Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Semi-Conducted

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2003 at 12:00 AM

From Metallica’s S&M and Kiss Alive IV to Billy Idol’s Orchestral Removers In the Park and Pink Lady’s Won Ton Baton, every washed-up weasel with nothing left to say is nevertheless insisting on saying it these days by recording a live album with a symphony orchestra.

And why not? After all, what better way to defibrillate a flatlined career and simultaneously elevate the puerile crap in your aging back catalogue to highbrow art- house status than by subjecting a bunch of professionally trained classical musicians — each with more innate talent in the little toe of their left foot than you’ll ever hope to have in your entire career — to act as hapless helpless flunkies for your rampant egomaniacal career aspirations?

So y’gotta give credit to the Arrogant Worms for jumping on the longhair bandwagon and recording a live album with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra years before their due date expires.

Now just in case you didn’t know, the Worms are one of Canada’s premier musical parodists, ranking right up there with such other social satirists as Monty Python, Frank Zappa, and “Weird Al” Yankovic — albeit with a distinctly north-of-the-border bent. However, hearing these Canucks cluck before a full symphonic orchestra gives their barbs a rich, full-bodied flavor that’s good to the last shot.

But why take my word for it when their songs say it all, including:

The universal truism of “Big Fat Road Manager” (“Every rock band has this guy, not many people really know why. He’s got a cell phone and a backstage pass. He’s got a big gut and a big fat ass, he’s a big fat road manager”).

The uncharacteristic bravado of “Canada’s Really Big” (“We’re the second-largest country on this planet Earth. And if Russia keeps on shrinking, then soon we’ll be first!”).

The PETA putdown “Carrot Juice Is Murder” (“Salads are only for murderers, cole slaw’s a fascist regime. Don’t think that they don’t have feelings, just ’cause a radish can’t scream.”)

Not convinced? Then obviously you haven’t heard their sarcastic classic, “Celine Dion” (“I think I got a crush on Celine Dion. The way she beats her chest when she sings a love song. She’ll sing a song in English, then she’ll sing en français. Both the songs will suck, but I love her anyway.”)

Only a salad-tosser would disagree with an assessment like that.

E-mail Jeffrey Morgan at letters@metrotimes.com.

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