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July 31, 2002

Posted by Teresa at 12:05 AM *

If you’d asked me which city in the United States would turn up a heavy metal/speedmetal group that sings short bios of SF authors to further the cause of literacy, I would have said “Seattle”.

They exist: Blöödhag. Kevin Maroney pointed me at this one. They’ve got some MP3s up on their site. The only song I could get to play was Neal Stephenson, and I couldn’t make out a word of it.

Having also read their lyrics, I’d bet serious money that they know person-or-persons I know from my days in the Seattle SF community. Their songs are lively, crudely written, and display a familiarity with both the aboveground history and the low gossip of Our Beloved Genre. (Well, some of the gossip.) They even know about Bradbury’s crudzine beginnings. It’s not your standard reference-book fodder:

J. R. R. Tolkien

Who wrote the Hobbit, Two Towers and Return of the King…
J.R.R. Tolkien
Who wants to put Rankin/Bass’s ass in a sling…
J.R.R. Tolkien
The only fantasy I’d read to my children
But not the Silmarillion
Who wants to kill Ralph Bakshe for the Lord of the Rings…
J.R.R. Tolkien

Alfred Bester

Fifty dollar winner SF contest
proved Alfred Bester better than the rest
A few more stories pseudo-science non-stop
like the plot of the Bester book you couldn’t drop!
Wrote comics and radio on an eight year break
‘Til commercial TV proved more than he could take
He wrote the Green Lantern oath
He knew - what the Shadow knows!
When Campbell fell under L. Ron’s spell
Alfred said, “Man, you can fucking go to Hell”
Blöödhag think and drink to him still,
left his estate to his bartender in his will …
The Demolished Man!
The Stars My Destination!
Fondly Fahrenheit.

James Tiptree, Jr.

Surname from a brand of marmalade, Burst on the scene in ‘68
Influenced the Rolling Stones, whatever…
Can’t masquerade as a man forever
James Tiptree Jr.! James Tiptree Jr.! James Tiptree Jr.! James Tiptree Jr.!
Had a job at the Pentagon. Said “He” lived outside D.C.
But she almost blew his cover with The Women Men Don’t See!
James Tiptree Jr.! James Tiptree Jr.! James Tiptree Jr.! James Tiptree Jr.!
I Awoke And Found Me Here, On The Cold Hillside
Love Is the Plan, And The Plan Is Death!
Your Faces O My Sisters, Your Faces Filled With Light
These stories are too good to be written by a guy!
James Tiptree Jr.! James Tiptree Jr.! James Tiptree Jr.! James Tiptree Jr.!

Roger Zelazny

The page of New Wave bore Roger’s fresh face
Set the pace and taste for his time and place
In the Courts of Chaos Corwin struts in Amber
Only those of true lineage may walk the pattern
Bloody family feuds and a super computer in limbo
Don’t sleep without a pack of trumps under their pillow
Worlds of the fantastic - dense and specific, unscientific
New twists on old myths - man to God metamorphosis
So what his new hits ain’t as good or as thick,
It’s not his fault ‘Damnation Alley’ sucked shit
‘My name is Legion’ will leave no doubt,
or ‘The Doors of his Face, the Lamps of his Mouth’

Ray Bradbury

Pretty Good For Never Having Gone To College, Ray
But When I Saw You On TV I Felt You Owed Me An Apology
But Not For: Fahrenheit 451
Not For: Golden Apples of the Sun
Not For: Something Wicked This Way Comes
Not For: Martian Chronicles, Volume One

Harlan is going to kill them.
Comments on Blöödhag:
#1 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2002, 12:24 AM:

I seem to have forgotten to mention that Bloodhag were featured on Weekend Edition Sunday this past week. The article (yes! an NPR deep link!) is well worth hearing; it focuses at least as much on Bloodhag's habit of performing in libraries as on their songs.

#2 ::: Simon Shoedecker ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2002, 11:58 AM:

That's ... hysterically funny. Thanks.

The Tolkien lyrics seem to scan vaguely to the tune of the song "Mame". Very vaguely, but anyone who writes "Bakshe" or "Similrilian" can't be too picky.

#3 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2002, 01:14 PM:

I liked the way loading their web page popped up a little "Microsoft Internet Explorer Script Alert" reading, "Warning! May induce literacy!"

I think they may be trying to adapt to their new-found fame: the song links seem to go over to, where they have a profile, but no songs listed. Presumably samples will migrate over there eventually.

#4 ::: Johnzo ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2002, 01:46 PM:

Their live show is something to behold. They dress up in ripped black slacks, white shirts, red ties, and horned-rims. Two of them look like short, fat Cory Doctorows, and the other two look like tall, skinny Cory Doctorows.

They pelt the audience with paperback books. I've seen guys get hit in the head with _Ender's Game_ and girls spanked with _The Left Hand of Darkness_.

At one point during a show, they stopped playing and demanded that five members of the audience produce library cards before they would continue.

The songs are, as Teresa said, pretty much unintelligible, but their between-tunes patter is hilarious. "Allright, we're going to talk about Octavia Butler tonight! Like everyone in this room, Octavia Butler is a black woman genuis!" This is especially funny when you figure that the crowd at a typical thrash show is overwhelmingly white, male, and stupid.


#5 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2002, 07:35 PM:

As of this afternoon it's looking a certainty that we'll be moving permanently to Seattle. So I guess I'd better sign up for their mailing list or something. More info on how to find out about their shows is hereby solicited and crash space offered to out of townies making a pilgrimage.


#6 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2002, 09:18 PM:

I listened to the Wm. Gibson one--the other sound links send you to if you search for the song in question, then sign up there, it would appear you can then listen to or download the others. Musically it's pretty much generic death metal--but you gotta love the concept. And it still sounds better than a lot of filking...

#7 ::: Cassandra Phillips-Sears ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2002, 12:54 PM:

Why did they want to get their money back after they saw Bradbury on TV? I wasn't aware that he'd really ever been on TV in the first place.

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