Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hijacking Madison Fest and beyond.

I felt like I should take the time to explain this video and my concept of "hijacking shows". Why I started and why I stopped.

It came about when Brandon Z. asked me to play Madison fest but then didn't put me on the schedule. He later told me it was because I canceled a show I was supposed to play in his back yard a week after he asked me to play Madison fest, and Madison Fest was only for people who'd performed in his backyard.

I of course, didn't know that at the time. I was personally insulted that I didn't end up on the schedule--in fact, pretty much any show going on without me on the bill summons me to say "why aren't I playing this". It's just the obnoxious way I am.

so, I decided that the real reason Brandon Z. didn't put me on the Madison Fest schedule was because he only wanted "real musicians" to play his fest. this of course was not true and primarily a product of my own paranoia.

Andy and I decided to hijack the show. I was fixated at the idea that old school rappers only needed a boom box to perform. If any rapper ever saw this video, I'm sure they thought "what's this fag doing?"

We snuck up from behind while these guys were performing, no one looked back at us, we didn't have our masks on yet. I found a baseball bat while walking through west park on the way to the fest and figured it was appropriate. we asked Jenn Smith to hold the camera but we didn't tell her what we were going to do. When we finished and she brought us the camera, she seemed both embarrassed and annoyed with us.

Andy and I waited for the band to say "this is our last song", which they did, but you can tell as we run up on stage that they wanted to play another.

In the video, you can see the moment when we put our masks on because Pat Elkins looks back at us and gets this great big smile on his face.

After we charge the stage and I stumble through my "don't hate us clause", I say something like, "we're P.E.S.T.S.--People's Electronic Synthesizer Terror Squad". Some crap I made up.

up to that point, it was truly the most awkward thing I'd ever done. The CD player skips when I dance to close. I'm clearly nervous. Andy runs out of bubbles.

As you watch me, you know, doing this goofy dance with a stocking on my head--Andy with a ski mask and bubble blower, it's important to know, that I have to answer to the video all the time, like when I met my girlfriends parents and I told them I was a musician. they looked me up and found this video and I'm sure, they questioned what the hell their daughter was doing, dating this idiot.

at 2:26 in the video, I get a phone call from Ted Miller. He asks "where are you guys" and I reply, "I'm in the middle of hijacking a show". I don't know why I answered my phone. It wasn't staged.

Then we pick up the boom box and run off stage.

However awkward this was, the reaction was really positive. It worked because we were "underdogs". People wanted us to win, so we were compelled to do it more and more.


I hijacked another show without Andy at the Olive St. house in Ypsi. It was the most epic of all the stolen shows. I asked Shelley to help me. I was trying a new "double decker boom box" I made. It was really heavy but Shelley was able to get the boom box in front of the Mic anyway. It was so well received though, I started to wonder if we were still the "underdogs" anymore. like, once you become the establishment, you can no longer parade around stealing other peoples shows when everyone was asking you to play legitimately.

After that, people started asking me to Hijack events, and by people, I mean event organizers. They wanted me to perform on a trolley during a festival, which felt more like shtick than a real thing. If I was gonna be asked to play, I didn't want to do it with a boom box. A strange thing about people who do funny shit, some of them want to be taken seriously. So, my heart wasn't in it anymore, I quit doing it.

We filmed the last one we did. Andy and I, at that party house in Detroit. It has this strange intro I filmed for it, which I don't remember doing.


  1. Yeah, I had always wondered what was the story behind the hijackings. one less person you've gotta answer to.

  2. Hmm, there were definitely a bunch of folks on there who hadn't played in the backyard before.

    I think if I somehow asked you to play and then you weren't on the schedule it must have been pure oversight/disorganization/I was drunk when asked you and forgot/missed a myspace message... or something. It seems you would have been on the list of people I would have asked, though.

    Good to know you were actually insulted, though-- I just sort of took it as you guys doing your thing and found it entertaining!

  3. I thought you were gonna talk about how after the hijacking you, andy, ted miller and i all hung out and went to potbelly's, or something...

    there were a lot more hijackings that i remember but yeah, i guess that 310 olive st one was the most epic.

    one in particular i remember at a party at black elk...i think it was a fundraiser show for the eqmc...i think in like december 2006...i just remember it was pretty fun, there was a lot of people at that party and you were running into all the different rooms with the boombox. jeez that was a while ago i guess!

  4. that photo was taken by amber at 310 olive & i think all of us (you me and claire) have always liked that one a lot