Heads On Sticks & Ventriloquists

The prodigious writings of a tortured genius.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Explosive Bear - A Eulogy

Explosive Bear was just a comedy rap group. It was fun and dandy. We made lots of friends and played lots of shows and made lots of enemies and didn't play that many shows really. Explosive Bear was pronounced dead sometime around noon today, in the Temple University cafeteria where the quesadillas are served.

Why EXB lasted for so long is beyond me. Well, not really, I honestly had a huge amount of fun doing this -- being a rapper -- over the past 2 years. But it was just supposed to be a joke for open mic nights at the Owl Cove. Every step further we took with the band, we said to ourselves, "Okay, we stop here," but we kept going. And it was fun, absolutely one of the best things I ended up doing during college. Out of everyone in Explosive Bear, I assume that I was the one that enjoyed it the most. Of course, I didn't want to seem too into it, so I tried to not seem like I cared a whole lot. But still, I would find myself trying to not bring it up when we weren't doing anything related to it, because, hey, we could discuss if it's funnier to rap about juice boxes or Burger King Kid's Club at another time.

I liked being in Explosive Bear for several reasons. Firstly, I love music and always wanted badly to create it, but I can't play an instrument. The various sequencers and music programs I came across allowed me to write full orchestrations at my own pace and didn't require me to play them in real-time. Secondly, I hate being serious (which makes this post semi-ironic, thus making me still funny, right?). Well not hate, but I want to make people laugh, and it's hard to do that in a serious band. Plus I would be too embarrassed to be poetic and serious in a live setting. Sorry, Bono. Thirdly, sometimes I want attention (which might explain why I sometimes smash dining ware or play with the fire extinguisher in my apartment). I think it's a genetic thing, because everyone else in my family is ... not cocky ... but definetly highly self-confident. Okay, maybe cocky.

These three criteria ended up being the basis for my excitement about being in Explosive Bear. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm -- at least the last few months -- was not entirely reciprocated. Each week, recently, the signs became more and more obvious that we had taken the joke too seriously. Sure, our arguments were always funny and half-joking, they still resounded. Explosive Bear was no longer funny. At our last show in Reading, at The Silo, we stood in the empty lot behind the venue. We discussed the future of the bear, how we could still go on. Joe made a joke about how he was young Michael Jackson and I was his father forcing him to continue doing something that he didn't enjoy. So that's when I knew it was really over.

The night before that show, having performed two other times that week, Mike and I watched the Refused DVD, "Refused Are Fucking Dead". It chronicled the collapse of the band from the inside, how their guitarist hated it. He did not want to be in it anymore. Their bassist (I think it was the bassist, let's call him that to make it easier) wanted to compromise and cancel the tour, put the band on hiatus and head home to Sweden. Their vocalist, pumped on having released a new album and touring it, did not want it to end. He wanted to continue on, no matter what, even if it was fairly selfish. I thought it was interesting how similar EXB and Refused collapsed, but I bet every band break up is like that. Joe is the guitarist, Mike is the bassist, and I'm Dennis Lyxen, the enthusiastic dude who wants it to keep going.

We aren't going to finish recording "Roy G. Biv" what would be our third album. I'm pretty bummed, but also glad that it's over. In some ways, EXB had become a burden -- kinda like a job that was fun, but you didn't feel obligated to go to. So, my plan is to work on some other music projects. My friend Brendan and I are going to work on a dance-rock group this summer (we might call it Sexplosion ... suggestions/comments being taken), so that should be fun. Also I'll be living with my dawg Paul next year, maybe we can play around with my sequencers and his guitars. So, I'll still have a hobby.

This is also why I don't write journal serious stuff like this. I'll go back to the regular format as soon as I think of some college-student-meets-Larry-David thing to complain or muse about.

R.I.P. 2004-2006


At 8:45 PM GMT-5, Blogger Brendan said...

its good you ended it while it lasted. are you going to do final shows or just stop like gutg. if you just stop i can sell fake exb hoodies on the web for 100 bucks. anyway, music is fun and thats what it should be no matter if its "oregon trail is fucking insane" or "these stitches are so real, and the tears i cry inside split my sides like pools of lava flowing from my heart- enveloping, crushing destroving. take the long ride home on the elevator to my heart" well maybe not like that. see you in a few days.


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