I have funny friends
Black Daisy Will Make You Laugh, but They’re Not Comedians
Black Daisy DVD Release Party
w/Patton Oswalt’s Werewolves & Lollipops CD/DVD release
Mon July 9, Chop Suey, 8 pm, free, 21+.
Voltage Periscope, Seattle’s nu-metal heroes, have a slick new video on their MySpace page. Lead singer Byron “the Siren” Sexton, braided goatee dangling six inches off his chin like a noose, wails, his vocals cracked and hurt, “All this time and pain are bearing down on me!” Rapper Tyson Bates takes over: “This democracy is a hypocrisy! The world is changing? Yeah, just grab my cock and see!”
The music is so ferociously dumb, it’s funny.
“Rap metal is just how we express ourselves artistically,” Sexton scowls, blowing Marlboro fumes. “I don’t care if it’s popular or not. What are you, a hipster?”
Then he laughs and says, “Can we start over?”
Byron “the Siren” Sexton is laughing because he’s not really Byron “the Siren” Sexton. He’s Troy Nelson. Tyson Bates is Cody Hurd. And Voltage Periscope is a bullshit band put on by the Seattle comedy duo Black Daisy. The video for “Bearing Down on Me” is part of their soon-to-be-released second DVD of short films, The Hardy Har Har Collection. Erik Blood of the Turn-Ons recorded and produced the song, and he might have done too good of a job: Venues in town have contacted Voltage Periscope to book shows.
“We e-mailed them back and said our singer was in rehab for cocaine,” Hurd says.
Hurd and Nelson came together as Black Daisy in 2004 to make a video for The Stranger‘s 28 Seconds Film Contest. It was called Card, Beer, Card, Beer, Card, Beer, Ghettoblaster, and it was runner-up. Since then, they’ve been part of the Seattle True Independent Film Festival, the weekly Laff Hole comedy shows, and the What the Hell Did I Just Watch film festival.
They’ve also slipped into the director’s chair to make a video for Brent Amaker and the Rodeo. Comedy and music might not be interchangeable, but in Black Daisy, they’re inseparable.
“That’s our audience,” says Nelson, who’s a DJ at KEXP. “We’re huge music fans. All the music on this DVD is from our favorite local bands.”
The Hardy Har Har Collection opens with Hurd cooking shrimp in a kitchen. Partman, Parthorse plays in the background. Nelson walks in after a day of working at a record store and Hurd asks him how his day was. “Would you like two CDs?” Nelson asks. Then he brandishes his testicles.
“My nuts will come out only if it is true to the story,” Nelson says. “We wouldn’t want to mislead the viewer into thinking they’re following a profound art piece and then bang! Balls.” This is reassuring.
And this is Black Daisy. Instead of just asking, “Wouldn’t it be funny to make a movie about a plumber’s butt crack growing and growing until he’s nude?” Black Daisy make the movie.
Or, say, they make “Fruit Heaven,” where Nelson wears black tights and a demon mask. He launches himself through the air across a clear white backdrop, lands, falls over, and screams like a pterodactyl.
“‘Fruit Heaven’ is about a demon and God and a section of heaven that handles mistreated fruit,” he says.
Is that funny? Is that even comedy?
“We really don’t view ourselves as comedians,” Hurd says. “We’re just making comedy that we would like to see. We wanted to approach comedy by making fun of comedy.”
Batman has Robin, Abbott has Costello, Scooby has Shaggy, and Black Daisy has balls. They push the edge, and occasionally lick it. Reactions vary, as they do with any vivid or unsettling image: Soldiers in Iraq corner a Kurd. An Italian man spills chocolate gelato on his new white suite. Troy Nelson busts his nuts out on a rainy Seattle day.
“Cody and I are always spending tons of time pondering the most meaningless shit possible,” Nelson says, as if this wasn’t already apparent in Black Daisy’s anti-comedy.
“One time, we wrote down what we thought the meaning of life was,” he continues. “The next day, we read what we wrote down and it just said, ‘When you throw life a knuckle ball, use your knuckles.’ We decided we hated each other. Then we made up, French-kissed a little just to see if it would tingle in our crotches, and then held each other in solace until the sunrise secretly whispered to us the path of existence. Oh, then we kind of fucked.”
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