Saturday, November 18, 2006

Wuss Rock

The Dead Schembechlers (Bo Biafra, Bo Vicious, Bo Thunders, and Bo Scabies -- hey, wait a minute, Jello and Rat aren't dead!) have decided to break up just because the object of their derision, Bo Schembechler, has actually died.

The whole reason the name "Dead Kennedys" was a shocker in the late 70s was, well, because it was kind of offensive and insensitive, most especially to the progressive California suburbia of the day. This allowed the band to be frighteningly liberal in its politics and while not overly ambitious in its musical reach, at least a little frightening at the time.

The Schembechlers, on the other hand, are clearly a joke band put together to rally the faithful against an opponent in a meaningless game, and the only funny bit was that they were willing to sing songs like 'Bomb Ann Arbor Now' and 'I Don't Give a Damn about the State of Michigan' about gleefully killing all the fans of an opposing sports team. Which is kind of a nazi punk approach, even if done tongue in cheek: might as well rally the troops with a little fun pile 'o mock hate. No surprise: the music is (was) hardly punk at all -- a little metal covering of some Pistols' licks.

So, while they were perfectly willing to cash in on the idea of a dead Bo Schembechler while he was alive, they bowed out quickly in the name of good taste, sensitivity, and with a nod at good sportsmanship ("the most valiant opponent" the band describes the object of their derision in its final press release), even donating the proceeds of their last gig to a charity TBD by the late Michigan coach's family.

As if we needed to have any more evidence 'punk' has been a marketing label for a long, long time and not a whole lot more. They could at least take a page out of PiL's playbook and maybe rename themselves "The Angel Bos" or something.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I read the first paragraph of your post I thought, Ha, the Little Teapot is making up a funny parody of embarrassing latter-day "punk" bands. When I learned the DSs were an actual group, I stopped laughing. I wonder why the idea of a college-sports-oriented punk band seems amusing while the reality of it seems utterly depressing.