Some musicians are eccentric. Others are eclectic. Still others are enigmatic. But few combine all those qualities — along with several other brilliantly bizarre traits — quite like the masked mad scientist who goes by the handle JJ’s Music Retaliation.
The Toronto singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist / one-man band / smart-alec / icon / iconoclast first bum-rushed my in-box with one of his singularly strange songs a few months back. Since then, I seldom go more than a few weeks without being gifted with another of his wonderfully skewed mini-masterworks. Andn I am ashamed to admit I have come to anticipate them.
Truth is, you never really know what you’re going to get from JJ (real name: Daniel Greenwood). It could be a song about a fish dinner or a cup of coffee. A camel ride or his car mechanic. Aliens or his favourite colour. The track might be funky. It might rock out. It might be electronic. It might be psychedelic. It will probably have a blistering guitar solo. But mostly, it will probably sound like Frank Zappa, Nash the Slash, Iggy Pop, Prince and The Red Hot Chili Peppers took vast quantities of psychotropic drugs and locked themselves in a studio for several weeks.
If you can imagine that, you’re halfway to understanding the unbridled, freewheeling that JJ routinely and regularly unleashes from the overheated petri dish of his brain. To get the rest of the way, check out some of his recent offerings below. I’m featuring a handful every week for the next little while, along with track-by-track explanations and artwork suppled by the man himself. May heaven help us all.
My Body Back
JJ SAYS: “Aliens landed. They considered humans to be inferior and not too smart. Their mission was to bring back bodies and heads so they could clone and duplicate them on their planet so they could intermingle with us on Earth. At first they landed in The States. Every time they approached a person to borrow their head they were chased, shot at and cursed. They decided next to try Canada. Canada is differant. Canadians are polite. Most people they approached answered politely, “How and when will I get it back?” Or “How can I live without a head?” The aliens laughed at this question since they know humans are pretty dumb and could easily survive without one. They did find an extremely dumb person who asked the same questions, but when he heard the answers he gave in. The alien promised he would return with a newer and better version of his head and he would be kept alive by being attached to a machine. Two years later the guy started getting suspicious — yes it took him two years. His friend who was looking for him finally caught up with him. He asked him what happened? He explained everything and asked his friend to do him a favour: The alien had left his card with him. On it was the name of his home world — Planet Tush Tush — and a phone number. He asked his friend to call the number and tell the person who answers the phone I want My Body Back.”
Where Did You Go I Can’t find You Anywhere
JJ SAYS: “There is a story behind this song: My former wife never stopped complaining that I never made enough money to support her buying habits. I came up with a brilliant idea! A friend of mine has family in Saudi Arabia. He told me about his cousin whose name is Sheik Robinson. I spoke to Sheik Robinson and he assured me that all his wives live in luxury and whatever they desire he buys for them. He offered $3,000,000 for my wife. I told my wife I am sending her there for a vacation.”
Wake Me Up And Tap Me
JJ SAYS: “This song is not what you might think its about. Anyone who is so inclined can Wake Me Up And Tap Me by E-Transfering money into my account. I have a special phone number you can call which will ring my phone any time of day or night. The ring is 30 seconds of coins falling into a can! Please only transfer minimum of $100. It has to be worth my while. Oh, and yes I appreciate it. What will I use the money for? Whatever I damn well want. Since I do not want to overwhelm the bank please call me 10 minutes before so I can tell the next person to wait 30 minutes before they send.”
JJ SAYS: “Blue has always been my favorite colour. I have special blue food-colouring dye that I use to colour my milk. We were able to change the colour of our grass to blue. Our dog’s fur was dyed blue — in fact, even my hair has taken on a blue colour. My religion is called Bluish. I searched all over the world for a wife who would fit into this equasion. Her name is Annie Blue.”