Oompa Loompa This
Morality lessons disguised as pop music can be a dangerous thing.
Thursday, June 29, 2000
You remember the Oompa Loompas, the little beet-colored men from the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory? They would sing a little moral dirge every time some kid got sucked into a drainpipe, dropped into a furnace, or turned into a blueberry for being bad. (Remember? "Oompa Loompa doompety da/If you''re not greedy you will go far/You will live in happiness too/Like the Oompa Loompa Doompety do.") Have you ever wondered what those little red Oompa Loompas do when Willy lets them out of the candy factory? They play in a pop/rock band. A little red-man band; like the mini-Backstreet Boys.
When the little bastards are loose, they strut around on stage, singing songs about living a life of morality in a candyland of temptation, unaware of the contradiction in pop music when it attempts to define a certain principles and then preach about it. In some ways, everything that epitomized the insipid "Brady Bunch" morality of the ''70s was condensed right there in the little men of that horrific children''s film. But it''s not a condition that was limited to the ''70s.
Whenever a band around town writes or plays songs directed at telling someone else what to door not to dothey seem to echo the musical focus of those little red men. Take the new Lesser Known Gods album, now in the process of being mixed and recorded. With its placement of anti-consumerist lingo, and curses aimed squarely at all money-generating propaganda, it fits the mold of the Oompa Loompa style.
What makes the morality preached by such bands even weirder is the contradiction between righteousness and reality. Bottom line, the recording, stage performance, and manufacturing of any musicwith all the accompanying hype and promotionis, in itself, a money-making propaganda campaign. In the case of the Lesser Known Gods, let''s hope they can pull it off.
Here''s more of this week''s propaganda in a nutshell
At the Long Bar tonight is Owen Noone (pronounced like Owe-N No One), a Bay area rock band that has had enough success to gain airplay on CD93 with their single "The Last One," and on KMBY with another single, "Stress." The band is led by singer and keyboardist David Winter, who is backed up by Chris Weibe on bass, Alan Hall on drums, and Jeff Bakus on guitar. The sound of Owen Noone tickles the pallet a little like Matchbox 20 or the Barenaked Ladies but with an original edge that we can only assume comes from the addition of a keyboardist to the pop/rock the band plays. The show promises to be great entertainment for tonight and the most un-propagated thing about this show is that it is free.
Owen Noone, tonight, 9pm, no cover. Blues Jam w/The Next Blues Band, Monday, 9pm, Long Bar, no cover. 372-2244
Tomorrow it may be advisable to check out Ocean Thunder during the early to late evening. At the bar will be a benefit barbecue beginning at 6pm and a show put on for Randy Basore, a customer of the establishment who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. The new local bar has been packed with good atmosphere and weekly performances by great local blues groups like the Crusin'' Deuces, who have played on a regular basis since the bar''s grand opening early this year. The Santa Cruz band Big Rain will provide rock and stuff beginning about 9pm. There''s a voluntary donation at the door for the barbecue, and there''ll be a raffle of goods and services provided by local merchants. Go and help out if you can.
Big Rain, Friday, Ocean Thunder, 9pm, voluntary donation. 643-9169.
Lastly, for all those local bands that signed up for the Ultimate Band Competitionyahoo! The final day to turn in the entry forms for the competition was extended to Friday of this week. So any of you who didn''t get a chance to sign up can drop off your entry forms at the Monterey Fairgrounds Event Office.
Next week there should be a list available of the bands that signed up. And I''ll try to find a little room to give ''em some propaganda.