The Sloppy Boys, the Only Band That Matters
I am a man of fierce, curious convictions. Undoubtedly the strongest is that a rock band, in order to consider itself worthy of being called a rock band, should make music about rocking, rocking out, partying, drinking beer, being in a band, sparking up doobies, hanging out in a hammock on vacation, babes and having fun. That’s the only subject matter appropriate for rock. All that other shit about life and love and society and whatnot? Boring. Lame. Leave that shit to Bono and whatever his band is called.
Accordingly, sometimes when I’m absent-mindedly singing some song as I’m going through my day, CRUSHING IT, I will change the lyrics to popular songs to make them more rocking by altering the lyrics so that they are about rocking, rocking out, partying, drinking beer, being in a band, sparking up doobies, hanging out in a hammock on vacation, babes and having fun. I am similarly of the mindset that if you are a musician in a band you should drop your name in your songs as often as possible to really establish that you’re a larger than life character, and not just a man who is proficient at playing an instrument.
This is how I amuse myself and hold the unrelenting agony of existence at bay temporarily.
Of course I have plenty of other convictions as well, some of which undoubtedly contradict my feelings about the kind of subject matter that is appropriate for rock and roll songs but my most important conviction is that rock bands should sing about rocking and pretty much nothing else.
So you can imagine how exciting I was to discover the music and magic of the Sloppy Boys (Mike Hanford, Jefferson Dutton, and Tim Kalpakis), a trio of comedian/actor/writer/musicians from cult sketch comedy troupe The Birthday Boys whose vibe is “We recently learned how to play our instruments and are ready to rock.”
The Sloppy Boys share my philosophy about the essence of rock and the importance of mentioning yourself and your band in your songs even if you aren’t a rapper. They don’t just share my theory about how rock bands should rock hard and really party it up with infectious ditties about rocking hard and partying it up; they embody it. The Sloppy Boys are to the teens what the Clash was to the late 1970s: the only band that matters.
The Sloppy Boys’ 2018 debut Lifelong Vacation roars out of the gate with “Tom Collins”, a booze-sodden tribute not just to the titular alcoholic concoction but to pretty much every alcoholic drink, and the magical men and women who make it possible for consenting adults to embarrass themselves by getting shit-faced.
The Sloppy Boys are an ironic party band that rocks in a decidedly non-ironic way. The songs are simple to an appropriately parodic degree but also insanely catchy, the kind of maddeningly addictive tunes that takes up valuable real estate in your mind and refuses to leave.
The Sloppy Boys are honoring God’s plan for them and all rock and rollers by singing about partying, rocking out, beer, doobies, hammocks and themselves. Even their baseball song, “Party With the Reds” is ultimately less about sports than partying and drinking and having fun with comically outsized drums of Cracker Jack and vats of nacho cheese.
On “Here for the Beer”, which gets bonus points for referencing the band’s name as well as the names of all of its members, the boys head to the Hollywood Hills for a decadent soiree. A debauched Hollywood bigwig tries to corrupt the boys with purring offers of cocaine, meth or pills, only to be greeted with the title.
“Here For the Beer” is sung with a teasing, playful arrogance that belies the song’s bleary turn wherein the Sloppy Boys, unable to hold their liquor despite beer seemingly making up most of their life and identity, fall apart in various sad, embarrassing states of excessive inebriation.
On “Here for the Beer”, the moderate-partying trio turns down all drugs in favor of their beloved beer but on “Pass That Doobie” they trade in the brash 1980s party rock sound for outlaw country rock and a tribute to the soft drug beloved by the party community.
The vibe and title of Lifelong Vacation is so 1987, perhaps not coincidentally the year Aerosmith’s Permanent Vacation was released, sonically and lyrically that the references to bitcoins and partying in the twenty teens on “Big Screen TV"s” feel like weird glitches in the matrix, time warp moments from a band joyously stuck somewhere in the Reagan era. The reference to rocking in the twenty teens also feels strange because nobody has rocked this entire stupid decade. Nope, the 1980s represented the last time this country rocked, even a little, which is why The Sloppy Boys need to return rock to that neon era of Nagel posters and Spuds Mackenzie in order to resurrect its true, rocking, partying essence.
If their social media accounts are to believed, The Sloppy Boys will be blessing us with a follow-up album that they are understandably terrified with be leaked to Napster, killing its chances of a top-ten debut. It will be interesting to see if they continue down the path of rocking righteousness, turning out another head-spinning platter of fan favorites about rocking, partying and brews or if they’ll err on the side of making music about literally anything else.
I don’t want to put too much pressure on the guys but they are rock and roll’s last, best hope. Their next album will determine whether rock and roll will survive. Heck, their next album will determine whether rock and roll deserves to survive. That’s an awfully tall order but I have absolute faith in The Sloppy Boys, a band that knows how to party and knows how to rock. Really, can you ask for anything more?
I make my living largely through crowd-funding so if you would be kind enough to consider pledging over at https://www.patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace