Mar 012007

The humor in the Dead Milkmen music wasn’t labored. It was a natural expression of our selves. I think we often talked about serious issues but tempered the delivery with humor – if only to prevent us from getting weighed down with the shit that was going on. We also thought the hardcore punk scene that we began playing shows in took themselves way too seriously. Our attitude was that this all should be fun.

Rodney is one of the funniest and smartest persons I know. He can think fast on his feet and he still cracks me up!

I think humor brings people together, and by having a sense of humor we were able to bring the crowd to us more. Some bands cultivate the em>”we’re special up here – keep your distance” vibe. We were trying to get to know the local crowd. After all – wasn’t the “punk ethos” something like, “Everyone can do it! Anyone can be in a band!”.

As an aside – one of the items on our “rider” was a local newspaper. This provided a little local information sometimes that we could play off of on stage.

Now, enjoy a whole mess of Dead Milkmen videos here!


  3 Responses to “Mr. Clean Discusses the Function of Humor in The Dead Milkmen”

  1. Humor was the thing that attracted me to the Dead Milkmen when I was in college and “BIg Lizard” came out. Like many of us in this town hall (I assume), I was a college DJ and we would be inundated with records to play, and I kept going back to “Big Lizard” because it was just so much fun. They came to play at Penn State and our station sponsored the show. They were great, and hilarious, and they even participated in an inside-joke with the station (concerning an awful haircut in a staffer’s childhood school photo… Nowadays I play solo gigs at local bars (this is not a plug) and I often play a version of “Punk Rock Girl” and the audience usually responds big time. I always look back at the many Dead Milkmen shows I attended with great affection. (I hope that doesn’t make Rodney queasy).

  2. Mr. Moderator

    I had to get by the Milkmen’s overt humor at first. As some of you know, I’m a humorphobe when it comes to overt expressions thereof in rock. Seeing the band up close and getting to know the members a bit helped me realize tha the humor was part of who they are, was part of their language.

    A band (or bands) with a humorous bent that I keep warming up to in baby steps each year is Parliament/Funkadelic. Years ago, when first confronted by their overt silliness, I was put off. Slowly, since buying America Eats its Young about 10 years ago, I’ve come to see how the humor is part of their language, part of who they are. There’s a benevolent, cosmic, idealistic side to the band that I can now see the humor feeds into. Having an emotional hook for the humor helps me a lot.

  3. For what it’s worth, I find myself singing “Right Wing Pigeon” fairly often these days. Thanks, Mr. Clean.

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