Boris the Sprinkler
Everybody Do the Sprinkler!
David Lee Beowülf
Only an extremely stupid punk rock band would call itself “Boris the Sprinkler.” And I, upon receiving their latest album on Go Kart, Suck , dedicated to Pol Pot, was rewarded with total verification of my theory: yes, Boris the Sprinkler is an extremely stupid punk rock band, perhaps the stupidest I’ve come across in years. Thusly, being into extremely stupid punk rock, I considered it my duty to explore the inner psyche of this band through their leader and singer, one Reverend Norb.
Talking to Rev. Norb, I would imagine, is like talking to Casey Kasem, only after he’s breathed-in about ten balloons’ worth of helium, the effect being a forty-five minute interview compressed inside of fifteen minutes. Which is what I expected, since Suck repeats the album twice in the space of one album. (If that didn’t make sense, it will after this interview.)
Norb : Hello!
Hello! Is this Norb?
I’m afraid so!
Are we going to do an interview?
Indeed! I am ready to dispense!
So, what’s up, Norb?
Very little. I’m just taking a break from my usual raping and pillaging to, ah, do this interview and that’s about it.
I hate to interrupt you.
Well, that’s quite all right.
What kind of raping and pillaging does one do where you are?
There’s just your essential garden variety sacking, looting, raping, pillaging, it’s actually so mundane it wouldn’t be of any interest, really.
I don’t know, you are from Wisconsin, right?
You’re the Reverend Norb, is your full name Norbert?
That’s a very German name.
Oddly enough, I told my grandmother that when we played in Germany, the Germans liked my name because anything that reminds them of their cultural superiority, or would-be cultural superiority or failed cultural superiority… and she said [cackling like Wicked Witch of the West] “Norbert is German? I always thought it was French!”
Are you of German descent?
You know, I am half German. I am one-quarter Polish, a quarter French, and I am also one-thirty-second Irish. And I know you’re going to say “that adds up to more than one, but…”
No, I was going to say…
Wait, that isn’t right, I’ve confused my own ethnicity. I’m half Polish, quarter French, a thirty-second French, and a quarter German and if that adds up for more than 100% then I refer you to the half Polish part!
How did you ever learn to read?
That’s a good question!
Good God, man! You’re from Wisconsin! It’s full of people eating bratwurst and whitefish and drinking lousy beer! That’s where most of Europe opened up its buttcheeks and had at it! I’ve been there once and all these people have giant foreheads — just like your picture on the album cover!
It is crazy! People think that that’s some dopey Adobe Photoshop trick when actually it’s just a natural product of our Wisconsin habitat. Obviously there was some strange Bohemian cast-off type diaspora that mated with badgers [Wisconsin is the “badger state”] and got the teeth, sloping forehead, the tail — wait, you don’t know about the tail-
Have you ever had sex with a badger?
You know, that’s a damn good question! My lawyer advises me not to answer that question.
I’ve seen badgers, some very attractive, at the University of Wisconsin…
Well, I try not to do that because they’re just going to end up badgering you for the rest of your life.
Those badgers… How did you get out from behind the CD jewel box? [When the CD is removed from the jewel box the band is revealed as being trapped inside.]
Well, we were actually let go by one of our biggest fans, Timmy. He’s thirteen years old from Lampa, California and he just took the CD tray off and we eventually found the Luthor shrinking ray, and, wait, the Brainiac shrinking ray, and reversed the polarity and got back to our normal dimensions. My face is still hideously crushed like that, but at least I’m able to roam and sack and pillage.
OK, the record is called Suck . What number record is this for you?
If you don’t count our double-live CD or our Ramones’ End of the Century cover album [on Selfless]… We’ll structure this in the official British terminology: Suck is our fourth proper album and our sixth improper album.
I noticed that the last track on Suck happens to be the entire album without breaks. Thusly, isn’t Suck both your fourth and fifth album? Perhaps you should charge people twice…
Well, actually, if you go to some of the stores you’ll notice that they are charging twice for that.
I have noticed that. The Go-Kart catalog shows a very reasonable ten dollars, but at some of the stores it goes for upwards of eighteen. Maybe these stores are real Boris the Sprinkler fans and know that people should pay double just because your band is so great. And besides, that extra money goes to the band, right?
Oh, obviously. Everybody knows all the extra money goes to the band. That’s the first rule of rock and roll. That’s why we repeat the album. And we get three times the money it cost to do the album!
Man, you guys must drive great cars!
Really! I got a ’98 Ford SE Escort something.
It’s got a spoiler!
Is it a “Purple Vulcan Hotrod,” like your song?
I wanted a purple car, but it was a 1996, and then my other car died in a Ford dealership and so I was rather limited in my choice. But I got zero-point-nine financing and a thousand dollars cash back!
What did you do with the grand?
I applied it to the amount that I financed. Actually, the money that I didn’t spend on the car I put in mutual funds. That’s pretty punk rock! See, if you borrow the money at 0.9% it’s better to borrow the money and invest what you had saved.
Are there any punk rock mutual funds you recommend?
I actually nearly stumbled into my bank and said “…I’m a punk rock star and I got this money, please invest it for me…” and I’m sure that whatever they did was very punk. As you know, all banks have the punk rock mindset. They always look out for your best interests.
Of course. I think you really hit the nail on the head there: banks are our most punk rock service industry.
Exactly! Just ask Mojo Nixon.
[Guffaw!] So tell me the Boris the Sprinkler story. I’ve seen your band advertised, and whenever I see your name I immediately sing to myself [like the Who’s “Boris the Spider”] “Booooris the Sprinnnnkler.”
The Boris the Sprinkler story, eh? Well, there were these three losers and they got together in a basement in 1992, and started playing in this bad band and they started calling me up saying I should join their band and I was always telling them to go away. But they were like “c’mon, you’re in the band, you’re the singer, you’re late for practice…” Obviously, I tried to keep them as far away as possible but they snuck over and said “come on over and we’ll just jam. You can play bass or something.” So I figured all right, out of obligation, and I jammed and suddenly the bass player showed up! And I was forced to take the microphone and then, after a bunch of horse tranquilizers and a gun to my head, I agreed to be the singer and the rest is history.
Do you often do horse tranquilizers?
You know, only when they’re administered to me when my wrists are tied and I’ve got pillow cases over my head and people are beating me with large sweatsocks full of padlocks. That’s how I maintain my complicity in the rock and roll triumvirate.
That makes and interesting mental picture. Is that you wearing the Wolverine suit on the album cover?
I’m afraid that is so.
Where’d you get it? Michigan?
I got it a Wal-Mart. Which they don’t have in Manhattan!
No, but we do have K-Mart.
I know, and it was a big deal when you got it!
OK, but I know about Wal-Mart and I didn’t see a Wolverine suit last time I was in a Wal-Mart.
Have you ever been to a Super Wal-Mart?
I have, in Melbourne, Florida. They have everything and they’re open twenty-four hours a day. Who knows when I might need a can of spray-paint? Or sheet fabric with little dinosaurs printed on it?
Double-sided mounting tape, watermelon sour bursts.
That’s pretty sophisticated for Wisconsin…
They only have those in Texas.
Oh. So, Reverend, what’s it like being a reverend?
The first thing you have to realize is that I was ordained by the disciples of the Divine Right in Boca Raton, Florida in 1982, and later by the Church of the Subgenius in 1984 and Reverend Ivan Stang waived my ordination fee because I was so weird. This makes me a double-dipping ministerial type, ergo, holier than thou!
Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke!
Fuck them if they can take a joke!
Well let me ask you this, Mr. False-prophet! X-day! What about it!? [Note: according the Book of the Sub-Genius, July 8, 1998 was supposed to the “X-Day” when beings from far away, known as “X-ists” would take over the earth.]
I don’t actually read that stuff…
Yeah?! So you’re an ordained reverend in the Church of the Subgenius and X-day has come and gone and there are no X-ists!
Strange, isn’t it?
Since you’re in Wisconsin, what do you know about Lawsonomy?
You know, I drive by it a lot. Whenever I go by it on I-94 I go “Law-Son-OM-eeee! Law-Son-OM-eeee! Law-Son-OM-eeee!” [like the Ramones’ “Teenage Lobotomy”]
[Hysterical laughter from me.]
We’re all about free sweet tarts and reduced price diet Pepsi!
Tell me about the songs, I’ve assumed that a lot of these were written years and years ago some are new…
All of them were written in 1998! These songs were hurriedly bashed out in a matter of moments. “My Radio Is Telling Me To Kill (The Guys On The Radio)” was my attempt to write a radio hit.
Did it work?
I’m not sure. No one’s played it on the radio but no one’s been killed either.
That’s pretty “Stoopid” with two “O’s”, which is what I think Boris the Sprinkler is.
Hear-hear! Stoopid with a “d” or “t”?
Yeah, as in “Stoopit.”
That’s a more Wisconsonian version of “Stoopid”.
You’re a bit like the Dickies, who could be considered to be the fathers of stoopid punk rock.
They could be the fathers of hardcore, too. That first album with the all-pervasive keyboard seemed to aspire to some sort of dunce-pop. We have covered the Dickies’ “Poodle Party,” but we have none of the props. We played with them a few times, too. I got Stan to talk, too. [Imitating crusty Stan Lee, Dickies’ lead guitarist, voice] “…I needed money for drugs and put Iggy’s jacket on the bed for $500, $1000, no… 1500 dollars…” [Historical note: this refers to Stan having owned Iggy Pop’s “leopard” jacket, the one he’s wearing on the Raw Power cover. Search for an old issue of Flipside for a lengthy interview with the Dickies for the whole story!]
The song is about the guys on the radio driving you out of your mind?
That’s it. I was walking around the streets of Green Bay listing to my little hand-held portable that somebody gave me because they didn’t want it anymore and I realized that the radio was, in fact, telling me to kill the guys on my radio. Unfortunately the radio was too small for me to get in there, so I couldn’t get at the tiny men in there and rip them to shreds. But I thought I could convey that message to others.
Oh, those guys on your radio.
Yeah! It’s not actually about guys standing on the radio or something like that. I have been shirking my duty and not been calling DJs urging them to play this song that tells listeners to kill them, though.
What about “Icky Shazam”? Are you a big Captain Marvel fan?
I’m a medium-sized Captain Marvel fan. I was a fan of the live-action TV show in the seventies.
Is there a hidden message in the song?
Hmm, let’s see… Maybe.
Who do you expect to know?
Well, how many disciples has the wizard Shazam put on this earth?
I know of seven. But Captain Marvel could kick Superman’s ass.
Golden Age comics are pretty hard to come by on a punk rocker’s budget, though…
What about “Purple Vulcan Hotrod…”
I believe our drummer came up with the music for the song but I just kind of ripped at it daddy and imagined myself behind the wheel of a purple Vulcan hot rod with a seventeen-barrel engine.
Don’t you think having a hot rod would betray some kind of emotion?
Maybe it’s like the Amish kids who secretly dress in loud clothes and drive red ’66 Impalas.
Come to think of it, a hot rod would be rather un-Vulcanish. It could have been built, though, given the Vulcan culture, it could have been built in their barbaric past when they were given over to passion and almost wiped out their planet.
You win… Next is “Dirty Candy.”
It’s a dirty song.
In a lot of ways. It has almost a quasi-sexual metaphor in it.
Do parents complain about you corrupting their kids?
You know, I think as long as you don’t say anything like “get a gun…” Wait, I think I did say that, um, I don’t know.
Yeah, you only told people to kill the guys on the radio…
That’s right, the Trenchcoat Mafia stole my idea!
Have you though of suing them?
I will! I’ll sue their estate!
What if they were wearing Boris the Sprinkler T-shirts when they did their thing?
Well, the only Boris the Sprinkler T-shirt we have is the classic design that says “I’m into Boris the Sprinkler and I throw like a fag.” So, maybe if they’d have modified it to say “I’m into Boris the Sprinkler and I shoot like a fag,” it would’ve worked.
You don’t get any crap for that T-shirt?
We used to get crap for it, then thirteen year old girls starting walking around with them…
All right, next is “Russian Robot.”
That was inspired by some e-mail address for some sex-robot thing that wasn’t Russian, But it must’ve been inspired by the obvious sources like Russian-ish and robot-ish. It does have the 1960’s James Bond/ I-Spy espionage thing to it.
“Jonestown Judy.” Do you know her?
I believe I did. I’m pretty sure that very few people who buy our album will understand the significance of the Jonestown thing.
“UFO” I stole from Lolie and the Chonies live in 1996 and they sang “rock and roll! Rock and roll!” somehow that got bastardized into “UFO! UFO” — it has nothing to do with that bad British 1960’s TV series of the same name. But I’m thinking we might change the open lyrics of that song to “Michaelshenkergroup! Michaelshenkergroup! Michaelshenkergroup!”
You know, they’re doing a reunion tour!
“My Baby Put Me In The Penalty Box,” is there a hockey thing going on?
There is a hockey thing going on to a certain extant, but you’ll notice that Wisconsin, since we have no hockey team, by the third verse we were reduced to writing about football.
“Gottafuktoday” is a dirty song you can’t play on the radio.
Yeah, we’ll have to change the title to “Gottashittoday.”
It has nothing to do with the android from the new Star Trek show.
A combo song of being sick on a summer day in the park while everyone is walking around having a good time, either that, or someone turning into the Hulk.
“Baby I Got Gas” has no lyrics listed, why?
Actually, if you buy the vinyl they’re there.
My girlfriend is 15.5 years younger than me, smarter than me, better looking and almost as horny.
Punk Rock! Who put the cheese on the head of the Go-Kart mascot?
I put that there!
That’s really Wisconsin! But why Suck , and will you be touring?
Yes! We have just undergone major lineup changes, getting back our original bass player from years ago and we pretty much suck now, but we’re going to suck way worse than on this album. We have not yet played with our new lineup, which is our old lineup. So tonight I’ll listen to the Brewers and eat a chocolate pancake. We’re learning the entire first Circle Jerks album as an encore. Assuming we get calls for encores.
Had enough? No, well, start looking at http://www.gokartrecords.com.