BATDB

L to R: Zoe, Mike, Rick, and Neil Dangerous

 

Jack got the chance to sit down with Mike Dangerous of Bob and the Dangerous Brothers, a Seattle band dedicated to the freedom of their lead singer, Bob.

 

JG: Since both of us are superfamous and naturally fascinating, and because I am such a huge fan, it’s about time that we met. I’m glad that your people and my people have finally gotten us together, what with our hectic celebrity schedules and all. How’s it going?

 

MD: It’s going very well, Jack. This is an exciting time for Bob and the Dangerous Brothers.

 

JG: For those who may be hearing about you for the first time, can you tell us a little about Bob and how the band got started?

 

MD: Bob is our lead singer and the founder of the band. The band met him at a show in 1996, and he asked us to join the new band he was forming after the dissolution of his legendary straight-edge band, Violent Sobriety. He is also a worm who has been imprisoned for eating leaves that allegedly belonged to the Leaf Bank, and has been in prison since 2003. Since that time, we have continued to work with him via a audio-visual satellite link. Fortunately, our manager's cousin works at the Guadalupe County Correctional Facility in New Mexico where Bob is imprisoned and was able to install a video camera and microphone in Bob's cell. This facilitates Bob’s continuing participation in the band both as at practice/song writing sessions and at shows through some special audio visual equipment we bring to all our performances. Only once have we performed without him, at our first show in Seattle. It was a battle of the bands, and one of the other bands sabotaged our satellite equipment.

 

JG: I’ve been a fan of Bob since the very early days of Violent Sobriety and glad to know he’s still active in music. Tell me about Bob and the Dangerous Brothers’ current direction and vision for the future.

 

MD: Well, as you know, we have a new drummer, and any time you change the lineup of a band, that really changes the dynamic. We’re really still in the process of figuring out what that new dynamic looks like with Zoe as part of the band, one that I think is going to be a really positive one. At the same time, we are working on new material for our next record. The new songs, so far, are really influenced by Jeremy Enigk, Poison, and the Bishop and the Warlord. So that’s our current direction. As far as our vision for the future, we’re really hoping that 2008 is the year we’re reunited with Bob and can move forward without the obstacle of him being in prison.

 

 

Zoe
The fascinating and lovely Zoe Dangerous

 

JG: Let’s take a minute to talk about that new drummer, the glamorous Zoe Dangerous from Luxemborg. How does she feel about her chances, given the historically mercurial and sometimes fatal nature of being a Dangerous drummer? Has she taken any precautions?

 

MD: Well, I think it’s one day at a time right now for her because she’s still learning the ropes. I would like to point out though that with the exception of Rocko, our other previous drummers are doing quite well for themselves. Dakota and Vivian are both quite wealthy these days actually. Aside from being a really good drummer, Zoe is really spunky and made out of tough stuff, so I don’t think she’s really too worried.

 

JG: Many of your songs have important messages. For example, “About the Beat and Why I Hate It” addresses safety, tackles a difficult situation (manager Enrique von Kugelshreiber’s roller skating accident) and turns it into a catchy, relevant message for the kids of today. On “Buflo,”you ask a poignant question: Where did all the buffalo go? You also manage to weave in an important spelling lesson. I’ve heard the band described as “Crossing Guards for Modern, Relevant Issues.” Talk to me about how Bob and the Dangerous Brothers feel regarding their role as public servants, educators, and activists.

 

MD: Well, let’s be clear about one thing. We are musicians first and activists second. I mean, Bob got us somewhat involved in the International Anti-Saloon League in the early days of the band, but beyond that, the Dangerous Brothers were sort of pushed into activism by the imprisonment of Bob. I think we all would have been happy to just keep writing songs about our friends, animals, dinosaurs, and food. Sometimes our friends are animals or food. But that’s another topic all together. We just felt that in light of our lead singer being a political prisoner, we really needed to comment on that. It really helped us see that we were part of a big world, whether we wanted to be or not. That said, though, I really think people make us out to be more political than we actually are. “Buflo” is, in fact, a really great example of that. That song, like the other songs on The Buffalo EP was inspired by the loss of our own pet buffalo. Each member of the band wrote a song to express their feelings about our Buffalo’s disappearance. Rocko, our second drummer, wrote “Buflo” which is a bit more abstract than the other songs on the record, leading some to think it was a comment on the plight of buffalos as a species, but it’s actually about our own personal loss.

 

JG: How is Enrique doing these days, anyway?

 

MD: Enrique has recovered from his accident. It’s a good thing, too. He recovered just in time for his annual trip to Europe, where he met Zoe.

 

JG: Can you give me an insider update on Bob’s legal status? Will he be able to join you on tour soon?

 

MD: Well, we’re cautiously optimistic at this point. We’ve been going through the ups and downs of the State of New Mexico v. Bob case for almost twelve years now, so I think we’re all pretty hesitant to make any grand proclamations at this point. That said, you’ve probably already heard that the circuit court has ordered that Bob be granted a new trial. This is great news, because we really don’t think he got a fair shake the first time around. Bob’s trial will begin in late March if everything goes according to schedule. Undoubtedly, it will be a media circus, and as these things often go, it will probably be a long and difficult period of waiting to see what’s going to happen. We’re all hopeful, but we don’t want to get our hopes up too much, in case Bob is not acquitted. Right now, we’re just scrambling to raise money for his legal team and trying to stay positive.

 

JG: Have you been pressured at all by the Leaf Bank, or encountered resistance from leaf fascists?

 

MD: The Leaf Bank, I think, would prefer to pretend we don’t exist because we’ve created so much bad publicity for them over the years. Their spokesman was asked by Barbara Walters at one point about the State of New Mexico v. Bob case, and he was just really evasive about it and said something about how the Leaf Bank had full faith in the court system to do the right thing. Whatever that’s supposed to mean. Leaf fascists have been a problem in the past. In London, some skinheads attacked us after a show. They were all wearing green suspenders and boot laces – green being the color of leaves. Fortunately, Vivian (our first drummer) was still in the band at that time, and he’s scrappy. He took on five of those guys on his own. It was amazing and actually kind of funny, to see the bunch of them running away from Vivian, who’s not a big guy by any stretch. Other than that, we get the occasional angry letter from someone who disagrees with our position on the Leaf Bank, but most of them don’t really seem to understand the issues at all, so we don’t really take it to heart.

 

JG: I’ve heard your songwriting described as a secretive, unique process, incomprehensible by the mere mortal. Can you give me a picture of what goes on?

 

MD: Well, our songwriting process tends to be very spontaneous. Sometimes, one of us will come to practice with something already more or less finished, but more often what will happen is that one of us, usually me or Neil, will come up with a riff on the spot at practice, and we’ll play around with it and quickly come up with some more parts. Then we get a bunch of… mineral water or root beer, and we’ll go upstairs and sit around and start tossing around ideas for lyrics until the song is finished. This is usually where Bob really comes into the process, via satellite of course. It doesn’t usually take too long to write the lyrics because we all have a lot of ideas, and in this band, the best idea is always the one that goes, whoever says it. So once the ideas really start flying, we tend to write a song pretty quickly, sometimes literally in minutes. Often, we’ll record the song that same night, and sometimes, we’ll write and record several songs in an evening. Jake, Neil, and I all live in a house together, and Rick and Zoe both live nearby, so we’re able to work late into the night and often do. That’s part of how we’ve been able to release as many albums as we have.

 

JG: You describe your new album, I Can’t Remember Everything I’ve Smelled, as “easily [your] best release.” Tell us about this album and how it came to be.

 

MD: What’s really great about the new album is that it’s is really collaborative. There’s a great group feeling to the record, which I think is partially due to how good we felt about the band dynamic at the time, and also because so many people perform on that record. In addition to me, Neil, Rick and Dakota, we had additional vocals and percussion on a lot of the songs that a bunch of our friends provided. We also had met Zoe by the end of the process of making this record and had begun working with her on a trial basis, since we knew Dakota was leaving. Zoe plays tambourine on a couple of the songs and does some vocals as well on the song “Promising Plans.” Our friend Josh Nollette, who directs our music videos, also appears on that song as a guest singer. Our new roadie Jake sings one song “Applesauce,” that he helped the band write. DJ DSauced, our producer, does a freestyle rap on “About the Beat and Why I Hate It.” Finally, on a slightly sadder note, one song on the record is an older track that we recorded with Rocko before he died. All together, there’s like fifteen different people performing on that album. All of that adds a lot of energy and makes the record really special.

 

JG: Since you are world-traveled and infinitely famous, tell me about different places you’ve played. What is your ideal venue? I.e., are you more of a philharmonic hall band, or …

 

MD: Well, we’ve mostly played small- to medium-sized clubs at this point. People hear “European tour” and assume we’re playing stadiums or something like that. But mostly, that hasn’t been the case. I think we all like playing smaller venues because you can really get the audience involved. Small venues are great, really… except when people throw things.

 

 

Jake and Mike Dangerous
Jake and Mike Dangerous

 

JG: You recently got a new roadie, Jake Dangerous. What kind of crew does it take to keep the band in top form?

 

MD: Well, Jake has his hands full. Aside from keeping all our equipment in good repair and getting it where it needs to be, he’s responsible for maintaining our satellite equipment, which is what allows us to work with Bob even though he’s in prison. Jake is responsible for all of that because he really is the extent of our road crew, other than of course Enrique, who deals more with the business aspect of things and says he’s allergic to carrying heavy things.

 

JG: Tell me the most terrible thing that's happened to you on tour.

 

MD: Our worst tour experience was during our 2004 European tour when we played at this club in Paris that Enrique’s cousin owns called Le Hoh Hoh Hoh (no connection to our song by that same title, which was written before we had ever heard of that dive). The audience there really didn’t understand our vision at all. They kept shouting at us and spitting at us like, “American tourists! I spit on you! Ptui! Ptui!” One of them hit Vivian with a bottle. We only made like 20 francs at that show and had to sleep on the club’s floor afterwards, which was filthy and covered with beer. That was awful.

 

JG: How ‘bout the best thing that’s happened to you on tour?

 

MD: We played at a place called the Cowboy Club in Houston, Texas in 2003, before Bob was imprisoned. That show was wild! It was full of all these cowboys who had never seen anything like us before, and they just loved it. They were whooping and dancing around, and Bob went over the edge of the stage and crowd surfed on the fingertips of all those cowboys. And you should have seen him ride the mechanical bull!

 

JG: Are there any television shows or commercials – past, present, or future – that you'd want a BATDB song in?

 

MD: I’d love to see a Bob and the Dangerous Brothers song in either Perfect Strangers or Dinsosaurs, which were my favorite programs of the late ‘80s/early 90s. Of course, both of these shows were off the air by the time we got together. We were actually contacted about re-recording “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now” for a film version of Perfect Strangers, starring Bronson Pinchot and Mark Linn-Baker, but sadly, the film was never made, and we haven’t been able to get the rights to release our version of the song. If they ever make a Breakin’ 3 or Thrashin’ 2, I think we’d be happy to contribute a song to the soundtrack for either of those films.

 

JG: Who would best play Bob in a made-for-TV movie?

 

MD: Hmmm. Maybe Jean-Claude Van Damme?

 

JG: Describe for me the Dangerous Parents and what it was that caused the brothers to strike out. Are there any delicate family dynamics? Sibling rivalries?

 

MD: Well, we aren’t actually brothers so not really. That’s just the name of the band. We actually all met through Bob, so if there was a “Dangerous Father,” I guess it would be him. As far as rivalries go, Rick and I have sometimes had a rocky road, but I think that’s just because we’re both really strong personalities with a lot of creativity. We’re bound to sometimes have different ideas about the band’s direction.

 

JG: Is there a Dangerous Therapist who soothes the band through all the familial comings and goings, or how do you guys handle that?

 

MD: It’s not a bad idea, but no, not at this point. If we had something like that, we might have avoided our short-term breakup in 2005. We all have really distinct personalities that don’t always end up meshing well, and the added strain of Bob being in prison and all the activism around that can make being in this band difficult sometimes. So difficult that we’ve almost called it quits for good several times and once actually did but changed our minds. I think Enrique sort of plays the counselor role to the best of his ability, but sometimes it does seem like we could use a little extra help.

 

JG: Which Brother would make the best role model?

 

MD: Neil, without a doubt. Neil is deep, spiritual, a very fine musician, and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.

 

JG: What do you predict as your next hit single?

 

MD: We’re working on a song right now that we’ll actually release under the name Friends of Bob rather than Bob and the Dangerous Brothers. It’s going to be called “We Are the Worm.” This is going to be a special fundraising single for Bob’s legal defense fund, and in addition to all the current Dangerous Brothers, we’re hoping to include some of the past members of the band, as well as a number of our good friends, such as the Strawberry Boy, DJ DSauced, Enrique von Kugelschreiber, and numerous members of the many fine bands we have played shows with over the years, such as Jimes, Japanda, Fire in My Bag, and the Resets. We’re going to start recording the basic tracks for that in the next couple of weeks.

 

JG: What is the future of the Dangerous Brothers if John McCain is elected president? Do you think you will be targeted for being Dangerous, and brothers?

 

MD: Our main concern with the presidential election really is which candidate is most likely to pardon Bob. We’ve contacted a number of the campaigns at this point, and everyone has been polite to us, but at this point, the only candidate who has been somewhat affirmative has been Ron Paul. We spoke with him personally on the matter, and he seemed open to the possibility. He said he’d seriously consider it.

 

JG: Who wants to come see you?

 

MD: We get a really diverse crowd at our shows. I already mentioned the huge following we have in the country scene, but we get a lot of artist types, a few punk rockers, indie rockers, some party-type dudes… really just about all kinds of people. The only crowd that has really not warmed to us is the metal scene. We’ve played at a couple of metal shows, and it just really didn’t go well. Which is funny because on the side, I actually play drums for a blackened suicidal funeral drone-metal band called Fire in My Bag that has gotten a really positive response in the metal scene, but for some reason, Bob and the Dangerous Brothers don’t really have much support there.

 

JG: What will people see when they come watch you perform in Portland?

 

MD: Hopefully, a great show. We haven’t played outside of Seattle for a while now, so we’re excited about playing in Portland. I think that extra enthusiasm will translate into an even more exciting show than usual for the audience as well.

 

JG: Coming from New Mexico, were you prepared for the weather in the Pacific Northwest? “Summertime Lunch Fun” is a bit risky to play in Seattle during the wrong season, don’t you think?

 

MD: Enrique had the hardest time with the transition since he’s allergic to water. The rest of us didn’t have too much trouble with it really. “Summertime Lunch Fun” was actually written in Seattle, during the summer, and that song is actually one of our most popular at shows, regardless of the season.

 

JG: Fill in the blank: The Dangerous Brothers are the pied pipers of _______.

 

MD: Pensive purple ponies.

 

JG: What are you listening to right now?

 

MD: The Bishop and the Warlord: Set Yourself on Fire

 

JG: Who do you want to be your friend?

 

MD: That’s an unexpected question. Ummm…. There’s this really great band that’s one guy and three robots called Captured by Robots. I want them to be my friends.

 

JG: What can we expect from Bob and the Dangerous Brothers next? It seems that anything is possible with y’all. Y’all mind if I call y’all, y’all?

 

MD: I think “all y’all” is actually the correct term. Unless you just mean me. But to answer your main question, we have a lot of big plans for the future, including more music videos, another album (already in progress), and possibly even another film. We’ve been in talks with the director of our music videos for a while now about doing another film – this time a dramatic film rather than a documentary. We’ll all be playing ourselves, but it will be a scripted movie based on real events rather than a documentary, sort of in the vein of Help! or Rock ‘n Roll High School. I don’t have any idea as to when this will come out, or even for sure if it will, but I know that Josh has shown us some script drafts that we’ve been pretty happy with, and if everything comes together, we’ll hopefully be shooting for that this summer. Other than that, we’re hoping to play lots more shows in the near future and keep working to free Bob!

 

All images courtesy of the band. Free Bob!!! -j.g.

OK.

Because I am shamelessley in love with 826 Seattle, I am gonna turn your eye towards The Great 826 Seattle T-Shirt Design Contest.

 

 

826 Seattle logo

 

 

If you have the skillz, go for it, yo... there is nowhere worthier. And cooler. To think, your work will be forever memorialized in the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Store, where you can meet all your space travel supply needs, from astronaut underwear to near-death ray guns (I personally own a jar of Certainty). And it will be worn worldwide to represent the love. By love, I mean the most premium creative writing and tutoring center known to Seattle and possibly to earth, available to any kid entirely free of charge. One might even describe the place as Rad, but I won't, 'cause that was, like, so over in the 80's.

London Remix

 

Ya, so thanks to this article at Boing Boing, I stumbled upon a bunch of remixed posters mocking the absurdity of London's new Counter-Terrorism Advertising Campaign... priceless.

Bless you, graphic design geeks, bless you.

 

BY ANDREW GOLDEN

 

The little zebra was coming back to his ward of the savanna after doing some important errands, when an odd scene caught his eye.

His local polling place was packed. The lines were very long, and overwhelmingly composed of tired, confused-looking antelopes.

At that moment, Mr. Giraffe whistled for the zebra to come over.

"Hey, Zebra," hissed Mr. Giraffe. "We need your help here! We're overwhelmed."

"Are you getting out the vote?" asked the zebra innocently.

"Are you kidding? No, we've got to win this thing, Zebra. B.A.M.N. That's right, an acronym. 'By Any Means Necessary.' For the good of this savanna. Listen, put on one of these T-shirts."

"Why?" said the zebra, as he was handed a T-shirt with the phrase "Anti-Fraud Enforcement" written across the chest. He noticed that Mr. Giraffe and several menacing-looking hyenas were wearing them, too.

"Check out these antelopes, little Zebra," said the giraffe under his breath. "All looking for a free handout. And that music they listen to. Well, we're not gonna let them, or their NAAAP thugs, steal this from us. Here's what I want you to do. See that old antelope over there? Tell her she's at the wrong polling place. Then, if she acts confused, tell her she needs to show you six forms of ID."

"But what about free elections?"

"That's cute," said Mr. Giraffe. He turned quickly around to see a couple of young, idealistic-looking antelopes getting in line. "Hey, guys, you know if you've got any outstanding parking tickets we're going to have to arrest you if you check in to vote. It's all right there in the fine print. And if you have any parking misdemeanors on your record? You're going away for a long, long time."

The antelopes scattered away.

"This is illegal!" protested the zebra.

"You're illegal, Zebra. You're illegal. Shut the fuck up. I mean, do you want 'Hanoi' Hippo to win this thing? If he gets in, the vampire bats win."

"I feel bad about this ...," whined the zebra.

"You do what we tell you, or we'll take the tax exemptions away from your synagogue! And another thing: If you see any born-again rhinos come to this precinct, or any fat lions wearing "Who Farted?" T-shirts, send them to the front of the line. And give them 11 ballots. I can't wait to read wild African jackass Bill Kristol's column tomorrow!"

"Well," shrugged the young zebra. "At least I'll go to my grave knowing that no cheetah couples ever gained hospital-visitation rights or filed joint tax returns on my watch! Phew!"

 

Originally published in Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency and reprinted with kind permission from the author.