Detroit’s oddest export hits Blind Bob’s
By W.C. Ruffnel
(Note: This interview is not for the faint of heart nor those easily offended by slang terminology, strong language or rock ‘n’ roll. An artist’s vision is just that, regardless of word choice.)
With a touring schedule more hectic than going through a hoarder’s house full of animal carcasses and an incendiary live show worthy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Detroit’s Downtown Brown have quickly made a name for themselves in the national underground touring circuit. What seems like your average funk/punk/metal/progressive/good-times band is perhaps much more — the entire package. Watching their videos on YouTube will reveal a band glorifying Hawaiian shirts, mummy costumes and nonsensical phrasings with some of the oddest and catchiest punk rock this side of the Mississippi. I got a chance to talk to Neebo Gramperson, lead singer and master of outrageous ceremonies in regard to their Cat2Dad Tour (Starring Downtown Brown as “Thad’s Dad”), their newest album and music in general.
Who are your band members and what do they do?
Ron’s Town (bass guitar/vocals), Robby (drums) and myself, Neebo Gramperson (vocals/guitar).We write stupid songs.
How would you describe your music?
Fun! We hate the things you hate and then we make fun of them while making you dance … we are just like you. We like Prince and Slayer. [NG]
How long have you been on this current tour?
Since October 28; just a three-week run. In the winter we do the west coast and we’ll be out for a couple months. Our 2010 release has been making the rounds. We’re on DC-Jam Records with other bands like Fishbone, JFA and TSOL. [NG]
How did you feel about your last Dayton show and what do you think of the city?
That show was a fucking blast! A lot of old dudes smoked weed with us. [NG]
Can you tell me about the “stupid gay band” moniker, so the readers may have some insight on to what this exactly means?
In Detroit, (where we’re from) people are mean. We used to have a website when we first started out. People would go on there and say one of two things: “You guys are gay” and “You guys are stupid.” So we just went with it. Stupidgayband.com is our website. We are indeed stupid and gay as fuck. We’re one of the happiest bands on the planet. Even though the world is coming to an end, we play happy music for happy people. Just like a stupid gay band should. [NG]
You seem to get a lot of comparisons to Mr. Bungle and a ‘punk rock Frank Zappa,’ would you say that’s accurate?
That’s what some critics have said. We play diverse rock music with a sense of humor … so it makes sense. I’ll take it! I would lick Frank Zappa’s ass if he were still alive, so to even be mentioned in the same sentence gets my cock hard. Like I said … I’ll take the comparison. But for the record, I could never be the composer that Frank Zappa was and I would give my left nut to be able to sing like Mike Patton (Mr. Bungle/Faith No More lead singer – Ed.) Mad respect. They are better than we’ll ever be. [NG]
How often do people ask you questions about Downtown Julie Brown?
Yeah, it’s fucking obnoxious but that’s what we get for naming our band something so stupid. It just sounded dirty and funky so we went with it. [NG]
There are a lot of instruments on record that aren’t heard in the live set — can we expect a giant Downtown Brown band sometime in the perceivable future?
[Are] you going to lend me some money to pay extra musicians? I wish. On the road we are a three piece. Like a heavy metal Sublime … on crack. [NG]
Tell me about Thad, is a he good son?
Thad’s Dad seems to think so. [NG]
What would you say if someone called you a ska band?
People feel the need to categorize music. It’s pointless. Call us whatever the fuck you want. We’re not a ska band. We’re Downtown-fucking-Brown. [NG]
Can you tell me about your most current release?
It’s called Grabbleton’s Beach. It’s our X-rated children’s record. It’s retarded … and my most realized vision to date. I think it’s a great fucking album. [NG]
What are your future plans?
Find a way to scrape a living from making dumb songs. I’m almost there. Just gotta keep hustling. Tour till I die. [NG]
Downtown Brown will perform at Blind Bob’s November 12 for the CAT2DAD Tour in support of their most recent album with Atomic Potato and the Get-Ups. Visit stupidgayband.com or dcjamrecords.com for more info.
Reach DCP freelance writer W.C. Ruffnel at WCRuffnel@DaytonCityPaper.com.