Devo Spice is a nerdcore and comedy rapper from New Jersey who has been called "the red-headed stepson of Weird Al Yankovic and Eminem." His demented brand of hip hop made him one of the most popular artists on the nationally syndicated Dr. Demento Show. Devo Spice founded the comedy rap group Sudden Death whose songs "Cellular Degeneration", "Getting Old Sucks" and "Pillagers" were the numbers 1, 2, and 4 most requested songs on Dr. Demento in 2007. In 2012 Devo Spice's song "In The 80s" was the 4th most requested song of the year.
Devo Spice performs regularly across the country at music clubs, comedy clubs, and science fiction conventions. He has shared the stage with Dr. Demento, MC Lars, MC Frontalot, Jonathan Coulton, Paul and Storm, and many others. The live show features videos and animations synchronized with the music resulting in a hilarious show that goes over very well with a variety of audiences.
Sudden Death broke onto the scene in 2002 when their song Dead Rappers became a hit on the Dr. Demento Show. Devo Spice also teamed up with The Great Luke Ski that year on Luke's song Peter Parker which went on to become the most requested song of the year. In 2003 Sudden Death hit it big on Dr. Demento with Ozzman, a backhanded tribute to the Prince Of F'ing Darkness.
2005 was a breakthrough year for Sudden Death on Dr. Demento when they had 2 songs in the top 10 at the end of the year with Spam at #10 and Inner Voice at #1. Then in 2007 Sudden Death produced a constant stream of hits on the show resulting in his songs ending up #1, #2, and #4 most requested songs of the year. Devo Spice also appeared as a guest vocalist on the #5 most requested song of the year.
In 2007 Sudden Death became a Core member of The Funny Music Project, or The FuMP (http://www.thefump.com) which releases 2 songs every week for free under a Creative Commons license. Devo Spice continues to release new songs there as they are completed.
In late 2008 Devo Spice decided to drop the group name Sudden Death due to rising confusion with other bands using that name.
On April 1st, 2011 Devo Spice released his first CD not branded under the name Sudden Death and it went to number #28 on the Hip Hop charts on iTunes. The album titled "Gnome Sane?" has been called "his best work to date" by RapReviews.com.
For more information on Devo Spice please visit his web site at: http://www.devospice.com.
Tom "Devo Spice" Rockwell - lead vocals, lyrics, music.
Thom "The Professor" Uliasz - music, background vocals.
(note: releases from before 2009 were credited to Sudden Death)
"Gnome Sane?" (2011)
"Fatal Error" (2008)
"Die Laughing" (2005)
"Fatal Accident Zone" (2002)
"A Christmas Tail" - The FuMP Volume 36 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"South Park Junkie (2012)" - The FuMP Volume 35 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"In The 80s" - The FuMP Volume 34 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"All In My Tights" - The FuMP Volume 33 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"Devo, Are You Shoebox?" - The FuMP Volume 32 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"Friday (the 13th)" - The FuMP Volume 31 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"I Am The Doctor" - The FuMP Volume 30 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"How To Sing" - The FuMP Volume 29 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"The Dumbest Song On Rock Band" - The FuMP Volume 27 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"Weird Al Didn't Write This Song - Twenty-Six And A Half, The Weird Al Tribute (www.weirdaltribute.com)
"Earworm" featuring MC Lars - The FuMP Volume 26 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"Enhanced" - The FuMP Volume 25 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"Nothin' But A Geek Thang" - The FuMP Volume 24 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"Half-Assed Rapper" - The FuMP Volume 24 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"I Hate Mondays" - The FuMP Volume 21 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"Flight Check" - The FuMP Volume 20 (FIDIM Interactive LLC)
"Disclaimer" - The FuMP Volume 20 (FIDIM Interactive LLC)
"I'm Not Your Personal IT Guy" - Rhyme Torrents 9 (RhymeTorrents.org)
"I'm Not Your Personal IT Guy" - The FuMP Volume 19 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"Ho Is On The Rag" - The FuMP Volume 18 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"Platform Wars" - The FuMP Volume 16 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"Why Are You Friending Me On Facebook? - The FuMP Volume 15 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC)
"Life In The Fleet" - The FuMP Volume 13 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2009)
"Lean Christmas" - The FuMP Volume 12 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2009)
"PC Halloween" - The FuMP Volume 11 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2008)
"Busted" - The FuMP Volume 11 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2008)
"PC Halloween" - Rhyme Torrents Halloween 3.0 (RhymeTorrents.org)
"Brain Food" - The FuMP Volume 10 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2008)
"The Geeks Come Out At Night" - The FuMP Volume 9 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2008)
"Cellular Degeneration" - Dr. Demento's Basement Tapes 16 (2008)
"Why Can't I Shoot The Dog?" - The FuMP Volume 8 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2008)
"Bacon 2: Electric Boogaloo"- The FuMP Volume 8 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2008)
"Take Back The Music" - The FuMP Volume 7 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2008)
"My Atari" - The FuMP Volume 6 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2007)
"Longer" - The FuMP Volume 6 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2007)
"Blood Guts and Boobs" - The FuMP Volume 5 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2007)
"Getting Old Sucks" - The FuMP Volume 4 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2007)
"I'm On It (Wikipedia)" - The FuMP Volume 4 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2007)
"Pillagers" - The FuMP Volume 3 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2007)
"Give It To Everybody" - The FuMP Volume 2 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2007)
"World Robot Domination" - The FuMP Volume 2 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2007)
"Pac-Man" - The FuMP Volume 1 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2007)"
"Cellular Degeneration" - The FuMP Volume 1 (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2007)
"Reign Of Error" - Technobabble (FIDIM Interactive, LLC, 2006)
"Spam" - Dr. Demento's Basement Tapes 14 (2006)
"Ozzman" - Now Hear This (Futurama Records- 2005)
"Inner Voice" - Dr. Demento's Basement Tapes 13 (2005)
"Dead Rappers" - Dr. Demento's Basement Tapes 11 (2003)
"Peter Parker" (duet with the great Luke Ski) - Dr. Demento's Basement Tapes 11 (2003)
"South Park Junkie" - Dr. Demento's Basement Tapes 7 (1999)
Awards, Achievements, and Festivals:
"In The 80s" - 4th most requested song of 2012 on The Dr. Demento Show
"I Am The Doctor" - Finalist for 2011 Logan Award for Outstanding Original Comedy Song
Gnome Sane? - Reached #28 on the Hip Hop charts on iTunes when it was released on April 1, 2011
Nerdapalooza - Featured performer in 2011
"I Hate Mondays" - #23 most requested song of 2010 on The Dr. Demento Show
Nerdapalooza - Featured performer in 2010
"Disclaimer" - Selected for 2010 This Week In Science fund raiser CD
Nerdapalooza - Featured performer in 2009
"Platform Wars" - #4 most requested song of 2009 on
Nerdapalooza - Featured performer in 2008
"Cellular Degeneration" - Most requested song of 2007 on The Dr. Demento Show.
"Getting Old Sucks" - 2nd most requested song of 2007 on The Dr. Demento Show.
"Pillagers" - 4th most requested song of 2007 on The Dr. Demento Show
"Inner Voice" - Most requested song of 2005 on The Dr. Demento Show
"Spam" - 10th most requested song of 2005 on The Dr. Demento Show
"Ozzman" - 6th most requested song of 2003 on The Dr. Demento Show
In The 80s
I Am The Doctor
Reign Of Error
I Hate Mondays
Devo Spice :: Gnome Sane?
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Dr. Demento's reigning king of hip-hop humor is Devo Spice, also known as the front man of the rap p...Dr. Demento's reigning king of hip-hop humor is Devo Spice, also known as the front man of the rap parody band Sudden Death. Over time it became obvious that Devo Spice is to Sudden Death as KRS-One is to Boogie Down Productions - the latter simply doesn't exist without the former. This led to a low-key rebranding where Spice put himself at the forefront, which honestly makes perfect sense when looking at the liner notes to his latest CD "Gnome Sane?" Spice, also known as Tom Rockwell, is large and in charge on the majority of this 19 song CD handling lyrics, music and vocals all in one fell swoop. That's not to say there aren't cameo appearances and a few guest producers (we'll get to that) but it's pretty clear here that Spice isn't taking over the name as an ego thing. In fact if any rappers have puffed up egos about their importance in hip-hop, Spice's parodies are bound to take them down a peg or two. Take for example "I Hate Mondays," Spice's response to Asher Roth:
"I only got college for another three weeks
Trying to pass, I cheat off the geeks
For that to work I have to get to class
Which means, I really have to move my ass
So fill up my cup, coffee straight up
I drive in a daze like huh, who, what?
I make it to class but don't feel great
A one hour class, I'm fifty minutes late
Got a pop quiz, don't know what the topic is
Gonna have to take it, guess I'll just fake it
I see the worried faces, all over the places
Pray to three gods just to cover all the bases"
"I Hate Mondays" is the perfect antithesis to the college frat boy party life that Roth espouses, showing the consequences of being hungover, graduating with a low GPA, and winding up in an unsatisfying dead-end job. It's not really intended as a morality play though - just a humorous send-up of Roth's carefree lifestyle. Spice takes after Weird Al Yankovic in that his parodies aren't spiteful or mean-spirited - they just take three decades of hip-hop for a spin on the merry-go-round. Where it stops is not a mystery though - the song titles are your guide. "The Geeks Come Out at Night" featuring The Great Luke Ski flips Whodini into a tale of a comic book con gone wrong, but Spice could only be intimately familiar with the foibles from having been to a few himself. That's also why "Nothin' But a Geek Thang" featuring Worm Quarter works so well: he's making fun of himself and the occasionally pretentious nerdcore rap set at the same time. Like most Yankovic parodies, the beat is just different enough to get away with it but just familiar enough to get the point across. Oh, but did I tell you "Weird Al Didn't Write This Song" or any of the others? Maybe Spice is a little tired of the comparisons:
"I've got all the porn I can get, so now I'm searchin 'round the net
for some Metallica albums I haven't downloaded yet
They've had more misses than hits lately and greatly gone soft
But I do it just because I know it pisses them off
I go on another hunt and check another locale
for stuff I want and find a folder titled OLDER WEIRD AL
It's news to me but here's an early Billy Joel parody about buggary
called "It's Still Just a Hole to Me"
Believe me when I tell you the shock value astounds
It's a catchy little tune using crappy MIDI sounds
Recorded by a teen working in a machine shop
And the singer sounds like William Hung gargling a mop
How could anyone think Al had this done?
Oh right, the average IQ online is 81
So I give up, I don't even try to understand why
these songs are written by this WIRED Al YANKOVICH guy!"
Devo Spice isn't bothered by the comparisons to Weird Al at all - he's bothered by all the songs that get mislabeled as Al parodies that aren't. He's not exaggerating - there are thousands and thousands of mislabeled songs on the internet the Al-ster never did. The song serves another good point though - Spice's original material can be just as good and in some cases funnier than his parodies. His duet with Luke Ski called "Platform Wars" was the #4 most requested song on the Dr. Demento show in all of 2009, and it's a send up of all those "I'm a Mac - and I'm a PC" TV commercials that seem to have mercifully come to an end. It's among the non self-produced tracks on the album, as T. Uliasz steps in for a spell. Although Luke and Spice have fun taking potshots at each other in their respective roles, Linux REALLY gets taken to task by both when he tries to jump in (as played by Dual Core). I won't spoil it for you - you can check out the song's music video for yourself.
To this point we've clearly established that Devo Spice is a funny dude, whether as part of Sudden Death or on his own, and that "Gnome Sane?" is some of his best work to date. To be fair though there are a few caveats. Since Spice is a really nice guy, the barbs that might sting the sharpest are never really fired out of the quill. He's happy making fun of Twitter and of being broke on Christmas, but there's no song about Lindsay Lohan being a Hollywood lush or Perez Hilton being a self-absorbed pop culture blogger, and so on. He's almost too nice for his own good. And then there is the production - which most of the time is just fine and occasionally falls a little flat. That's why even though I could see where he was going with his parody of Drake's "Fancy" on "Enhanced," I didn't dig it much. His send-up of Eminem on "Not Amused" fares a little better but still doesn't quite go as far as it could have if the bite were JUST an iota tighter.
The point is that those who are into parody, humor and a lighthearted take on nerdy subjects will appreciate "Gnome Sane?" a great deal, and Sudden Death fans will be 100% on board. For those hearing Spice for the first time, starting at random could be a disaster, so it's best to hit them with "I Hate Mondays" right off the top - the album's best parody. Gradually you can get them on board with the rest of what this CD has to offer. There are more hits than misses, and the stumbling blocks are not trainwrecks or utter disasters, so overall "Gnome Sane?" is a great album for people who take hip-hop too seriously that could use a little break from the same old thuggin' and buggin'.
Nerdy Rapper is Funny, Too
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HAMBURG — Tom Rockwell of Hamburg was one of 50 comedy musicians who performed in the New York Funny...HAMBURG — Tom Rockwell of Hamburg was one of 50 comedy musicians who performed in the New York Funny Songs Fest. The event, held over the course of four days in early June, showcased comedy musicians in eight locations on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Rockwell, a Web programmer for Verizon during the week, dons his custom-made baseball cap and irreverent T-shirt and performs his musical comedy on the weekends under the name Devo Spice.
Rockwell developed his stage name from a childhood experience on a family trip to Florida. “When I was in Florida, I was watching a bunch of break dancers,” explained Rockwell. “One guy was beat boxing and I heard someone else talking about his spice, referring to his sound and how cool it was. It never caught on, and I never heard it again. It may have been local to Florida. Devo is short for devastating. It should be Deva because the way devastating is spelled, but I didn't want to be Deva Spice.”
His musical and comical tastes and talents developed concurrently. “When I was a kid I always enjoyed parodies and silly songs. Rap was the first style of music I ever really liked. I started writing my own raps,” said Rockwell. He has rapped recreationally since 1986, but got serious about making a business out of his musical comedy talent about 12 years ago.
“I created a Web site and started performing regularly. I got gigs at science fiction conventions all around the country. I have songs about Dr. Who, Star Trek and other nerdy topics like that. Because some of it is nerdy I could get a foot in the door at science fiction conventions.”
Rockwell’s everyday experiences inspire his song writing. “A lot is about computer problems,” said Rockwell. “Whenever my computer crashes it is fodder for my songs.” He has done songs on road rage, airline delays and bad roommates. “I wrote a song called “The Mouth” about an ex-roommate of mine. He wouldn't shut it (his mouth) and he ate everything in the house.”
On the road
No gig is too big or too small for Rockwell. “I did a club in New York City with two other bands and nobody came; literally nobody came,” said Rockwell. “Me and these two other bands, and nobody came to see any of us. I performed for them, and then they performed for me. We had a good time and we went home.”
Not all of his gigs have been indoors. “I performed on a street corner in Harlem once. It was for the New York Marathon. Organizers booked artists to perform along the route of the marathon. It was great.”
Rockwell attracted a nationwide audience through the "Dr. Demento" comedy music show. Demento specializes in playing novelty and comedy songs, such as the parodies by Al Yankovic, in his radio broadcasts. Demento’s show has moved to an Internet format. “I had my music played on a "Dr. Demento" show and had huge success,” said Rockwell. “In 2007 I had the number one most requested song of the year, the number two most requested song of the year, the number four most requested song of the year and I was featured on song number five. Weird Al hasn't even done that.”
His largest audience was more than 1,000 people at World Con, the world science fiction convention in Reno, Nevada, last August. He performed at Dragon Con in Atlanta, a general sci-fi convention that attracted many Star Trek and Star Wars fans, where he was one of musical guests. “I wasn't even on the stage. I was in a walkway between rows of meeting rooms.” He started out surrounded by a few dozen fans who came specifically to see him perform. More and more convention attendees heard his comedy rap and stopped to listen.
“By the end of it there had to be 300 people watching my show, which was fantastic.”
Rockwell performed at Nerd A Palooza in Florida and Key Con in Manitoba. Canada. “I'll go anywhere,” said Rockwell. “The only rule is no two weekends in a row.”
“Gnome Sane” is Rockwell’s latest album. “It is a play on the hip-hop phrase ‘do you know what I am saying’ which gets shortened to gnome saying, two syllables. “I did something a little different when I promoted it. Every two days I put out a track from the album.” He told his fans to buy the complete album on April 1 on iTunes. “The deal was if you bought the album on iTunes and send me the receipt to prove it, I sent you a physical CD. It worked. On April 1 my album went to 28 on the hip-hop charts on iTunes. It only lasted for an hour or two but it happened and I have proof.”
DEVO SPICE - Gnome Sane?
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Tom Rockwell aka Devo Spice needs no introduction if you're a fan of the Dr. Demento show or an afic...Tom Rockwell aka Devo Spice needs no introduction if you're a fan of the Dr. Demento show or an aficionado of nerdcore (a genre primarily composed of comedic rap songs.) But if you haven't heard of him, get ready for a good chuckle. With a deadpan delivery, sampled beats (that often turn into clever mashups,) a sharp wit, and a plethora of nerdist pop-culture references, Devo Spice wrings humor from our technology-obsessed day to day lives. If there's a knock, it's that he often visits the same territory twice: There are songs about nerds and geeks, Christmas and Halloween, Twitter and Facebook. But Rockwell (along with a stellar cast of nerdcore guest stars, including Worm Quartet, the Great Luke Ski, MC Lars, and YT Cracker) hits the mark more often than he misses. Pick hits: "Platform Wars" (Mac vs PC), "I'm Not Your Personal IT Guy," and probably the ultimate nerdcore in-joke, " Weird Al Didn't Write This Song."
Review of Fatal Error (2008)
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Sudden Death – aka Hamburg, NJ-based comedy/rapper Tom Rockwell – is back with another album of lo-f...Sudden Death – aka Hamburg, NJ-based comedy/rapper Tom Rockwell – is back with another album of lo-fi old school beats and laugh-out-loud lyrics about our modern over-technologized, underperforming world. Pharmaceuticals, encroaching middle age, horror flicks, and that awful new flu bug that’s going around are just a few of this targets. It helps to get all the jokes if you’re well-versed in scifi and computer-geek speak, especially when Rockwell starts rapping about robots and RAM bytes. The beats here may not make Timbaland lose any sleep, but they keep the flow moving and give the album enough musical depth that you’re likely to listen to this more than once, unlike a lot of comedy albums.
Sudden Death has been knocking around since 1990 but unless you’re a faithful listener of Dr. Demento’s syndicated radio show (where Rockwell is one of the most requested acts in the 37-year history of the show,) you’ve probably never heard of the guy. Well, listen up, yo; this shit be funny.
Picklehead Music on Fatal Accident Zone (2002)
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Okay, we'll admit it up front. Normally we don't listen to a lot of rap music here at the Picklehead...Okay, we'll admit it up front. Normally we don't listen to a lot of rap music here at the Picklehead Mansion. We're not sure why - we just don't. But when we listened to this CD from these rappers from New Jersey, we nearly fell off our Picklehead Thrones. As featured on Dr. Demento and other radio stations around the country, this new CD features great rappin' comedy. ... And as a special bonus, this CD even includes some bonus CD-ROM material for your computer!
Torpedo Magazine on Fatal Accident Zone (2002)
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The latest CD from these Dr. Demento regulars featuring geeky comedy rhymesmith Tom Rockwell and wh...The latest CD from these Dr. Demento regulars featuring geeky comedy rhymesmith Tom Rockwell and whoever the hell he feels like working with. This is a collection of rap parodies (Jay-Z, Kid Rock, and the Fat Boys are among those who take it on the nose,) and hysterical originals. Very witty and clever stuff tackling such worthy topics as Hangnails, the Superfriends, New Jersey ("The state symbol is Calvin urinating on a Ford truck",) and one somewhat serious standard "everything on the radio sucks" soapbox song. The high point, in my humble-yet-published-in-this-magazine opinion, is "Dead Rappers," an incredibly funny rant about how hip hop artists continue releasing albums despite the minor handicap of being deceased ("I got some advice for those who hate Eminem, don't kill him cuz then you'll never get rid of him.") ...I still recommend the hell out of this disc. -RS
Dr. Demento Reviews Unplugged (1998)
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Review by Dr. Demento. Sudden Death, which has been circulating home-made tapes for a decade, broke...Review by Dr. Demento. Sudden Death, which has been circulating home-made tapes for a decade, broke through this year with the Funny Five hit "South Park Junkie." Sudden Death's first CD may still sound a little like a cassette, but Tom Rockwell's comic raps are pure delight. He's funny, and fun to listen to even if you hate most rap music. Includes "The Mouth," "Silicon Valley" and a cover of Weird Al's "Happy Birthday." Guest appearances by fellow home-tapers Mr. Zipp and the great Luke Ski. Printed lyrics included.
Devo Spice can perform sets ranging from 15 minutes to an hour. His live show features a fully self-contained multimedia rig which sets up and breaks down very quickly.
The songs performed vary depending on the venue. For shows at science fiction conventions the songs tend to be nerdier while shows at clubs tend to feature songs that will appeal to a broader audience.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.