Illustration: Craig Secrist
Given our family’s passion for music, it’s only natural that Oom and I would form a band. Strangely, neither Oom nor I have actually ever pursued the mastering of any particular instrument and have only rudimentary experience with piano and violin. In the 7th grade Oom dedicated the whole of two and a half weeks to the HURDY GURDY. His enthusiasm for that instrument was quickly ditched in favor of entomology.
Having exposure to so many different types of music, we are well aware that the mastering of an instrument is not absolutely necessary to the making of great music. Our family has a particular room in our home set aside specifically for artistic creation. The parents have filled it with anything they think might aid in that creation - all kinds of paint, paper, canvass, drawing implements, inks, macaroni (really!), glitter glue, etc… Most importantly, they’ve installed a kick-ass sound system. Mom, in one of her own cheesy fits of inspiration, christened the room The Den Of Inspiration - she even painted a cutesy wooden sign that says just that and nailed it up over the door. I call it The Den Of Instigation.
Every so often, Oom and I will host a music listening evening in our Den, usually inviting over several friends. On one such evening while listening to a lot of THE SLITS, VIRGIN PRUNES and THROBBING GRISTLE, we were all truly inspired. We would start bands. If those bands could make such insanely great music, so could we. The party separated into three groups with each group challenged to form a band. Our particular group included Thumper Furlong, Hephzibah Shakespeare, Natty Leviathan, Oom and me. We settled on the band name THE WEEPING GIBLETS.
Thumper is already an accomplished drummer, and Hephzibah has been professionally singing sacred chorale music all over the world for the past coupla years. Natty is herself a locally established singer/songwriter and decided to give up our band the very next day. As much as I like Natty, she may have tried to steer us down the unwashed body-odor path of non-stop inner-self reflection. I think THE WEE PING GIBLE TS are better off forging ahead without her. The other bands formed that evening were THE SOUP-GONE-WRONGS and COUSCOUS CABOOSE. The Soup-Gone-Wrongs decided to go for that Brit-pop jangly guitar thing and Couscous Caboose gleefully declared themselves “Retard Funk,” which suits them perfectly. Instead of settling on a particular sound or style, we in The Weeping Giblets forged out a manifesto:
THE WEEPING GIBLETS will wiggle through time and space following these vague guidelines:
1. NO GUITARS!
2. PERCUSSION MUST BE AT LEAST 2/3 NON DRUM.
3. WORD OR LINE IN SONG MUST NEVER BE REPEATED IN QUICK SUCCESSION (preferably not at all).
4. SOMETHING IN ATTIRE MUST ALWAYS BE ASKEW.
5. POLI TICS AND PREACHING HAVE ABSOLU TELY NO PLACE IN OU R JOYFUL NOISE.
6. LIST OF RULES MUST REGULARLY BE DESECRATED BY EACH BAND MEMBER.
Amendment 1: Guitar possible if strings are not plucked or strummed in typical fashion.
Clarification: Grunts, groans, yelps, hollers, chants etc… do not constitute a repeated word or phrase.
BAND: Hephzibah Shakespeare - affectionately known as Zibah or Zeebah: Lead vocals, various noise makers, and so much more.
Boudica Juicyfruit - Boo: Keyboards, klankers, claps and castanets. Also singing.
Oomingmak Juicyfruit - Oom: The hurdy-gurdy, noise, and interpretive dance when he thinks nobody is looking.
Thumper Furlong - sometimes referred to as The Humper: Drums, percussion, bad jokes, and band morale.
Surprisingly, several months after forming, we’re still enthusiastically working away at it. So far the music has been mainly rhythmic since Thumper is the only one of us who really knows what he’s doing. Oom and I will work sounds on top of Thumper’s rhythms though very little melody ever issues forth.
Zibah who is usually a quiet, polite, well-spoken and soft-spoken bookworm, silent beauty type, suddenly becomes possessed when she starts to sing, whoop and holler over our noise. She transforms into a wild and ferocious snake woman and seems to be channeling an entity akin to the 1970’s funk goddess Betty Davis. That girl has a lot of power pent up behind all that politeness. It’s kinda scary.
We’ve played a handful of shows, always with The Soup-Gone-Wrongs and Couscous Caboose.
Because we’re all well under 21 and there are few all-ages venues in Salt Lake City, most of the shows we play are house parties and usually in front of the same group of friends. My idea is to start doing guerilla style performing - showing up uninvited at interesting public places like The Beehive House, Eagle Gate, or on the steps of the State Capital - setting up probably only acoustic instruments, play and make as much noise as possible before an officious-type crawls out of some hole and makes us stop and go away.