If there’s one GMO that I hate most, it’s General Music Obtuseness: when audiences grapple at the music they ‘love’ so much for the least amount of money. I understand saving toward important things, but I once overheard someone say “you’ll pay three dollars a day for coffee, but you won’t spend money on music.” I think this is generational, but Koo Koo Kanga Roo might just be one of the groups able to change the future of the music industry, fans first. They provide comic books, interactive stage shows and affordable (some free) music available online.
I’m one of the youngest members on staff; sometimes that gives me an advantage in being able to relate and tap into the younger demographic’s mind-set. With Koo Koo Kanga Roo, I am at a loss. This band is unique in such a way that they may just bridge the painfully awkward gap between fifth and sixth grade. I don’t mean to imply that they are juvenile, I mean to say it outright. They have transcended the hipster danger-zone; the perfect example of the Simpson’s line about sarcasm. I don’t know if they’re being sarcastic either, but they’re having fun, people are having fun with them and that is more than enough for me to commend them.
“We’re a dance-duo, so we don’t have any instruments in our band, we have an iPod and dance-moves instead.” -Koo Koo Kanga Roo
“It’s an easy way to differentiate yourself from the rest the pile, that’s why we started this band, cause we were a real band before and were getting lost in the mix, what can we do to stand out? And Warped Tour is like a microcosm of that— I always say “there are 50 bands here and we’re not one of them, we’re a dance duo” and that’s different. So that definitely helps, and we’re able to get people to come to the show based on that idea that it’s something different than you’ll see the rest of the day. We’re as much a comedy show as a dance show.”
Their most recent album is entitled Gross, and covers topics such as pimples, boogers and poop. Reminiscent of elementary health classes or the book Everybody Poops, this album is surreptitiously cringe-worthy and poppy. The content makes me cringe, because I like to deal with my poop and snot like any respectable adult: disposing of it where nobody will find. Interestingly enough, I feel that (whether intentional or not) this album is a commentary on the prudish nature we all succumb to as adults. Can we not pop pimples in peace? Will we never again fart and laugh without deep-seated self-hate? I suggest that you give it a listen and reflect. I won’t lie, but this is my least favorite album of theirs. Whoopty Whoop, however, is severely fun.
When asked how regular their bowel movements have been on tour, they had this to say: “Yea it’s really nice because on tour you get catering and it is all very well balanced, and you get a little bit of every food group— I feel like at home I eat worse, so things get a little crazy at home… Timings been perfect, no number two on the bus— so you gotta make sure you hold it and make it happen when you get to the venue during the day. If (you have to go) you have to get a bag and line the toilet and go that way.”
I’m partial to lyrics, and Whoopty Whoop has concise, silly lyrics that I can relate to: “I’ve got cheese on my fingers” and “You look good when you wear a fannypack.” The beats are clicky, the vocals are clear and easy on the ears, while the composition as a whole constitutes a fun, goof-filled album that is danceable, singable and memorable.
I had the pleasure of meeting the duo during Vans’ Warped Tour 2015, and that was when I realized how much like GWAR this group is. These fellows are smart, and use that intellect toward having fun and creating. Sure, the demographic overlap is probably slim, but I stand by my comparison. I would also refer to the wide reach of MC Lars or MC Chris, both artists (and many who share the nerd-core umbrella) who have songs directly targeting the very young. For decades, perhaps even since before the modern age of music, artists seem uninterested in those who don’t have the money for their music; but let’s face it, nobody is spending money on music.
“We have not yet played, and maybe don’t wanna play, a nursing home. I think it’d be good for the video— just for the footage of it. We pride ourselves on playing for little kids and adults, but can we get up into the senior-citizen category?”
These groups, including Koo Koo Kanga Roo, could very well be the pioneers that we need in bringing children modern, well-made music which seems to cater to them. They don’t care that these kids aren’t dishing out loads of money (considering that they provide some of their music for free online), nor do they seem concerned of critics (seeing how MuesProductions ragged on them pretty badly in this First Impressions, and these guys took it all in stride).
If we, as music fans, want to cultivate a thriving musical industry for the future (and our children), then bands like Koo Koo Kanga Roo are vital. They teach children the value of music which is for them. Like the last time Gerard Way came out with an album, I felt special, as if he was still making music for just me. When the young fans of Koo Koo Kanga Roo are old enough to get allowance or a part-time job babysitting they will know, more than my generation, that there is music out there for them, and they will pay for it. When I grew up, it was listening to our parent’s music and whatever happened to be on the radio. While Koo Koo Kanga Roo might not make radio-play, they have a very real chance at being played over (and over and over and over) again on kids’ tiny iPods. Perhaps instead of saving up for the next new phone (like I do), the kids of tomorrow will actually spend money on the music that their favorite artists are creating and, in turn, those artists will be able to afford creating the best music they can.
If I had an award for most altruistic band of the year, Koo Koo Kanga Roo would be the one. I suggest that you listen to them, if at the very least to see how interesting music can be, even if it’s not catering to you. Furthermore, find some kids and let them listen, I’m sure they’ll find it a nice break from the watered-down top 40. Perhaps it will allow them to find their own musical identity apart from their siblings and parents.
ST. PAUL, MN – 9/06
MINNESOTA STATE FAIR
89.3 THE CURRENT BOOTH – 1PM – FREE W/FAIR ADMISSION – AA
DULUTH, MN – 9/11
TWIN PORTS BRIDGE FESTIVAL
BAYFRONT PARK – 5:15PM – $20 – AA
w/ Cloud Cult, Wood Blind and more
SOUTH BARRINGTON, IL – 9/13
WILLOW CREEK COMMUNITY CHURCH
1PM – FREE W/RSVP – AA
BLOOMINGTON, MN – 9/20
OAK GROVE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH – 12:30PM – FREE – AA
ST. PAUL, MN – 10/3
CHS FIELD – ALL DAY – $35 – AA
w/ Doomtree, Aseop Rock, Trash Talk, Open Mic Eagle and more
ST. PAUL, MN – 10/31
HALLOWEEN TRICK OR TREAT PRE-PARTY
AMSTERDAM HALL – 2PM DOORS – $12ADV/$15DOS – AA
w/ MC Lars and DJ Hampster Dance