Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Too Much Joy - Mutiny - 1992

"Mutiny" should've been Too Much Joy's big break. The band had been building a solid fanbase for a while, and the song "Crush Story" from "Cereal Killers" had been getting college radio play. So what happened? A couple of things. First and foremost, Giant Records didn't really know what to do with the band. They weren't quite punk, weren't quite pop, weren't quite rock, and Giant didn't really have any idea where to put the band. Beyond that, "Mutiny" represented a step forward for the band, but one that tended to put a few people on edge, because the album had a certain more mature flair to it, with lyrics that were introspective and layered, so some of the initial fanbase felt a bit edged out. (Keep in mind, Too Much Joy's first album was called "Green Eggs and Crack.")

Too Much Joy didn't do anything the way bands are supposed to. The video for the single from "Mutiny," the insanely catchy "Donna Everywhere," had a video directed by Penn of Penn & Teller, and showed how the band was spending the budget of their video in a mall, getting instruments, food, pets, etc. They had KRS-One rapping on a song on "Cereal Killers." They covered LL Cool J's "That's A Lie" on "Son Of Sam I Am." They played 2 Live Crew songs in Florida, specifically to get arrested on that state's obscenity laws. They were sued by Bozo the Clown for an unauthorized sample. They didn't even retire, just sort of go on a hiatus they come on and off from. I saw them live on tour for "...finally" and got to interview Tim Quirk for the Daily Nebraskan. I even got the band to sign my CD booklet for "...finally," to my enjoyment.

They were always a catchy band, full of enthusiasm. Hell, they even have their own theme song, called, appropriately "Theme Song," from "Cereal Killers," that contains the closing refrain of the majority of their shows "To create, you must destroy, smash a glass and cry, Too Much Joy!" But the band ran its course, and around 2001, they semi-packed it in. They haven't put out anything new since, and they've only played a couple of live gigs here and there. Tim (the vocalist) and Jay (the guitarist) put together a side project called Wonderlick that's put out a few good albums.

"Mutiny" really is the crown jewel of a great collection of albums, though, full of killer songs, from the song "Donna Everywhere" (written about Tim's meeting of his wife), to the castrato of "Just Like A Man," to the shrieks of "What It Is," to the drowning dreams of "Starry Eyes," to the murderous lyrics of "Sort Of Haunted House," to the quiet, simple melody of "Unbeautiful."

I love this album, nay this band, and you should too.

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