October 24, 2012
On The Other Hand
At some of their past shows, The Midgetmen has given out free fried chicken and raffled off an iPod filled with their music. Last year, they booked a show called “Old Men with Fuzz Pedals.” Can you guess what kind of bands were booked for that show? But coming from bassist Marc Perlman, and the rest of his band, shows like this are pretty typical for them. “We’ve done other, you know, similar stupid things of just our annual anniversary parties. We’re always trying to look for some sort of like event as opposed to like hey, it’s just like four bands playing.” So for this year’s ten year anniversary, the guys decided to cover an entire album. The Midgetmen usually do a cover or two at their shows whether it’s Guns N Roses “November Rain” or Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” so Perlman says covering an album would be something that went above and beyond. Perlman voted for the band to cover Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” “I figured that would be the most ridiculous thing anyone could ever do, especially our band cause weren’t not technically proficient enough to pull that off in any way.” But it was drummer Justin Petro that submitted Weird Al’s “Dare to be Stupid” and the whole band agreed. Perlman says the band took it way more seriously than they should have though because they had to learn the full album. “So we originally we’re like oh, this is gonna be really easy. It’s gonna be a joke and then we had to get really serious about it cause you can’t just fumble your way through a Weird Al song, right? You can’t just mumble the lyrics cause the whole joke is the lyrics.”
During the anniversary show, which took place in May, The Midgetmen played two sets: one set for their original music and the other set was dedicated to the Weird Al album. Instead of covering the last song on the album “Hooked on Polka,” which is a medley of Weird Al songs performed on an accordion, The Midgetmen decided to instead write a medley of their own songs from their first nine years and call it “Hooked on Beer.” “We’ve actually learned how to play our own songs way better than what we recorded in the first time and it was kinda funny to hear. When you listen to yourselves and you’re like wow, when you listen to the original recording of the song, we really sucked. Now ten years later, we actually can kinda play it. By year 20, we could be The Rolling Stones.” The entire Weird Al set wasn’t captured on video for the rest of the world to see because Perlman says his camera decided to stop filming after one and half songs into the set. The set inspired him to pitch the idea to perform at Fun Fun Fun Fest though. But let me back up first. There’s more to that story. During The Midgetmen’s ninth anniversary show, one of the members from La Snacks made the comment during their set that there needs to be a petition to get The Midgetmen to play at Fun Fun Fun Fest, so it became a joke. Perlman then made a joke at the tenth anniversary show during their original songs set to start the petition again. Then during the cover set, that’s when Perlman says the idea to actually play at Fun Fun Fun Fest came to him. “It just popped into my brain. I was like why aren’t we doing this on the comedy stage? I was like I hope someone’s here because we’re showing up and we’re playing on the comedy stage. I don’t think anyone from Transmission was actually there.”
Transmission Entertainment is the music booking and promotions company that puts together Fun Fun Fun Fest. Perlman ran into Rose Madriz from Transmission and says he jokingly mentioned how his band should play the covers on the comedy stage and he says she jokingly said that would funny, but kinda brushed it off. However, after he uploaded the one and a half songs that did get recorded on YouTube, he emailed her the link. He says he sent it as a joke. But the end of August is when Perlman got an email from Graham Williams from Transmission asking if they wanted to perform the Weird Al set at Fun Fun Fun Fest. “That was like ‘hey, do you guys actually want to do this? I was like are you kidding? Like is this some sort of joke? Like I actually thought he was messing with me.” Perlman says of course they would want to do this. It’s the first time The Midgetmen are playing a music festival. Perlman says it’s completely appropriate for the band that their first music festival experience is playing cover songs and not original music at 11:50 a.m. on Friday. “And we feel it’s really appropriate that the official posters say a Weird Al Tribute band not Weird Al tribute band or The Weird Al tribute band or The Midgetmen covering Weird Al. We love the fact that the poster say A Weird Al Tribute Band. Like it’s completely anonymous which we think is really funny.”
Since they are the opening band, Perlman says they are going to cook breakfast or at least try. “We figured anyone who’s there that early to see us should get free breakfast. So on stage, we’re gonna cook breakfast for people. Like in between songs, I’ll push the little buttons down on the toaster oven. I don’t know. We haven’t really thought that out yet. It’s just something I promised the Internet. Like probably four people read it and now they’re gonna show up expecting breakfast.” For those not attending Fun Fun Fun Fest might not get the chance to see The Midgetmen perform “Dare to be Stupid” after the festival. Perlman thinks they’re going to shelve it for awhile. However, they did record their cover of album and plan to release it for free on Bandcamp hopefully by Halloween. “We’re taking the joke way out of control, opening ourselves to a ton of lawsuits because we have not asked Weird Al or any of the original performers for permission to do this.” But Perlman says they will remove the album if they get a cease and desist letter. The Midgetmen did record off and on for months until it was complete. Perlman says it was kinda pathetic how much time was spent recording the joke after the fact, but it kinda still sounds like a giant mess. “Some of the songs sound really good. I really want to like pat ourselves on the back that we actually sound kinda legit and some of the songs are giant trainwrecks, but I guess that’s The Midgetmen.”
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