Tuesday, September 30, 2008

PLEASEEASAUR live at The Khyber, 9/23

Pleaseeasaur is a goofy song-costume-visual comedy onslaught that hit The Khyber's stage last Tuesday night. Imagine costumed characters singing and dancing in front of a visual projector about fake products like Bowl Noodle Hot (It's what the Japanese have loved for centuries), films like La Nights 2 (it's even hotter 'cause it's number 2!) and sometimes just the absurd ("Warning: These Cobras Are Totally Cool").

The band has a DVD, three albums (the most recent being 2006's The Amazing Adventures of Pleaseeasaur for Comedy Central Records) and numerous other tapes, but it's something that has to be experienced live. After a costume change behind the curtain, a stoner-type walks out in a ripped "King of The Remote Control" t-shirt. Time for some jokes about drinking and partying, right? Nope. Instead, the song is mostly an earnest list of things that you can do in your free time. Clip art images sync up with what the character is singing about, like "Threaten Some Kids", "Practice Your Home Run Swing", and the crowd's favorite: "Winning A Jazz Trophy". What?!

Creator J.P. Hasson has been doing it since the early 90s. During his high school years in the Seattle area, Hasson would mess around on his dad's Yamaha sequencer. "I would hang out and smoke pot in my parents' garage. I'd compose little MIDI things on it and then improv straight to tape." He continues: "I've always been a huge TV commercial and theme song junkie. When I would watch TV with my sisters, we would all watch the show and then I would watch them when the commercials came on. Just to see how they would react to certain things." That would explain the healthy amount of songs for fake companies like "No Prob Limo", "Pizza Brothers & Sons Inc.", and "Randy Normal Jeans". "They're real companies," Hasson says. "I own 117 companies. I figure if one can get off the ground..."

He's got a Philadelphia connection as well. J.P. first saw Philly's own Dead Milkmen at the age of 15. "Everyone classified them as a punk band, but I never thought they were a punk band. I just considered them a comedy-art band. So by self-classifying it as that, I got a lot more out of it as far as content and delivery." He became friends with the group and sent them his early Pleaseeasaur tapes, which they would listen to in their tour van and laugh at. When he got older, J.P. even moved to Philadelphia and was in a band with Dead Milkmen guitarist Joe Genaro ("Joe Jack Talcum").

What's next for Pleaseeasaur? There's a new DVD in the works, a West Coast tour with Joe Jack and he's done the theme song for a new Cartoon Network show. But J.P. will always enjoy performing live the most. It's also probably the key to his success as Pleaseeasaur has opened for stand-up comic Neil Hamburger and the indie rock bands Black Heart Procession, The Melvins, Man...or Astro Man?, Pinback and Presidents of the United States of America over the years. "I like doing records and DVDs, but I will and I do drive hundreds of thousands of miles to perform 40 minutes."

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