Randy Quaid debuts bizarre 'Star Whackers' song
Robert Collins, ctvbc.ca
Published Saturday, March 19, 2011 12:58PM PDT
Let's not forget that when it comes to the latest wave of celebrity lunacy, Randy Quaid's paranoid exit from the United States set the trendsetting benchmark that Charlie Sheen and Colonel Gaddafi have shamelessly tried to follow ever since.
With the film work obviously drying up, Quaid's new venture is music. And for roughly six minutes Vancouver and The Commodore Ballroom became centre of the gossip world as the ‘Secret Guest' at The Town Pants' St Patrick's Weekend show strode on stage with his band, The Fugitives (stop, or my sides may literally split) and delivered his message of conspiracy theory gibberish through the ever-popular medium of song.
At first, it all seemed rather normal. Dressed in black and illuminated by a single overhead spotlight that made him resemble the equally tubby Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now, Quaid introduced himself and his band, calmly explained that he and his wife had been through some trying times recently and started to sing. And strangely enough, it wasn't bad at all, as Quaid crooned his way through the type of torch song Johnny Cash embraced in his final years in a rich, melancholy baritone. Everyone was too shocked to register what the song was actually called, but the whole thing was so soft, restrained and sensitive, we all started wondering if Quaid was as crazy as he reputation had led us to believe.
As the final chord chimed, the stage lights came on and Quaid and The Fugitives launched into the future classic, Star Whackers.
Words are so ineffective compared to the videos that are now available on YouTube. Let's simply say that on the Rebecca Black Friday-o-meter of pop awfulness, this barked, tuneless, allegedly comic blast of c-list celebrity ranting scores an extremely healthy 9.3.
Quaid finished the song flat on his back, the victim of a musical assassination. And with that, the performance was over. Memorable only for its brevity and bizarreness, it'll certainly be one to tell the kids about. When they've been particularly badly behaved.
It turns out that there were actual musicians here that people had paid to see. The Town Pants are a Vancouver institution. They deliver beer-drinking music par excellence, Irish folkpunk, motored along by a persistent kick drum thump and a foxy violinist to keep the guys' attention when their energy begins to flag. All their songs are virtually identical and at their best, on high-speed blasts down Vancouver or Galway's memory lanes like The Old Landlord and The Boys of the Old Brigade, it's irresistible fun, perfect for The Commodore's springy floor.
At the Pants' finale they joyfully called the support acts on stage to join in with a rousing rendition of the folk classic, Good Night Irene. The Fugitives were all present, but Randy had left the building, the role of on-stage actor now played by Matthew Modine. Seriously. You couldn't make this up.
In an evening defined by collapsing celebrities and never-ending penny whistle solos, it would break the music writer's oath not to mention that the brightest stars of the night were the real support band, Mezamazing. This Vancouver nine-piece sound like Slipknot, had the masked maniacs grown up in a Turkish bazaar, never heard of heavy metal and chosen to arm themselves with accordions, flutes and sousaphones. At one point Mezamazing had fifty members of the crowd dancing arm in arm in a huge circle, with band and audience breaking the chain to bust dance moves in the middle. Genuinely, honestly, brilliant. They could and should be huge.
The night was never about music though. It was about oddness. And on that count at least, Randy Quaid delivered.