Bocephus und Chad--part one
The cover for Bocephus und Chad's 1996 cassette, "The Kitfo Kid"
It's an old, old story, and it goes something like this: two beautiful youths find their destinies joined when they are marooned together on a jungle island, the sole survivors of a terrible shipwreck. Alone and cut off from civilization they form a deep bond that soon becomes love, a love which flowers gloriously before turning inevitably to jealousy and sadness, and ends only in death when they are finally eaten by wolves.
An old story indeed, but it's not actually the one I intend to tell tonight. No, this is a slightly similar but mostly (okay, entirely) different tale, the story of a band from the last years of the 20th century called Bocephus und Chad. And it's not actually about a pair of attractive teen models stranded on some island, it's about two guys in a dorm room with a 4-track recorder and a chorus pedal--sorry if that caused any confusion there, but it seemed like a good way to get the ball rolling.
So anyway--to put this in context: years ago, before I was a Monolator, before I met Mary, I was a miserable and lonely doofus in the midst of earning a useless art school degree, and it was Christmas, and I couldn't go back to Michigan to spend it with my family. I was instead returning from a disastrous and hallucinatory road trip to visit friends in Portland, the highlight of which was attending an hour-and-a-half long concert of Christmas carol medleys performed by a hand-bell ensemble...er, but that's another story. At any rate, I eventually fled Oregon and crawled into Arcata, California, where my cousin Jesse and his girlfirend (now wife) Alisen were students at Humboldt State, just in time to celebrate the New Year by getting stranded for a week as heavy flooding washed out all the freeways.
That was a wonderful week! Almost nothing was open in Arcata, so we spent most of our time playing a video game called, I think, "Twisted Metal," and wandering around town while some dude cruised by a bunch in a custom, 6-wheeled purple pickup truck with a license plate that read "LEETHL." When a road that went out of town finally opened up (a terrifying, winding one-lane road going straight up the side of a cliff) I packed up my car with great regret and headed back down to old southern california. Before I left Alisen lent me a tape from a local band called Bocephus und Chad, which I listened to over and over on my trip back to school--and technically I should have returned this tape to her back in, oh, 1998 or so. I still have it. Sorry, Alisen, I SWEAR I'm gonna get it in the mail to you. This year. I hope.
The music on this tape is a little hard to classify, since it doesn't really have much to do with the typical indie bands of the mid-1990's. I'd say it's more like Tom Petty-esque classic rock mixed with They Might Be Giants silliness, bombastic arrangements, operatic vocals, and, well, showtunes. If you're not scared off by that, then I love you, for you are a very special person indeed. Here is their "hit," an ode to men of modest dimensions, as it were. Yes, it's tasteless and juvenile, but it's also maddeningly catchy and kind of charming. Even though it's all keyboards and lead guitar (instead of banjos or what have you) I'm starting to think of this stuff as the authentic folk music of the late 20th century. I'm also gonna throw in the most awesome cover version of a Tiffany song ever recorded (yeah, I know it was originally by Tommy James & The Shondells, but that's not what's being referenced here).
Bocephus und Chad - Tiny Peters
Bocephus und Chad - Untitled
Coming up next: more mp3's and an interview with the band! Really! I tracked them down!