The Battle of the Romantically Dysfunctional Songwriters
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The Battle of the Romantically Dysfunctional Songwriters

Band Comedy Singer/Songwriter


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"Mercury News Review"

The worlds of comedy and music collided this last Saturday, June 25th at Cafecito in downtown San Jose for The Battle Of The Romantically Dysfunctional Songwriters featuring Phil “Screaming Psycho” Johnson vs. Chris “Emotional Wreck” Valenti. Their tag team performance left the capacity audience exhausted and with sore cheeks from non-stop laughter.

San Jose's own Phil Johnson (who also leads the band Roadside Attraction) opened the show with a bluegrass tune about co-dependent
rednecks, called “Hillbilly Love” and the two were off and running,
trading songs about one ridiculous love story after another. For the
next hour and a half the audience was kept in stitches. Chris Valenti,
an LA resident, sung to the crowd about waiting for a date at a
Starbucks for two hours only to find out it was the wrong Starbucks… on
the right street.

Part of what kept the show interesting was that Phil and Chris approach the funny world of love and romance from completely different directions. Chris Valenti’s songs are stories of hilarious heartbreak told from his personal point of view, and are very much “regular guy screws up” type stories. Phil Johnson’s songs portray a collection of bizarre characters from the love-struck psycho killer to the dark exotic romantic stranger who turns out to be a pervert with a “premature” problem. The two very different approaches to the same kinds of subject matter kept the show moving at a brisk pace.

They ended the show with their respective most popular songs. Phil’s “Whale Blubber” and Chris’s “Booty Call”. Since it was a battle, there was certainly a prize. During the evening, everyone in the audience signed a condolence card to be awarded to the girlfriend of the winner (read: loser). The audience seemed evenly split among the combatants and so the card was torn in half and given to each performer.

The quality of the entertainment was top notch and very different from anything else being offered around town. Songwriters with this light a look at life are hard to come by. I hear the next battle will be taking place in San Diego, but Phil and Chris promised to bring another episode to San Jose soon.

Four Stars **** - San Jose Mercury News

"Gilroy Dispatch Review"

Dubbing themselves the Romantically Dysfunctional Songwriters, Chris Valenti and Phil "Screaming Psycho" Johnson played their dysfunction to a "T." Tweeked is their humor with songs such as, "Hey Little Goth Girl," "Whale Blubber," "Don't Pass Out," and my favorite, "Passive-Aggressive." If you missed last week, comedy night at the Playhouse is every fourth Thursday of the month. Show up early, the house sells out. - Girloy Dispatch

"East Bay Express Review"

Mr. Lonely

The difference between Milpitas-based songwriter Phil Johnson and Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Chris Valenti is simple. Johnson has been in a committed relationship for fourteen years. He even wrote a gag piece about how his really hot, supersmart girlfriend is trying to get him to marry her, though he wonÕt give a definitive answer until he gets a little more mileage out of the gag.

In contrast, Valenti canÕt keep a woman to save his life. Johnson vehemently defends his friend and insists that we not blame Valenti for always playing the jilted lover. ItÕs not that he keeps a messy house, or scares women away with, say, his deodorant crystal or his collection of taxidermied kittens. Johnson says heÕs actually slept on ValentiÕs couch many times, and can vouch that the place was kosher. And itÕs not as though Valenti is socially maladjusted. ÒHeÕs a pretty straightforward guy, Ó Johnson assures, adding that Valenti is actually Òprobably more socially well adjusted than I am.Ó HeÕs just not looking at the right women. Granted, Johnson says, Valenti lives in Los Angeles, and thereÕs no shortage of bad women there. Either that, or Valenti just is one of those guys who canÕt seem to evade his own misfortune. The dude even has a song about waiting for a date at Starbucks, only at the wrong Starbucks on the right street.

Nothing ever seems to work out. ÒI think if he had a good relationship it would blow his career anyway,Ó Johnson offers. ÒHeÕs very much taken a more positive approach to things, billing himself as a relationship expert who never quite got to the happy ending. His goal is to help all the other people who canÕt get a relationship, and let them know theyÕre not alone.Ó Granted, Valenti can be a little neurotic. But thatÕs a point of contention. ÒI donÕt know,Ó Johnson admits. ÒIÕve never dated him.Ó

Phil Johnson and Chris Valenti star in The Battle of the Romantically Dysfunctional Songwriters, a mock battle where the audience gets to vote who is more dysfunctional after each round. Then winner gets a condolence card addressed to his girlfriend (real or imaginary), and signed by everyone in the audience. Thus, Johnson says, the big winner is actually the biggest loser.
- Rachel Swan, East Bay Express - Rachel Swan


Phil Johnson/Roadside Attraction
Three Chords, A Red Shirt, And A Dream - DVD/CD
Raising A Rockus - DVD/CD
I Know I Shouldn't Say This, But... CD/DVD
A Nut Unbroken - CD
Ribbed For Your Pleasure - CD

Chris Valenti and the Emotional Wrecks
Emotional Wreck - CD
Live at Ghengis Cohen - CD
Sensitive Johnson - Feature Length Film
800 CDs - Documentary Film



The Dysfunctional Romantics pits Phil Johnson and Chris Valenti against that nemesis of happiness everywhere… Love. Finding it, keeping it, and dealing with the monster once you've got it. Wielding guitars as their weapons of comedy, Chris and Phil lampoon every romantic situation possible in their hilarious tag-team show.

Phil Johnson isn't angry. Even when he's crooning horrible thoughts about an ex-girlfriend or calling out your co-workers for what they really are, it's done with warmth and a knowing glance that it's all in good fun. He's neither an insider, nor an outsider, but the guy standing in the doorway watching both groups and laughing at everyone's foibles, including his own.

Phil Johnson deftly wields his guitar, spinning out one funny scenario after another. Far beyond the strumming/storytelling and parody style of other comedians his songs are all original, and written to include the music as an integral part of the story. His shows have been called "choreographed frenzy" and his easy, mellow command of the stage turns completely demented on a dime. It's a show with variety, energy, and originality that definitely pushes the boundaries.

Armed with a degree in music, years of experience leading his band Roadside Attraction, and a friendly and playful sense of humor, Phil Johnson knows well what it takes to entertain an audience. But beyond just entertainment, Phil seeks to actually communicate something important… That life is just not as serious as we all think.

If you've ever been frustrated by a relationship and you have a somewhat twisted, sometimes evil, but very healthy sense of humor, then Chris Valenti is the artist for you.

He's a relationship expert. His show is part music, part comedy, part therapy, and part romance - as well as action, adventure, mystery and sometimes horror. A philosopher of love - usually, the kind of love that did not exactly make it to that 'happily ever after' place, Chris writes and performs songs that touch upon the universal truths of the sometimes frustrating, but often ridiculously funny life of single people.

Songs like Passive Aggressive about the cute little problems that get blown out of proportion in every dysfunctional relationship and The Ghost of Your Ex about dates who can't stop talking about their ex-boyfriends strike close to home for those who can not seem to reel in the full attention of their present partner. Don't Pass Out is a plea and warning to men and women everywhere to curb excessive drinking, especially on first dates. The song It's Hard to Find Someone Good Enough For Me nails the single person's core issue head on - and was featured on The Dr. Phil Show. Everyone Can Be Replaced is a positive look at the end of relationships as well as the happiest break-up song ever written. Most shows end with Chris's new approach to women, Booty Call.

A gifted songwriter and wry comedian, Chris has the knack for using self-deprecation and vulnerability to write songs about the hazards and frustrations of love and attempted relationships. He's become a spokesperson for the unlucky in love.

The Dysfunctional Romantics is a show that involves the audience right from the beginning and holds them rapt and laughing until the very end. Because the best cure for a broken heart is laughter.