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. And 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 weirdness 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.
JJ SAYS: “I have been asked many times how I came up with the name Slim Beat for my popular song. This song gets played a lot in exercise clubs and gyms. It is so infectious and popular that the exercise clubs that play it guarantee that within one week their clients are guaranteed to lose 10 pounds. Their technique is the song is repeated five times, one after another. The exercisers dance into a frenzy and within a week they will lose at least 10 pounds. Thats why it is called Slim Beat.”
My Cup Of Coffee
JJ SAYS: “I am so possessive of my cup of coffee that I got into a bar fight. Someone got drunk and accidentally touched my cup. I screamed at him to remove his fingerprints due to Covid-19 restrictions. Not only did he not do that but he picked it up and almost drank from it. I snatched it out of his hands and started screaming uncontrollably. Nearby was a Hydraulic lifting device with arms. I went over, attached the device to him and carried him out of the coffee shop down the street. I love my coffee and hate anyone that comes too close to it.”
Look Up And See The Stars Shining
JJ SAYS: “Have you heard the expression, ‘pulling the wool over someone’s eyes?’ Two friends who were diamond hunters heard of a location where, during The Civil War, some theives dug a pit and buried $10 million worth of precious stones.They had a map giving the exact location, in a desert near a palm tree. They went to work at night. The pit was dug but it was very dark. One friend had a sophisticated stone sensor that was able to identify the type of stone and its value when he pointed the sensor at it. A flashlight was insufficient to see most of these stones. Every time his friend saw a cluster of stones with his machine, he asked his friend to Look Up And See The Stars Shining. What he really meant was, ‘Don’t look down and see the jewels shining.’ Then he tossed them into his backpack.”
You Make Me Feel Just Like A King
JJ SAYS: “This song is dedicated to my car mechanic. Over the many years I have been with him, he really makes me feel like a king. He is the best mechanic I have ever had. I can tell he cares so much for me and my car because every time I go in he helps me by finding new things broken in my car. Its just amazing. One time I went in and he said he noticed a new leak and he was right; there was red liquid flowing out of my car. Within three days I had to return due to a scraping sound underneath my car. It was a submarine sandwich that got caught in my engine. It must have happened after I left from the last repair because there is a submarine sandwich store next to his repair shop. He replaced my engine and bought me a submarine sandwich too. He even confides in me. He told me he does not have a lot of clients and I am his favorite. I was so happy for him when he moved from his apartment into a house. He explained it was due to my loyalty. He always discounts my repairs. He changed my windshield wipers and explained he normally charges $300, but for me it was only $250. He is so reasonable. If you are in need of a repair, tell him I sent you. His repair shop is called Ribboff Repairs. His motto is We Break And Fix On The Spot. My song You make me Feel Just Like A King is dedicated to him!”