Even the band member names are ridiculous. For instance, I believe I saw Honus Honus, Sergei Sogay, and Pow Pow in the flesh. (New additions to the band include now Critter Crat, Chang Wang, and the most conservative name of the bunch being Jefferson.)
This experimental group plays everything from guitar, piano, clarinet, trumpet and even throw in a "cave man throat" here and there. I have a vague memory of Honus Honus (lead singer) banging on a metal kitchen bowl full of water and splashing it everywhere. Following this I turned turn to friends and said, "what?" Then we all started laughing. Although many have coined MAN MAN for being a "joke band" in my opinion they’re no joke (even though they make me chuckle). The band seems to have a good sense of humor . . . they seem to truly want to be entertaining and funny and they are! Yet behind all the showmanship the band really can play and write good music. The band can switch from upbeat, tribal-jazz dance tunes like Spider Cider to songs that I easily fall in love with like the softer more sensitive sides of MAN MAN with, "Van Helsing Boombox" off of the album Six Demon Bag. With words like,
I can’t help but like the maniac-melange of melting-pot-mad-genius called MAN MAN. That’s why it’s so disappointing to find out that there’s something I really dislike about the band. Lets talk interviews for a moment shall we?
Only time will tell if I'll allow
the scenery around to eat me alive
I want to sleep for weeks like a dog at her feet
even though I know it won't work out in the long run
so I burn down the walls, breathe like a shadow
those arms I once knew hold me like ghosts
I learn how to speak forgotten language
I fall in the sea but forget how to swim.
Interviews . . . Sure! Some bands don’t like doing them. Point-blank. I guess sometimes it can be repetitive or mundane for a group to often answer the same type of question all the time. (I can respect that to a degree and I can understand how that would get on the nerves.) Still, in my opinion . . . SUCK IT UP!
A lot of what makes a good interview revolves around the interviewer researching and prepping for the interviewee (makes sense to me). Other times it doesn’t matter how much tic-tock is spent in preparation for some Barbara-Walters-style-sit-down because sometimes certain bands can just be big-big dick heads when it comes time to dealing with the media. I’m sorry-sad to say.
I came across an old interview (March 2006) and I felt so bad for the interviewer. This guy named, Chris Ruen (writer for Tiny Mix Tapes website) found out last minute that he was able to interview MAN MAN while he rushed to their concert. Ruen (aside from being unprepared) was up against a band that was simply in a foul mood. The interview was a nightmare . . . You can sense the tension in the air from two years ago by just reading the questions and answers. (While reading it my stomach knotted . . . I felt like I was there). MAN MAN, while really sarcastically amusing sometimes would just not give this poor guy (Chris) a break. I guess everyone has an off day but Honus Honus and his last comment in regards to this interview made me think "ouch." For example, "Yeah, you need to get a gun and Ol’ Yeller style this thing." Brutal!
If you’re a music nerd (no offense but if you’ve read up till this point you are . . . that’s why I luv ya my friend) and want to read the smart ass, awkward and a painful interview with MAN MAN in full visit, http://tinymixtapes.com/Man-Man,2782.
Also, MAN MAN’s 2008 release Rabbit Habits is not for the mainstream type of person. For me the album goes from, interesting, to zany, to I don’t think I get it anymore? Take it or leave it?