Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Yo Gabba Gabba calls for a Piebald Reunion

After seeing this yesterday I began to think about Piebald.

Once I decided that I would never make a living as the lead singer of a punk rock band, I chose to become an Elementary school teacher (which would become an English teacher which would become an English major, but that’s not the point). The point is that this allowed me to gain a much more complete appreciation of Piebald. Travis Shettle, sings on “King Of The Road,” the opening track on the band’s career highlight We Are The Only Friends That We Have, “John, well, he got married to Laura and I teach their kid in first grade.” I took it to heart.

Piebald’s early sound goes back to the mid 90’s Boston post-hardcore/emo scene that they were immersed in. What separated them from the crowd was their lyrical styling of goofball wit. Most notable of these early songs is “100 % Good” where Shettle croons “You can flip me over like a record or a turtle which ever you prefer. One way I'll keep spinning the other I'll die in the sun.” The culmination of this sound came on 1999’s If It Weren’t For Venetian Blinds It Would Be Curtains For Us All. The lyrics move to the forefront of a perfected sound. With song titles such as “All You Need Is Drums To Start A Dance Party” and “If Marcus Garvey Dies, Marcus Garvey Lives,” Venetian Blinds launched Piebald to the forefront of the emo movement. The epic “Grace Kelly With Wings,” which also features vocals from guitarist Aaron Stuart on one of the bridges, stands as my favorite Piebald track.

In 2002, We Are The Only…saw the band’s sound switch to a much more riff-based rock n’ roll. And Travis established himself as one of the wittiest song-writers of his time:

“If you're bored than you must be boring too. Did I st-st-st-st-stutter?”

“A towel on his head after jumping off the pier, Rama said I looked like a Kennedy.”

“Can you please get off my coast and coat? I would like to leave. This is why I hate credit cards. Little body mighty hand.”

“It's just like liquor stores, mailboxes and pay phones. Whenever you need them they are impossible to find.”

I got to see Piebald twice before they broke up in 2008 (though I missed out on the last Chicago show). The second of these was the first time they were using their grease powered tour van. Great dudes.

After seeing Yo Gabba Gabba presenting these rock n’ roll songs to little kids, I couldn’t help but get sentimental for Piebald. Especially the song “Put Your Slippers On Instead”—which should be used as a lesson for all growing boys and girls.

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