All that matters is Taylor Swift. Cults rule! Period. Almost no one cares to think for himself/herself. Gotta belong to a tribe. I guess people feel more worthwhile in a tribe. And now, it’s all about us against them, whatever the topic. I’ve been trying to get some of my polka colleagues to imagine a polka world without tradition and heritage; just music, played a lot of different ways. No allegiance to the past, no allegiance to beer and sausage, no allegiance to any particular style of dress. Just music. And this is still the message of Brave Combo, wherever we are. Everything is sacred and nothing is sacred. You must find that balance or you might bend toward tribalism and cultism when you choose to make the music of all cultures your inspiration. More than anything, my journey with Brave Combo has been very, very interesting. I continue to have amazing opportunities to examine human behavior and, in some cases, influence human behavior. And you know what I’ve learned? We’re just critters bumbling around being stupid and it’s best to laugh at the non-stop comedy as much as possible. Jeez, it’s everywhere! Anyway, I’m not sure polka will ever be able to leap away from its roots as other ethnic forms, such as Cajun or bluegrass, or even something like salsa, have and move more into the mainstream fringe. Those who embrace it, from a heritage point-of-view, don’t really want to let it out of their grasp. Too bad. Like I said, things are interesting, even if they’re frustrating.
Speaking of frustrating, it’s been extremely hot in Texas all summer. Ask anyone, anywhere in the whole state. Over-the-top miserable; too hot to truly enjoy anything outdoors. ALL DAMN SUMMER!!! You did hear that July was the hottest month on the planet since God did that whole Heaven and Earth creation thing, right? My cats wouldn’t even go out on the catio until after midnight. And that was with a couple of big fans blowing. And speaking of cats, during all of this climate misery, my wife, Jane, and I have been rescuing a bunch of those pesky felines. In fact, right now, a feral cat is loose in the Brave Combo office/studio. She and her kittens were living in an abandoned, burned-out house, which was about to be leveled. We trapped them all and got the mother spayed and thoroughly checked out. We Facetime with her every night and witness her doing this and that, but never see her while we’re there. She is fastidiously clean and uses her litter box faithfully. Her kittens are being fostered and need homes. Across town, we are doing the same thing and have trapped a lone kitten. We don’t have its mother and sibling yet. All of the work involved sucks and the ants and mosquitoes haven’t made it easier, but, apparently, we’re committed to something here. Every animal is unique and has the ability to feel fear, pain, and loneliness, but, also peace and happiness. Let me know if you want to adopt an official Brave Combo kitten. They come with a certificate of authenticity, and you will be properly vetted. Here’s a video of me alerting any demolition workers of what might be inside the condemned house. This was before we captured everyone.
I recently recorded an album with my friends, Lisa Cameron (BC’s original drummer) and Jad Fair. And we also performed, as The Corn Cob Conspiracy. Our name was supposed to be The Corn Cob Controversy, which was a play on a name Brave Combo called itself in the early days when we would march around and play acoustically. We did that at the State Fair of Texas for many years (marched around and played) and one time we were hanging out in the break room and saw an article in the FAIR BUYERS GUIDE about a man who was upset that he was not the exclusive corndog vendor at some event. The title of the article was CORN DOG CONTROVERSY. That’s where we got that name. For the show with Jad, Lisa wanted to do a throwback to that name, but call ourselves Korn Kob Kontroversy and take the power of the KKK from the KKK, as well. But the club accidentally called us The Corn Cob Conspiracy and went with “C”s instead of “K”s. I don’t care. We had a blast! Here are a couple of videos from our show, just nights ago. Most of our songs were about old movie monsters. Jad and I know a lot about old movie monsters.
MEMORY LANE. Mish-mash! So much has happened since Brave Combo’s first tour in 1979. It was, exclusively, mental hospitals and state schools around Texas. And it was all well-documented, thanks to our good friend, photographer extraordinaire, Bob Lukeman. We just didn’t allow too much “normal approach” to anything. It was our desire to confuse, then delight, whoever might be in the audience. Being nerdy was becoming cool and we were definitely that (nerdy), although we weren’t trying to be. Somehow, we got to play punk bars, rock and new wave clubs, festivals, arty events, theater concerts, business openings, birthday parties, fashion shows and, of course weddings. We have been inexplicably appropriate for a ridiculous number of situations. And I will almost always wear only a black T-shirt and black jeans on stage. I have my reasons.
Okay, my friends, polka season is upon us! Check our itinerary! Our musical vibe is quite intense right now, just so you know. Don’t freak out. Jeffrey is back, joining me on the ride, along with Alan Emert Mansfield, Robert Hokamp, Dave Monsch and, on tuba, Carl Kleinsteuber, with occasional cameos by Danny O’Brien! This is serious stuff, folks. We’re rehearsing like crazy and working on some bitchin’ new sides, too, kiddo! Keep the faith or just go on and give up. Each has its merit! Whatever, come out and experience Brave Combo 2023. The Polka Mystery Revealed: A Message of Hope Awaits You!