There’s an old Opie & Anthony Show where the hilariously vainglorious Ian Halperin, a Canadian celebrity biographer with the subtlety of a pro-wrestler’s bullhorn (and an acquired taste if ever there was one) invites his friend “Fleece” into the studio. If you can tolerate Halperin’s endless boasting, which you should because he plays a great foil, you get to hear not only Jim Norton’s repeated and uproarious jabs at Fleece’s abundant arm hair, but a depressing story about the whereabouts of Brad Roberts, lead singer of Crash Test Dummies, in 2010. According to Wikipedia, the Dummies reunited in 2015. So hooray I guess, the awful song that’s now stuck in our heads again is probably being played somewhere as we speak.
Anyway, I’m serious about Ian Halperin. If you slowly build up a tolerance to him, you’ll come to realize how funny he is and how functional he can be in a piece of radio comedy. Note how hard it is to get to him, and the amount of abuse he and his friend take. It’s almost two full hours of gold.
(Also note how it’s impossible to bring up the Crash Test Dummies without doing what my co-worker is doing in the first panel. You’re probably doing it yourself right now!)
I’m extremely proud of the second panel, in that it was a legitimate emanation. I had to hear “Three Little Pigs” at work at the record store. Once. I said, aloud, with customers present, “I would rather die than hear this song again. I will break the CD and open a vein with the pieces.” Later that week, body beaten to shit from endless inventory shifts, I opined the phrase in the comic strip, to some poor girl who just wanted to hang out. But you gotta understand, man. This was the early-to-mid 1990s. You cherry-pick the good stuff now, but there was a time when you couldn’t get away from this crap, and Nirvana’s weaker offerings, and the fucking Presidents of the United States warbling about peaches, and the same two Portishead songs, and look I don’t wanna hear no “not by the hair of my chinny chin chin” because I’m an adult and I swear I will slaughter every last one of you
Alright, look, it’s public knowledge than the government used the music of Skinny Puppy as a means of torture. Music I enjoy, but not all the time, or necessarily on any given day. Nevertheless, I enjoy music that has been used as torture. Does that not prove my point, that making me listen to Hootie & the Blowfish for ten hours a day as part of my job was actually torture?
Well, I mean, eventually I just learned to scratch the discs so they couldn’t be played in-store, and then substitute something I could stand (that might sell and has no cussing) until the manager opens another copy. I did that with R. Kelly’s horrendous 12 Play. I took his infernal, insipid lyric “I don’t see nothin’ wrong with a little bump and grind” to the literal extreme, bumping the in-store play CD onto the pressed-concrete floor of Blockbuster Music and grinding it under my heel. Fuck that creep. Okay- you know how I can prove I had to listen to his monstrous opus, for hours on end? I can tell you which is the good song. Track 10: BOOM, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!
Peep that cover, “yo”! A crotch-level baton, above piss-colored markings! Bit on-the-nose, ‘ey wot? I HAD TO STOCK THIS SHIT!!! I AM CURSED WITH INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF IT!!!
Christ on a pine, forgive the blasphemy, we’re talking over twenty-five years ago!
Anyway… third panel, I think my point has pretty much been proven on the Bjork thing, so I’m not gonna beat that dead horse. I knew a guy years ago who got all steamed because I couldn’t stop cracking on Bjork. I was like “dude, you put the tape in.” There’s just something about Bjork that makes me go all Beavis & Butthead. As far as Icelandic music goes, I tend to skew more Sigur Ros than Sugarcubes. The song where I inquired if her fingers were being stomped upon is “Violently Happy” on Debut (1993), right before it goes into that Legend-of-Zelda doot-doot-doot-doot-doot.
This fucking album was a picnic compared to the sleeping pill of Crash Test Dummies, however.
The track afterward, “Anchor Song”, is Bjork and some horns just honkin’ away, and I would laugh so hard the other staff assumed I was on drugs. I was sober- this was the “44 ounces of Mountain Dew era”. It’s a miracle I have teeth, or functioning testicles, at all. I would open the store while consuming 44 ounces of Mountain Dew, and then wonder why donnybrooks with customers became so common. Later I would eat two Wendy’s bacon double cheeseburgers in the food court for lunch, and chuckle at the resultant randomized heartbeats. Let me tell you something about shopping malls; if they’re two stories or more, they make it so that anyplace you could possibly jump from has plants to break your fall. Them malls got hip to that shit.
Oh man, there’s a terrific forgotten Compulsion song about the designer of a shopping mall:
That’s from 1994. My copy is a promo I kept during the time I was assistant manager. I liked it, and suppose I still do. It has a bunch of really good songs on it. What the hey, here’s another one:
The songs on Compulsion’s Comforter were all, I think, about compulsions. It beat listening to Better Than Ezra, anyway. As for Crash Test Dummies, it worked itself out at the store, in that management noticed a sharp decrease in employee energy while the album was playing. Then the female cashiers started complaining, and that’s when it’s over. They’d had enough of Brad Roberts mumbling about Superman never getting paid. This is when you have to move quick, and commandeer the in-store play choice, or the manager might sneak in Blessid Union of Souls. Or Space Jam. Or Jock Jams.
Oh wait- did I leave out that honky Bjork track?! Oops!! HONK!!!!!
Why did I listen to it again?!?