Last April, the Sunshine Jen News Network reported extensively on the breakup of Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts (aka TOFOG). Because we believe in beating a story not just to death but lonnnng into the afterlife, we dispatched our reporters to the March 10th Russell Crowe and The Ordinary Fear of God (aka the new band) show at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip.
Because no cameras or recording devises were allowed, our team of reporters had to rely on observation, memory and good old fashioned note taking. I am pleased to welcome them into the studio today to talk about the show and implications.
First of all, sitting to my left is Mary Jane Melville who according to her business card sold her soul to Russell Crowe. Mary Jane, welcome back to Sunshine Jen.
MJM: Thank you for having me.
SJ: When we spoke last April, you had some issues with the break up of Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts. You had even written a pretty angry poem about it.
MJM: Yeah. Well, it was a pretty tough time. It was tax time too.
SJ: And how are you doing now?
MJM: Really good. I'm engaged. Look! A ring!
SJ: Awwww. Pretty.
SJ: So, you went to the show on Friday night.
MJM: Yes, I was ten bodies from the stage.
SJ: What did you think of it?
MJM: I liked it, but. . .
MJM: It just wasn't the same, but not in a tragic way. Dave, the old drummer, was there. So were Stewie on horns, and Dean, who never smiled, on guitar. The new guys were good, but oh I don't know if I can say this. . .
SJ: Just spit it out.
MJM: They. . .it's really just a little thing . . .promise me, you won't think me shallow.
SJ: I will not think you shallow.
MJM: They wore pin striped suits. There! I've said it.
SJ: Why is that so bad?
MJM: They just looked so stiff, so formal, so hot in the sweaty kind of way. And, well, they looked like they were re-enacting scenes from Guys and Dolls, okay.
SJ: But is Musical Theatre so bad?
MJM: I just felt underdressed. Fortunately none of the girls around me undressed.
SJ: Okay, how was the music?
MJM: They played a lot of new songs off the My Hand, My Heart album, and that title still makes me think of handjobs, but the room really became electric when they played old songs like ‘Memorial Day', ‘Swept Away Bayou', and ‘What Do You Want Me to Forget?'
SJ: So the old stuff rocks.
MJM: Most definitely.
SJ: And what was the crowd like?
MJM: Hip, mixed, but still mostly female. People drank beer and seemed to like it though.
SJ: And did you like it?
MJM: Yeah. I liked it---except when I was elbowed by that fat blonde girl. You know who you are, bitch, go back to your computer, Miss Thang.
SJ: Please, we're not here to settle scores.
MJM: Sorry, Sunshine Jen.
SJ: And what do you think the implications of this show are?
MJM: Well, my fiancé said to not worry about it and get stoned, so I got stoned. Then I ate a lot of donuts and went to sleep.
SJ: Okay then, sitting next Mary Jane is Dr. Dan Tanner. Dr. Tanner. . .
Dr. Dan: I prefer Dr. Dan.
SJ: Dr. Dan is a prominent sociologist whose field of expertise is fandoms and fan gatherings. In the course of his research, he has attended over two hundred Star Trek conventions, nearly a thousand comic book conventions, and two Xena conventions. He is winner of the prestigious Paperclip award as well as the Super Nova Award for his book, Views of a Two Moon Sunset. Dr. Dan, welcome.
Dr. Dan: Pleasure to be here.
SJ: You were at the show on Friday night. Tell me your thoughts.
Dr. Dan: Well Russell Crowe definitely has his own little fandom going with its own rituals and secret phrases. I find it interesting that Crowe seems self-aware of the fandom worship and even incorporates it into the show.
SJ: How does he do that?
Dr. Dan: He has the whole god thing happening. . .
SJ: God thing?
Dr. Dan: He sings a lot about god, and at one point, he took on the role of a preacher. Even though he was joking, one can not deny the self-awareness. However, he does bring up the interesting idea of rock show as religious ritual. Then again, rock and religion has been dancing a wacky salsa since rock's beginnings. This makes me think back to. . .
SJ: Getting back to this show specifically, Dr. Dan, is there anything that surprised you about the fans?
Dr. Dan: Yes, actually. No one wore costumes. No one dressed up as a Gladiator or a beautiful mind or a smashed hotel phone.
SJ: But wouldn't that be considered bad taste?
Dr. Dan: Perhaps, but I think the fan base needs to find its costumes. There seem to be a lot of sea songs. I'm surprised no one dressed as a sailor. I also think the merchandise table needs to stock action figures. You know, for the kids. Would you buy a horn playing action figure, Mary Jane?
MJM: Sure. But it has to be under ten bucks. Over ten bucks and you're interfering with the drinking.
SJ: Donal, the show was last week. Don't tell me you're still hungover.
DM: Yeah, I went to the show and hung out with the Aussies at the bar. I woke up in Malibu and felt like shit, so we had to go again. Damn them Aussies.
SJ: I understand you have a lyrical perspective on the show.
DM: If you're gonna sing Lou Reed's 'Take a Walk on the Wild Side', sing the whole fucking song. Ohhhh.
SJ: I understand that Russell Crowe has a song about the late actor, Richard Harris.
DM: Pfffft. Sentimental dribble. If you're gonna sing of Harris, you better get the stomping in to wake the angels up. You gotta wake up all them angels and saints. Ohhhh. Uggg. Could I get some water, please?
SJ: Sure. Here it is. Let's see if your co-worker fared much better. Sitting next to Donal is Summer Kandinsky, also of the Sunshine Jen writing staff.
SK: Could you not talk so loud please?
SJ: Summer, what's wrong.
SK: Well, I went to the show, and I started drinking with the Kiwis. I flew back from Auckland this morning.
SJ: So you're saying you went all the way to New Zealand?
SJ: But how was the show?
SK: What show?
SJ: Russell Crowe and the Ordinary Fear of God.
SK: Oh yeah, I met the Kiwis there. Didn't pay much attention to the stage. Did you know that a kiwi is a flightless bird?
DM: Yeah. Crazy ain't it.
SJ: Getting back on the topic, I understand Elvis Costello played with the band during the second encore.
SK: Oh! That's who that was! He was really hot! I mean, wow, Elvis Costello.
SJ: Why was he there?
Dr. Dan: There's a rule in LA that famous people have to hang out with other famous people.
SK: Wow, I'm getting all warm and glowy just thinking about him.
MJM: Yes, he was very good. It was a nice surprise.
SJ: On the phone, we have Michael Walden who is standing by in Leigh, New Zealand, the next stop on the Ordinary Fear of God tour. Michael, hello.
SJ: Michael, you can't see me. We're talking via phone.
MW: Then, you sound lovely, and I'm dreaming of you.
SJ: Michael, please, keep it professional. What is the mood on the ground in Leigh?
MW: Well, Sunshine Jen, the excitement is building by the hour. I tell you this could be the biggest thing since a giant snapper named Mr. Perfect first swam into the marine reserve.
SJ: And is the town prepared for the huge female invasion that follows the band?
MW: Oh yes, several bachelors are hoping to get wives out of it, but you know Sunshine Jen, I only have eyes for you.
SJ: That's nice, so what else can one do in Leigh besides going to see Russell Crowe and the Ordinary Fear of God on March 30th.
MW: Well, dearest, there's the Goat Island Marine Reserve. In fact, I'm going scuba diving there this afternoon. I hope I do okay with the air tanks because talking to you makes me breathless.
SK: Can I puke now?
DM: Me too?
Dr. Dan: Me three.
MJM: Aw, it's cute. He's smitten.
SJ: Final Thoughts! Dr. Dan!
Dr. Dan: I think we need to see more personality from the band. Right now, it's the Russell show. There's definitely a fandom there, and it will be interesting to see how long the fandom lasts. I see a potential book.
DM: Malibu is a beautiful place. A really beautiful place. I oughta move there.
SK: Uhmmm. The band is cute.
SJ: Take us home, Mary Jane.
MJM: I just want to give a shout out to my fiancé, the workaholic Broadway lyricist, Steve Ockman, who has a new show opening tonight. I love you, baby!
SJ: You're engaged to Ockman?
MJM: Yes, we met last time on this show. You're invited to the wedding, Sunshine Jen.
SJ: I am? I love weddings! Well, that's all we have time for today. Thank you for joining us. See you next time.