Sometimes, Life is Fun + Coneheads

by Joshua B. Hoe Today, The Coneheads came into my life...well, more specifically, the band The Coneheads...more specifically yet:

The Coneheads - L.P. 1 - aka 14 Year Old HS PC Fascist Hype Lords Rip Off Devo 4 the Sake of Extorting $$$ from Helpless Impressionable Midwestern Internet Peoplepunks L.P.

I am very glad that they visited my life. This album is, for a punk enthusiast, fresh air...and comforting nostalgia at the same time.

Before I say more about the music.

Coneheads? Pt. 1

I hate the Fuckin’ Coneheads Man.


I love Classic era SNL, I love Belushi, I love Ackroyd (especially when he is playing a smarmy smark type like the bass-o-matic bit), I love Steve Martin’s clever silliness, I am a lifetime defender of Garret Morris, I love Gilda and have always loved Jane Curtain.

Jane Curtain and Dan Ackroyd are all-time funny doing their Crossfire bit. They had great chemistry together.

But, the Coneheads skit sucked.

It sucked then, it sucks now (why is it back as a commercial...why...oh...why). It is a very boring take on fish out of water with a few (too few) funny bits (covering for being aliens by being from France).

It is not just the genre...I loved Brother from Another Planet...and what makes it better is that the political criticism is woven into the work...It screams about injustice. The main character is dropped into a position where he has to absorb the injustice of being black in America.

The Coneheads has no teeth, they seem like a suburban alien family transferred to earth to be a suburban human family. They probably ate their version of a good healthy breakfast after getting the Melnakian paper and patting the alien version of a dog before going to school and work. What is funny about that? Would having the characters from Friends get transplanted to Mars be funny?

The truth of these kind of fish out of water gags is that the “fish” exposes the actual quality of the water that the rest of us live in. With the Coneheads, what did we learn about our society...That we were kind of stupid and accepting of difference?

Anyway, that said.

About Devo

I love Devo...I mean love Devo...They were disruptive and crazy and wildly different.

They should have lived forever...and in a way they do….but, they could have been a constant kick in the pants to music as it is usually sold, bands as they usually operate, and personal and social politics as they mostly exist in this country.

Who can forget the amazing and literal uncovering of the dirty truth of Reagan Era ethics that Whip-It and it’s great video exposed...they had so many great subversive takes on culture at a time when Alex P. Keaton’s sweaters were ruling the airwaves

Unfortunately, Devo embraced an ethos of incorporation at any cost. Back in the 80’s the theory they espoused was that no matter who wanted to incorporate Devo (no matter if it was the tv show square pegs or a television commercial) they were game because they believed that they could almost corrupt any process that they became a part of. It was almost like they saw themselves as a virus that they could inject into almost anything and turn people Devo.

The sad truth is that instead of injecting the world with the corrupting influence of Devo….Devo was domesticated by pop culture. They used to be very politically subversive and now they are a novelty pop act to be seen mostly on summer nostalgia tours. It is mostly sad because they had important things to say, and it would have been a better world had they stayed relevent.

If you have never listened to early Devo stuff….You should. I still consider their cover of the Rolling Stones ‘Satisfaction’ to be one of the best cover versions ever made.

Coneheads Pt. 2

Okay, so, today, I was exposed to Coneheards….or as I said before:

The Coneheads - L.P. 1 - aka 14 Year Old HS PC Fascist Hype Lords Rip Off Devo 4 the Sake of Extorting $$$ from Helpless Impressionable Midwestern Internet Peoplepunks L.P.

And all I can say is that it is a total blast. A breath of fresh air. Both nostalgiac and new.

I definately hear the Devo influence and politics, and the California hard-core influence (I hear Dead Kennedies in the music and the political commentary)...I also hear the Germs...There is the influence of quick short bursts of sound as songs...They sound fun, but, like Devo, they also communicate a real punk ethos...They are outing gated communities and big money (big cities). Their singer tries to hide his anger a bit, but his anger is clearly there...he is saying things that matter to him even if it is cloaked in alien imagery...just like Devo did.

But despite all the obvious influences, the album still feels fresh and fun...I have not bounced around that much in my chair while listening to music in months.

I have listened to hundreds of new albums this year...Some were probably much better objectively...but I am not sure I felt anywhere near as refreshed after listening to them as I did to Coneheads.

Sometimes life is just fun.

Let’s hope that they keep their edge and don’t end up opening for the American Idol nostalgia tours 20 years from now.

Did you like LP1? Do you mind a bit of silly fun in your Punk? Love to hear what you think, leave a comment!