Thursday, May 18, 2006

(From left: Brian Huskey, Mitchell McGirt, Chris Longworth) photo by Mike Traister)

I've been enjoying a real blast from the past these last couple of days. Mitchell McGirt, singer/guitarist of the old Greensboro band Bicycle Face finally put the band's music, and some of his hilarious Mixmaster Mitch mixes, on CD. I will admit that when the band was actually active, I wasn't a huge fan, but listening to these CDs has made me really appreciate what clever songwriters Mitch and Brian Huskey are. Of course, Brian is now known for his comedy, especially his work on Comedy Central and VH1's "Best Week Ever" (not to metion his Hardee's commercials), and his comic talent is evident in these old songs. I've included link's to two of my personal favorites: Irrelevant and I Fell in Love (In the Graveyard).

Here's a picture of the band with Evan Smith, who was never in the band, so I don't really know why he's in the photo. Eric Shepard from Geezer Lake took this one.

What makes the band good is the way Brian's quirky humor plays off of Mitch's self-referential weirdness. A good example of Mitch-style wackiness is the "Mixmaster Mitch" CD. One day back in 1991, Mitch decided, for reasons known only to himself, to create a tape with a bunch of songs and samples mashed together. Mitch's great loves were '80s new wave, local music and twangy country. He also had a bunch of old tapes of himself learning to play guitar, tapes of his old high school band playing such gems as "Sweet Home Alabama" and tapes of Bicycle Face doing dumb stuff. He also had one of the funniest things I've ever heard in my life: A secretly recorded telephone conversation between an older Southern man and his crying, drunk mistress. At one point duirng this conversation, the man tells her, "This is ridiculous," but he really draws it out, so it comes out as "THIS is ru-DICK-a-lus." Mitch combined this little nugget with Johnny Paycheck singing "Take the Job and Shove It," then put it over a power pop song that's either by Majosha (Ben Folds' first band), or Evan Olsen and the Straight Ahead. Or maybe it's a Snuzz song. Regardless, it was a local band. The result is classic.

After spending all day on this masterpiece, Mitch went to every party that took place in Greensboro for the next two weeks or so, and insisted on playing it. Other songs on the CD included a mix of Missing Persons' "Life is So Strange" with Rich Hall saying over and over, " ... now let me tell you about the shopping center"; a song with the opening drum beat from Foxy Lady, with a teenage Mitch struggly to play something (maybe Foxy Lady?) while either Jerry Clower or Mitch's dad says over and over, "Woo! Beautiful!"; a mix of The Shaggs and the full Eddie Murphy gay "Honeymooners" routine. Finally, there's a mix of a goofy, throw-away filler tune from R.E.M.'s "Reckoning" record, a recording of Bicycle Face getting into a mock fight on the air on WQFS (complete with Chris Longworth -- who apparently forgot he was being recorded live -- hollering out "We're leaving! Fuck this shit!"), and Brian Huskey talking about a song he had written about the pain his mother put him through. You can hear that one here.


Karen A. Mann said...

Here's an update from Mitch:

Thank you. That was wonderful. The reason why Evan was
in that photo as well as others in that shoot is
because of this:
Eric Shepherd was going to come over and do a photo
shoot of the band so we could make an official promo
shot to send out with our demos. It was late Novemeber
and it was very chilly that day. I got really drunk
the night before and I had actually slpet in that
suit. We were to rendez vous at Chris' house on Silver
Avenue. Evan Smith lived next door. When Eric showed
up to get the shoot started, Evan came out to get his
mail in his bathrobe. So, we said "Evan! Come on and
be in our photo shoot!" We took several photos,
outdoors, with Evan in the background. We even went
dontown and had Evan, in his bathrobe, with the
Christmas parade going by in the background. It was a
hilarious, surreal photo shoot. The photo that
actually ended up being the official shot was actually
one where Evan was not in the shot. We used the one of
the band close up with a mural of a mermaid that was
on the side of that seafood store on Lee Street behind
us. So, Evan was in all truth used as a prop; however,
he really was like a part of the band in a spiritual
sense, so he appeared like a a the background of the photos.
Also, that sample of "Ruh-dic-uh-lus" is of Snüzz
playing with Ben Folds on drums.

Anonymous said...

excellent piece. i, too, have been enjoying some discs that mitch sent my way. it is indeed great to hear these old gems again. perhaps brian's rising stardom will make a bicycle face re-emergence a necessity.

speaking of surreal, i was watching a red sox game one day and all of a sudden, at the end of the inning, there's brian and chip cheek in a commercial (i can't recall what the product was). turns out the ad was penned by joey v (or so i have been told). it was like a mini gso reunion on a new england sports channel. bizarre.

i must add that the photo of bike face w/ evan is actually scanned from a (quite damaged) negative. i lost the print. i have some similarly poor quality shots of evan walking around barefoot in that robe at the christmas parade.

Anonymous said...

This is awesome! One the best/worst things about Bicycle Face has been our innept laziness with our own self promotion. But now, years later, once Karen FINALLY came around to our genius, we are getting the promotional help we need to get this band off the ground once and for all.

I forget who did this other, more slick promo shot- the one in the spotlight. I know it was a guy who was going to the local photo technical college, I want to say in Asheboro (?). Mitich is better at remmebering actual history. I make shit up in mind a lot.

Hey, these dang links don't work! I want to here these tasty tidbits of US.

Thanks Karen. This is very cool

Karen A. Mann said...

Well, shoot. I don't know why the links don't work. They should open a box that will ask you if you want to download or just listen to them. You should choose download.

I've been trying to talk Mitch into doing a myspace page for Bike Face. Brian, if you're OK with it, and Chris is OK, I could set that up very easily and give all of you the password.

Oysterfish said...


This is great. Is there a CD of this stuff now available somewhere?

Hi Brian!

Chris Toenes