museum of used sports equipment. We had a punching bag, a “speedbag”, mounted over the rear exit door of our bus. Following a late gig in New York, a group of drunken businessmen was asking about our bus and the SGM name on the front. We explained to them that we were traveling with “celebrity” sporting equipment, for instance a speedbag formerly belonging to Sugar Ray Leonard, a famous American boxer.
“All the way from California with this?”, they asked, incredulous.
“Yes, we charge only 25 cents.” They each paid and took turns on the
bag. We also had a baseball bat (as a weapon, really) and a soccer
ball (a weapon against ourselves), each purportedly having belonged to
a semi-famous American athlete.
“Wow, this is all you have?”
“Yes, well, that’s why we charge admission…to raise money. We’re
building our collection.”
“OK. Cool. Good luck.” And they stumbled down the ramp, their 25 cents well spent.
That was years ago. Frank Grau, then our drummer, knew something about sports history. It would be ill-advised for us to try this in Europe, both because of our ignorance and lack of sports gear. We now have, instead, babies, and can perhaps claim that we are a sightseeing organization for toddlers: “See Europe! Drink some milk!”
It is on behalf of these babies, and others like them, that we present our latest barrage of anti-modernist epics. The cyber-ubiquity of the world is an uglification, an escalating decline in the texture of daily life. As with each new technological breakthrough (the automobile, for instance, also derided in our latest material), it is presented as a gift of undeniable utility, mass-marketed, and soon becomes indispensable to participation in the “modern world”, a gift thoughtlessly handed down to our children.
If we (especially in the San Francisco bay area) share guilt with the largely American purveyors of these marvels, we can also claim an uneasy kinship with with American hermit, murderer, and math genius
Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber, whose painstaking and
insightful analysis of the interwoven diseases of civilization and technology was deliberately ignored by the American media. But Ted
guessed correctly that if he killed some people, the media-machine
would inadvertently spread his critique. He turned the weapons of his
enemies against themselves, and his rejection of the “gift” is gaining ground among the young, even as it devours them.
In the spirit of Ted, and as a 20th anniversary of our own Rock Against Rock, we launch our 2010 European Tour (in which we are honored to visit the Rock In Opposition Festival, a movement which has inspired us perhaps more than any other) with a massive internet campaign denouncing the internet and its spread of corporate “newspeak”. There will be podcasts, blogs, and twitters denouncing “blogs”, “podcasts”, and “twitters”. We, as always, are our own worst and best enemies. We write songs. BURN.
|Michael Iago Mellender, Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi, Dan Rathbun, Nils Frykdahl|