Information Superfreebie, Promotional Material For Freebie Tape, 26 September 1995

Yes, the mysterious net journalist “Tony Parse” mentioned in one of my letters to Ben Murphy – click here – was of course one of my pseudonyms.

This is what he wrote, folks.

This very early attempt at e-commerce did generate a bit of “business” – I recall. Tom Rockwell shipped me a sort-of master tape, I would occasionally get an order and I’d fulfil it by spooling off a copy and posting it.

I did digitise that master tape, so in the fulness of time I’ll up the tracks. In the meantime, if anything plugged below really appeals to you, dear reader, comment or e-mail me a request and I’ll upload that particular track pronto.


(Info Highway Roadkill – Unsigned bands from the newsgroup)

The Net is rarely a good source of new material. Most recordings of the “it’s free!! Just send a tape and the postage and it’s yours” variety are not worth the postage, let alone the tape, the snail mail and the hassle. And that’s if the recording shows up. So this freebie tape makes a refreshing change – a fun packed hour of comedy music and skits. Even more rarely, the tape even contains material from here in Blighty, but more of that later.

The album is the brainchild of a demented rapper, Tom Rockwell aka Devo Spice aka Sudden Death. Tom gathered his miscellany of mad music makers through the Usenet newsgroup which is the Dr Demento Show newsgroup and thus the Mecca for novelty and comedy recording fanatics.

All the least pleasant aspects of the human condition are here. Sudden Death’s own recordings are named “Masturbate”, “Everybody Dies” and “Do You Piss In The Shower?” respectively. The latter is the most satisfying, an astonishingly well rhymed and rhythmed rap. Their material is not for the faint hearted. Both of Li’l Hank’s pieces, “I Met Santa On The Internet” and “Freeloading” are outstanding. The “Santa” number is truly a Christmas number for the nineties. Santa makes the twelve year old singer/surfer’s wishes come true, but only for the one Christmas, as the kid feels obliged to shop Santa to the FBI once Santa propositions him. Cyberpop meets cyberporn. “Freeloading” is about someone we all know and wish we didn’t; the friend [sic] who comes to stay and turns into the sponger from hell.

Some items relate to American television and will be somewhat mysterious to the British audience, such as None Of The Above’s “Barney’s On Fire” and “Dr Grumpus”. However, “Little Bits O’ Blue” by the same band is an incitement to hatred and violence against Smurfs; this should ensure a solid and loyal following in Britain from now on. The minimalist acts, Headhunter Country (“I Really Like Potatoes”, “Crash Airlines”, “Grants Rant”) and Mr Zipp (“McDiver”, “Quantum Steep”, “McDiver Background Sound Effects”) also require some perseverance from the uninitiated, but that persistence is rewarded. In particular, “I Really Like Potatoes” by Headhunter Country and “McDiver” by Mr Zipp make you snigger second and third time round, such that you look forward to hearing them again. Only high grade comedy has that effect.

All three Neverley Brothers works are superb, entertaining folk/rock pastiche and parody, especially “Reactor” and “Stealin’ Dylan’s Door”. Do not play “Talkin’ Little Debbie Pie Blues” to your grandparents, and I mean it. “Born To Shop” by Guns ‘N’ Charoses is a well- crafted Springsteen parody; Allan Sherman meets Weird Al Yankovic in the shopping mall.

Which leaves our very own Ben Murphy. Ben’s performances and the work of arch-parodist Ian Harris need no introduction here in the UK, but are probably new to American audiences. This tape contains two of their classics; the venomous Michael Jackson send-up, “Better Face” and the widely performed generic romantic parody “The Ultimate Love Song”. These recordings alone must be worth the price of a tape and postage. E-mail for further details and enjoy the most entertaining freebie of the year.

Tony Parse The New Musical Netspress, London, England.

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