Spinal Tap Smells the Glove; The Super Friendz Smell the Ghost

In the Trailer Feature by P. Freako
Photography by Suzanne Goodwin

42-second excerpt from "10 lbs" (various formats)

"The Super Friends" was a cartoon about a legendary alliance of crime fighting super-heroes like Aqua Man, Super Man, etc... cleaning up the planet from evil. Sadly, the evil in music was never addressed, and thus, through a series of hideous mutations, the evil took many forms, including perhaps its most gruesome and graphic incarnation, boring musicians with pretentious, snotty attitudes. You know the ones. Mojo Nixon plugged them as "high falootin'," and they're out there everywhere. We've seen proof of this with the whiny Mariah Carey on the Grammys. We've seen the proof with Oasis, too (Christ, I'm late! Anybody seen my other shoe?). We need a band to come along and start saving us from all this evil.

Recently, I retired to my bed (actually it's a piece of foam on my floor) eventually dozing off into a restless sleep, wondering if I could find anybody to save us. I awoke inside of a trailer at the back of UBC's Thunderbird Stadium. A warm feeling swept through the air as I felt my "Freako" senses tingling.

Matt Murphy live Enter the Super Friendz, a group of non-legendary heroes. The Super Friendz have combated musical boredom since 1993, starting with the release of their debut EP Sticktoitiveness, through to their current CD, Mock Up, Scale Down. This CD is filled with pop rock songs that carry emotion and energy, a trait the band brings to its live show, providing the crowd with a fun display of pumped-up, melodic rock tunes. Their secret base in from which their energy comes lies deep in the heart of Halifax.

The last time the Super Friendz passed through Vancouver was last November when they were on tour with Al Tuck and No Action. Both bands opened up for Pluto at the Starfish Room, and the crowd just didn't seem to be happenin' for the bands this evening. I couldn't figure out why. The bands put on a good show and poured out their wares dripping with talent. Like I said, I couldn't figure it out...until now. According to The Super Friendz, Al Tuck's road manager found a bright orange wicker monkey in a haunted house they were staying at in Ottawa. The first night in Montreal they had all of their stuff stolen and then they almost went off the road in their van.... Singer/bass player, Charles Austin, confirms that "[the monkey] must have been cursed" because Al took the monkey on the road with them and nothing seemed to go right.. Geez, you'd think they'd have learned a lesson from Homer Simpson when he bought a cursed monkey paw.

Drew Yamada live Undaunted by cursed monkeys, the Super Friendz continue to be a band who likes to be on the road. They love to play music, and love to play it live, which is obvious to all who have seen them perform. They don't try to be cool by hiding their emotions on stage. You can often find singer/guitarist Matt Murphy launching himself aimlessly about the stage or running into the crowd. "There's so much crappy music out there...it usually starts with anger...it's usually what spurs you on." Okay Super Friendz, when you're angry, how about using your passion to fight the powers of evil? You could eliminate mundane, evil music through wrestling matches! Help us, please, and tell us just who you guys would want to take out: Says Matt "We've been itching for a fight with with Toad The Wet Sprocket...we've been wanting to take on Zumpano for quite a while." That's a good start: I feel a steel cage match happening here. I feel the tide switching already.

We talk jokingly about playing in the U.S. of A., and how the Super Friendz, while having only played a handful of shows there, managed to bring the country to its knees. I don't know what it is with these guys and haunted houses, but they stayed in yet another one in Boston. "There's a loft next to the toilet and apparently you can smell a ghost upstairs...there's this book in the washroom that says if you see or smell the ghost, you write about it." I'm sure that it's a pleasant smelling ghost, so I'll leave it at that.

'Mock Up, Scale Down' CD cover So just what is the relationship between the Super Friendz and ghosts anyway? Charles notes that "we're all pretty interested in that kind of stuff, we read a lot...apparently Halifax is supposed to be one of the major centres for supernatural activity...there's a lot of "lay lines" and one runs right in front of the public library." I didn't know that, so I thought I'd inquire if they've played in Victoria, apparently the Satanic capital of Canada. "We played Victoria, but we didn't feel anything like that." muses Charles, "The island is a fucked-up place though (not the people, just the overall vibe). A lot of killings. I think weed is a big factor."

I'll tell ya kids (in my Don Cherry voice -- it's the playoffs ya' know), the Super Friendz mean business, and after Toad The Wet Sprocket is gone, Oasis and Hootie can't be far behind. In the meantime though, they are back off to Halifax where they plan to do some recording and probably tour again sometime in the summer.

My "Freako" senses are tingling again, we've got to get them back soon...hmmm... phone your local radio station 50 times a day and request "Rescue Us From Boredom," "10lbs" or "Karate Man," from Mock Up, Scale Down and maybe, just maybe, like it's their own Bat Signal, the Super Friendz might hear the call, and return with guitars in hand to combat the mundaneness that has so brutally bitten our youth. I know they can do it, because as Matt reiterates, "...we're men of sounds."

First published in Drop-D Magazine on April 25, 1996

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