Sweet Caroline 

We chat up a Neil Diamond doppelganger, shine the lowlight on the Bloodhound Gang and discover Cephalic Carnage's secret hippie identity

The Bad Touch
"Guilty pleasures" are a myth, a construct created by insecure people who think that an intellectual reaction to art is somehow better than an emotional one. It is a lie, as uptight and constricting as a religious edict against masturbation. Listen to whatever the hell you want, and hold your head up high.

Unless you are, like I am, a closet fan of the Bloodhound Gang. One part Limp Bizkit (shudder), one part novelty act and one part dirty-joke book, the Bloodhound Gang has been fearlessly plumbing tasteless white rap for more than ten years. The band is sophomoric (hell, it's freshmanic) -- musically inept, misogynistic, racist and totally without redeeming merit. And I'll see you at the show. To celebrate, let's recount some of the absolute guilty pleasures of the Gang's catalog.

Song: "You're Pretty When I'm Drunk"

Why? From their 1995 debut, "Drunk" is the first glimmer of the Bloodhound Gang's overwhelming offensiveness. Backed by some rather poor beatboxing, frontman Jimmy Pop Ali makes fun of the women he's slept with -- the saddest form of misogyny.

Song: "Fire Water Burn"

Why? The Gang's first brush with novelty fame, the song succeeds because it mocks both the band's own white-boy rap and the aching solemnity of alternative rock. Got a bit of a revival last year when pinko Michael Moore used it to make the military look stupid in Fahrenheit 9/11.

Song: "Yellow Fever"

Why? A landmark in the band's career: a song so offensive Geffen wouldn't put it on the same album with songs such as "Kiss Me Where It Smells Funny" and "I Wish I Was Queer So I Could Get Chicks." More of a laundry list of Asian stereotypes than a song, it'll make even the most meat-headed fans squirm.

Song: "The Bad Touch"

Why? The 2000 hit that pays the Bloodhound Gang's bills. With its chorus of "Let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel," it's dead-on enough in its parody of dancefloor idiocy that it actually ended up a dancefloor hit. In fact, many of the song's fans may not have known the band was kidding. Too stupid to get the Bloodhound Gang...now that's a scary proposition. -- Jordan Harper

I Am...I Said
Barrie Cunningham has been a musician for twenty years, fifteen of which he's spent alternately wearing sparkly jumpsuits (as a Neil Diamond impersonator) and mourning a lost shaker of salt (as Jimmy Buffett). On a recent September morning, Cunningham gave B-Sides some thoughts on this business we call show-.

On his origins: "I was one of the original members of Legends in Concert in Vegas, the longest-running tribute show in this business. And I was one of the original members of American Superstars Live -- also in Vegas, and one of the top tribute shows worldwide in terms of both public and corporate events. But in the mid-'60s, Neil and I were both playing rock & roll in Greenwich Village. We'd show up at the Bitter End on the same night. Later, Jimmy Buffett used to hang out in San Diego when he would do his concerts out there, and he would opt to go out to where some of the local bands were playing -- like my band at the time, Black Slacks."

On what makes a great show: "It's in the hair and costumes, but the music is the most important. It completely takes over. Of course, the costumes for Neil Diamond obviously are a little bit more glitzy, and therefore a little bit more expensive, than the Jimmy Buffett attire, where I can show up in shorts and a T-shirt for free. You have to blow-dry your hair and style it for Neil -- as opposed to Jimmy, where you just get out of the shower and shake your head. It's all about the facial expressions conveying the essence of that person. But I've done the same back-to-back shows, and people haven't known that I was the same entertainer."

On fame: "I've had crazy fan experiences. I've had security come up to me in airports and in malls: 'Mr. Diamond, you probably have people with you, but we want you to know that we also have security people following you.' Or you get the surprise attack where somebody comes up to you in the mall, just pouring their heart out to you real quick -- 'I just wanted to thank you real quick for blah blah blah' -- and then running off. And then I've had the scary experience of people leaving stuff outside my hotel room."

On his identity: "I want to be Barrie Cunningham. I don't want to be Jimmy Buffett. I don't want to be Neil Diamond. I like it when people say, 'Hey, aren't you the guy that did the Jimmy Buffett show?' I like that more than somebody coming up to me and saying, 'Hey, aren't you Jimmy Buffett?' And the longer I've been in the business, the more that first one happens -- and that's the real reward for me." -- Julie Seabaugh

Rocky Mountain Hijinks
Don't take Cephalic Carnage's name too literally. The Colorado-based death-metal/grindcore outfit rarely deals with gory subject matter, unlike most of its hesher brethren. Instead, the moniker refers to a different sort of head trauma: The band members wreck skulls by playing a perplexing and inhumanly technical style of extreme music -- one that's not afraid to throw in a little flamenco or jazz just for shits 'n' grins -- and also by talking about various conspiracy theories, including one or two of their own creation. Oh, and they're unabashed potheads, too. Considering all that, B-Sides smelled something rotten in the city of Denver and decided to propose our own theory to guitarist Zac Joe.

B-Sides: What's "Envirovore"?

Zac Joe: It's a continuing, semi-fictional story about the evolution of man and about how he came to be on the face of the Earth. "Envirovore" is a term that Lenzig [Leal, Cephalic's vocalist] made up; it's one of the species that comes from a different planet to take what we have and turn the Earth around for their own good. Yet this is the same species that co-created humans in the first place.

That sounds like some stoner/hippie shit. Now, considering that you're from Colorado, smoke tons of weed and have songs that talk about paranoid conspiracy theories, we think you guys are secretly hippies.

[Laughs] You're not the first one to say that. I have my special tree out in the back. Every morning before I leave, I give it a nice kiss.

How many articles of hemp clothing do you own?

Wal-Mart doesn't sell hemp clothing...just kidding.

Do you or anyone in the band burn incense?

Yeah, Nag Champa is the shit! I have two kids and it gets a little stinky sometimes.

Do you have any tie-dye?

God, no! Never owned that shit in my fucking life! We're metal kids, but I guess to the outside world we could be viewed as having some "hippie-ish" ways. I actually have long hair again.

That's the smoking gun.

I don't do the hippie-tie in the back, though.

Do you have an acoustic guitar?

Oh yeah.

Yeah, you're a hippie.

It's an acoustic-electric...

Ah, whatever -- you're an angry hippie, then. -- Guy Gray

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