Ask the members of Bobby Joe Ebola & the Children MacNuggits a serious question and you’re almost guaranteed to get a silly answer.
“We were originally an ill-conceived form of mating plumage,” said guitarist Dan Abbott of the group’s formation. “[Singer] Corbett [Redford] liked a girl and asked if his then-nonexistent band could play her birthday party. She called his bluff, but we wrote some songs and pulled it together somehow.”
The joking runs deep.
Ask about the band history and the last thing they’ll say is it formed in 1995 from the combined efforts of Abbott and Redford.
Ask why they vanished for most of the last decade, however, and the answer is surprisingly frank… sort of.
“We broke up just before Bush could turn political satire into breaking news,” Abbott said. “But someone disturbed our resting place and now we’re looking for the amulets that will allow us to rest.”
Reforming in 2009 meant returning again to performing live, which also meant reviving the band’s particular brand of backroom, raunchy pop-punk-rock.
Songs include the homemade desolation of “You Don’t Have to Die Alone,” and the sunny cha-cha absurdity of “Skin Cancer.”
If it sounds like the sounds of Bobby Joe Ebola aren’t readily classifiable, well, they aren’t.
“We’ve tried fitting in,” Abbott said. “It didn’t take.”
Often, the lyrics are built around jokes and spastically overblown wordplay.
Where they come from, though, remains a mystery hidden behind a smirk.
“Drugs come first. Then violence,” Abbott said of the writing process. “Then the music starts from somewhere and singing birds alight on our fingertips. Really it’s more about the tap dancing.”
The music that goes along can be equally playfully bizarre, but not all of the band’s point and counterpoint structure is intentional.
Occasionally, the music and words simply end up at odds.
“Sometimes it is a conscious choice, other times we hum a melody and put words to it,” Redford said.
Weirdness aside, Bobby Joe Ebola is catchy, in its curio-shop way.
Instead of letting the music draw in a live crowd, the band has devised another strategy for garnering a fan base for live shows — it just might be a tad illegal.
“Hostages help,” Redford said. “Usually, we only have to warn them not to leave. The danger in leaving always has to be worse than the show. Plus, we’ve tried bribery with those of our fan base in public office but we want to avoid conflicts of interest in the future.”
The next few months will see the band continue to tour, with an EP to follow next year.
Music videos have been promised for every song on their most recent album.
Just don’t ask what the band looks to accomplish in the future and hope to get a straight answer.
“Free food,” Redford said. “Maybe a shower.”
Above all, don’t wonder what the best reason is for people to come out and watch them perform.
The answer may not be what you were expecting.
“We’ve got your daughter,” Redford said. “We’re not kidding.”
BOBBY JOE EBOLA
When: Tonight at 10
Where: Little Kings Shuffle Club