Thursday, October 17, 2019

“I am not aware of anyone who fits that description” was Embarrassing

Yup, More Trek is needed after the Shatner Live post

How the phaser did I not know about these guys?

On one hand:
Star Trek makes up some of my earliest memories. Up until recently, my Trekkie—ness was only aligned to The Original Series.  I watched them more times than I can count. In my teen years, I stayed up to tape the midnight airings regularly in order to complete my set.  I worked Star Trek quotes in as topic sentences throughout high school and college writing assignments. The remastered release is the prime reason we bought a Blu-ray player.  I watched and wrote commentaries on every episode in a row, finding obscure references, hidden sub plots that didn't exist, and generally geeking out…TWICE!

On the other hand:
I listened to almost no normal music before age seventeen. My “record” collection is still over half comedy and novelty albums. (And the percentage is far higher depending on how some soundtracks count.) I did a comedy radio show in college for seven semesters, four by myself.  My footwear has been inspired by Weird Al since the early Eighties.  The first album I bought with my own money was Steve Martin’s Let’s Get Small. The first 45’s I appropriated from my mother’s collection were “My Ding a Ling,” “Mr. Custer,” and “Alley Oop” all of which I later owned on Doctor Demento collections.

And yet, somehow the band Five Year Mission existed for almost a decade before I heard of them.

I actually heard them before I heard of them, since they did the awesome rock remix of the theme song for the credits of What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

Starting back in 2010, five Indiana based Trekkies formed a band and performed in Original Series Uniforms.

I am aware there are a large amount of Trek novelty songs out there, but these guys are different for three key reasons:

A) Knowledge:  These guys know the series intimately.  These songs do not have the surface level generic quote gags usual for the genre.  The references run deep and wide. The fact that one of the writer/artists acknowledged that “The Paradise Syndrome” was by far the saddest episode, easily eclipsing “City on the Edge of Forever” made me start filling out the order form before I started sampling on YouTube.

B) Talent:  Most Trek songs are at best “filk” rarely rising above a single voice accompanied by sound clips and a Casio keyboard drum beat.  These guys are competent and impressive song writers and musicians.  Many of the tracks are longer than usual for "novelty songs" because they have the musical chops to pull off fantastic instrumental intros, outros, and bridges.  Their standard style seems to be a kind of post They Might Be Giants alternative, similar to Bowling for Soup and Weezer, but there’s much more going on than that.  The reason (and the highlight of the variety) comes in the third area.

C) Scope:  They are now one album short of completing the goal of writing a new and original song for every single episode of the original series of Star Trek.  My guess is they would have finished this already, but they took two side detours to create a mini-album dedicated to “The Trouble with Tribbles” and a full album for “Spock’s Brain.”  Sometimes a source provides its own material too well.  The songs are all original compositions, fully realized by the five piece band.  Many are in their “standard” style, but the range of their talent is enormous.

The songs vary from punk to country, to rock…a couple of various tempo waltzes and just about every other musical style.  They incorporate story points, quotes and references from the episodes, and occasional inside jokes to other songs from related episodes.  The point of view varies and it’s not always keyed to the main cast.

I can’t say favorites, because the output is consistently excellent but there are some stand outs for memorability based on concepts that shouldn’t work being remarkably successful.

The commercial for Corbomite set to a polka,

The up-tempo country and western ditty about the tragic death of Groom-to-be Tomlinson by the Romulans,

The rockin' Scottish drinking song by a Kelvan.

The punk refrains of "Bonk Bonk on the Head" and "Blah Blah Blah,"

And the Klingon P.O.V.s about the fight on Station K-7  and sword fighting in Beastie Boys style rap.

All I can do is apologize to Five Year Mission for not realizing the massive gap in my collection caused by not having heard of them.  I believe I have made it up by breaking the world record going from a complete lack of knowledge of a band to owning their entire catalog.

I’m looking forward to the completion of the project on the album “Year Five.” 

Good gravy, that one is going to have Parmen, Garth, Lokai & Bele, Odonna, Space Hippies, Abraham Lincoln,  Zarabeth and Janice Lester among others.

I was worried it might have to be a double album, but looking at that list, it may need to be a box set!

If it is one album, I'm looking forward to their referenced continuing...there are Motion Pictures and an Animated Series to be mined!

Bonus points this week for anyone who correctly identifies the character and episode of the title quote. 

Click for Star Trek Index 


mc said...

Spock, The Apple

Jeff McGinley said...

And it’s MC for the win. Insanely awesome choreography and Star Trek knowledge. A rare pair for sure.