Fun Fun Fun Fest Interviews: Saturday

Metaphysical Graffiti and anti-intellectualism in pet names

Fun Fun Fun Fest Interviews: Saturday

The Dead Milkmen

8:45pm, Stage 3

Dead Milkmen vocalist/keyboardist Rodney Anonymous is walking a load of firewood home through the streets of Philadelphia. "It's turning into this Joycean trip through town," he observes. "And by Joycean, I don't mean James Joyce. I mean Joyce DeWitt."

That quip sets the tone for a conversation that drifts from Merv Griffin's alleged Bilderberg Group ties to the 1999 Anthony Hopkins film adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus to Charlie Daniels' rightward-leaning blog to anti-intellectualism in pet names.

"When I was a kid, working-class people were smart and well-read," Anonymous asserts. "My neighbors all had pets with names from history. I knew a guy with a big rottweiller called Cerebrus. Now everybody calls their dog Mr. Fluffy McPicklenose."

Amid these tangents, the Dead Milkmen's decision to reunite for Fun Fun Fun Fest barely surfaces. Save for an October warm-up gig in Philly, FFFF will be the first Milkmen show since November 2004's memorial concerts for bassist Dave Blood, who committed suicide earlier that year. Dandrew Stevens, the guitarist from Joe Jack Talcum's post-DM band the Low Budgets, will once again fill in for Blood. "It's sad because every cheesy movie about an old band reuniting starts with them being offered a gig at a festival," Anonymous says. "But we got the offer, and then we saw the other bands that were going to play. I'm a huge Killdozer fan."

While classics such as "Bitchin' Camaro" and "Punk Rock Girl" have received regular flashback-lunch airplay in the 13 years since the band split, the satirist's Central Texas pedigree is lesser known. The Milkmen recorded three albums – 1987's Bucky Fellini, 1988's Beelzebubba, and 1990's Metaphysical Graffiti – at local and area studios with former Glass Eye bassist Brian Beattie. "Glass Eye was the band we aspired to be," Anonymous says. "That's how far we missed the mark by."

Though the Milkmen have no current plans to springboard their reunion into recording new songs, Anonymous seems intrigued by the prospect. "If we did records now, I think they'd be better records, because we just don't care," he laughs. "I don't give a shit if anybody buys this or likes this. I've got a regular job!"

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Greg Beets, Nov. 14, 2008

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