Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits
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Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits

Oakland, California, United States | SELF

Oakland, California, United States | SELF
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""... basically peerless which means they have all of the spotlight in which to shine.""

To paraphrase Heath Ledger’s impression of a much-beloved sociopath, when and why did rock n’ roll get so serious? There once was a time when rock was THE great refuge of brilliant misanthropes who had to laugh at the dismal state of the world to keep themselves from either crying or scaling a bell tower with a high-powered rifle. There was a time when wits were honed to razor-keen edges and used to cut holes into listeners before wisdom was poured like salt into the wounds in hopes that the sudden shock would snap the public at large out of its’ self-imposed stupor – or at least piss them off enough that they’d pay attention. Satire was the currency that musicians like Frank Zappa, Jello Biafra, Mojo Nixon, Tesco Vee and Rodney Linderman had to impart upon listeners and, unlike so many other members of the pop spectrum, they required a modicum of intelligence of their listeners; many of them were making music that was characterized as “high stupid,” but they never catered to the lowest common intellectual denominator. When did that change? When was the intelligent music community beaten into submission by a faceless horde of songwriters more concerned with what brand of pants they’re wearing than they are about at least documenting the unmitigated mess that the world has become, if not shaking it up a little?

Judging by the band’s new album, Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits were asking themselves the same question when they began writing their new album. The band remained silent for ten years after first beginning to rock the pop culture boat between 1995 and 2000; they watched the movements of the music business and took notes. Now, in their final analysis, the band obviously found the sound being crammed down the public’s throat lacking; hence why this album is named after the notorious failing grade, F. This time the band’s satire is so sharp, it’ll cut your mouth if you’re not already cutting a broad enough grin as you listen. Here, the band is determined to undermine every convention within its’ reach and it takes no prisoners.

The band’s defiance of every established norm begins right away in the opening blitz of “The Crazy.” With acoustic guitars played so hard that they’re percussive instruments as much as the are melodic ones and unfaltering gang vocals for solidarity, Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits trample the meek (check out the promise to “shoot you at the first sign of infection” and the fear of mutation or disease at the hands of radiation) and damn the torpedoes without hesitation or remorse.

Of course, saying that is one thing, but actually pulling it off in a believable way is quite another. Happily, the decade-long sojourn has only concentrated Bobby Joe Ebola’s attack as illustrated by the fact that neither singer nor band ever really lets up through this thirteen-track run-time; like the unholy result of a drunken indiscretion that between Jello Biafra and Mojo Nixon, the band barks and spits a series of off-color indictments that take everything from Pop Tarts to Pac-Man to American politics to domestic terrorism into account as proof against the pitiful species that spawned it all. While no album is without its’ flaws and F is no exception, Bobby Joe and his Children MacNuggits manage to keep a consistently high standard of quality in kiss-offs like “Waking Up Is Hard To Do,” “Sandwiches & Ammunition,” “Sweet Shit Of Christ,” “Postcards From Inferno” and “The Only Difference” which are all staggeringly intelligent, yes, but also smart enough to not get bookish or overly academic; choosing instead to rely on one-liners and plays on words and phrases.

Taking all of what the band is working with into consideration, there’s no doubting that 2010 is the perfect time for Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits to release F. Had the record been released twenty-five years ago (suspend disbelief for a minute), there’s no arguing that the band would have been in fine company, but they would have had company – which would have meant they’d have had to share the spotlight with heavyweights like Mojo Nixon and The Dead Kennedys. This would have also been true had F been the last thing to come from the band before its’ hiatus ten years ago but now – at a time when some of the smartest commentary and criticism is being put forward by the craven likes of Weezer and Fucked Up (and Ed Hamell has basically taken himself out of the game) – Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits find themselves basically peerless which means they have all of the spotlight in which to shine. - Ground Control


""...one of the finest duos in underground history.""

On their first studio album in over 10 years, Bobby Joe Ebola and The Children MacNuggits have really grown. Sort of. Yes, they are still singing about zombies, mental illness, pop culture, mental retardation, and killing you. But F brings a (slightly) brighter light to this Oakland-based duo’s dueling personas as underground comedic and folk/punk legacy. It’s been over 15 years since these two eccentric beings released the now cult classic At One With The Dumb, so to put it nicely, the guys are “seasoned veterans.” Or as they might call themselves, “old as fuck.”

Death, as funny as it can be, has always had a subtle nuance in the MacNuggits songs. But, as the 90’s slide further away into the dark void of time, it seems to become a central theme for the guys. It is bloody obvious throughout the entire playlist of F. Tracks like “The Crazy”, “The Only Difference”, and “Postcards From Inferno (See You In Hell)” boast this theme with incredible precision. Even the juxtaposition title of the album’s final cut “Life Is Excellence”, a chorus-line worthy ode to how we are destroying our environment and drinking our own shit, is a bit pessimistic through its joyous feel. But, instead of crying like deranged Coldplay or U2 type storytellers, these guys never lose their sense of humor and humility when it comes to writing songs that expose all the horrible truths most of us try our damndest to avoid. The guys continue to laugh their way through this world with their signature “in your face” brand of anti-chaos oriented nonconformity.

The most notable difference in the new and (pretty much) improved Bobby Joe Ebola and The Children MacNuggits, is the obvious attention to detail in the production. It’s as if they give a shit! This is not to say their heads were never pointed in a professional direction in the past. But, it seems like F shows the group growing (old as fuck, remember) into a fully fledged band that is not solely hell bent on creating a fresh form of shock value. They now seem to what to have their proverbial cake and eat it too. But, they’re still not afraid to fart at the dinner table of success, thus making them one of the finest duos in underground history. - FensePost


Discography

* "F" - LP/CD/Digital (2010) - Silver Sprocket/S.P.A.M.

* "The 'Freaky Baby' Digital EP" (2010) - Silver Sprocket

* "¡Carmelita Sings!: Visions of a Rock Apocalypse" - CD (2000) - S.P.A.M. - Reissue on Thrillhouse & Silver Sprocket

* "Advice for Young Lovers" - Vinyl 7" split with band "Your Mother" (1999) - S.P.A.M.

* "At One With The Dumb" - CD (1997) - S.P.A.M.

* "Two Cats Running EP" - CD (1996) - S.P.A.M.


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Bio

Bobby Joe Ebola and The Children MacNuggits began in 1995, in a trash-strewn fast-food parking lot in Pinole, CA. Guitarist Dan Abbott and singer Corbett Redford rose from humble circumstances as a satiric folk rock band that played for friends to their current majestic heights with hilarious and sometimes frightening acoustic performances. The MacNuggits have gathered loyal legions of fans with their infamous combination of searing social satire, soaring harmonies, outlandish and shocking truths, and poop jokes. The songs draw upon a variety of pop culture, of global crises, of interpersonal labyrinths, of nightmares and daydreams, skewering them on a rusty spit for the world to see. With a nod to social satirists like Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, and musical influences ranging from Slick Rick to They Might Be Giants, Bobby Joe Ebola is the vaudeville routine for your personal apocalypse.

Bobby Joe Ebola began as a living room band, gaining underground notoriety as flagship band of S.P.A.M. Records, and co-founders of Geekfest, with longtime friend John Mink (better known as John Geek), who also provided occasional backup vocals. Lacking the blasting amplifiers of the punk and rock bands with whom they played, they found creative ways to react to the novelty band stigma, captivating audiences with unpredictable and high energy performances. Intensive touring schedules have taken them around the nation several times, and the Ebola boys have had the opportunity to play with a very diverse array of artists, both underground and mainstream including Screaming Females, The Frustrators (featuring Mike Dirnt from Green Day), NoMeansNo, Emilys Army, Bomb The Music Industry, !!! (pronounced Chk Chk Chk), Night Birds, Kim Lenz & Her Jaguars, Classics of Love (featuring Jesse Michaels of Op Ivy), Tornado Rider, Kyle Gass Band (featuring Kyle Gass of Tenacious D), Fleshies, Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven, Eddie Spaghetti of Supersuckers (solo), The Phenomenauts, Lemuria, Moon Zappa, Long Beach Dub All-Stars (ex-Sublime), Fishbone, Behead The Prophet, Cadillac Tramps, Star Fucking Hipsters, Kepi Ghoulie Band, Greg Attonito of Bouncing Souls (solo), Kevin Seconds, The Angry Samoans, Against All Authority, Your Mother, Hickey, Captured! By Robots and The Evaporators at venues such as The Independent (San Francisco), Cafe Du Nord (San Francisco), Rickshaw Stop (San Francisco), The Punchline (San Francisco), The New Parish (Oakland), Bottom of the Hill (S.F.), Slims (S.F.), Crest Theater (Sacramento), Phoenix Theater (Petaluma),924 Gilman Street (Berkeley), Spaceland (L.A.), The Uptown (Oakland) and ABCNORIO (New York).

Their first release, in 1996, was the Two Cats EP. It sold out very quickly (most were given away to local high schoolers) and was played frequently on Dr. Dementos radio show as well as college radio up and down the West Coast. The band followed their EP with the 1997 full length At One With The Dumb, a split 7 with Pleasanton hardcore punk band, Your Mother, and appearances on several compilations. During this time Bobby Joe Ebola embarked on the first of several regional and U.S. tours, partnering with bands like Harbinger (feat. members of Fleshies, Blatz, & Crimpshrine), and many others. The full-length masterpiece Carmelita Sings!: Visions of a Rock Apocalypse was released in 2000, went to #1 on KALX (Berkeley) and the band broke up shortly after.

While not together as a band, The MacNuggits kept themselves busy. Dan wrote and directed a rock opera for the stage called Day of the Zombie. He continues to play in Thee Hobo Gobbelins. Corbett spent his time releasing way too many records for the likes of Gravy Train!!!, Fleshies, Rock and Roll Adventure Kids and The Blast Rocks!!!, to name a few. He also sang for the Bay Area punk band, Neverending Party, released a few records with them.

In 2009, the band reformed and immediately began writing and recording new material, and in 2010 released the Freaky Baby EP, and shortly after, the full length album F. Both releases were picked up by San Francisco-based label Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club. The EPs title track was made into the bands first music video (directed by Emmy nominated film crew Bent Lens, and featuring acclaimed bicycle dance troupe The Bay Area Derailleurs), and has received nearly 30,000 online views.

Since the release of the critically-acclaimed F, which has found steady airplay on local college radio stations, the band has been hard at work filming music videos for each track on the album, with a DVD companion album due out in early 2012.

The release of these albums saw the Ebola boys playing over 80 local and semi-local shows in 2010, including regional tours to the West Coast, Northeast and Southeast, and Midwest, with notable appearances at The Fest in Gainesville, FL, Art Outside in Austin, TX , Snob Theater at Noise Pop in San Francisco, CA and others. 

Band Members