Scharpling and Wurster Hippy Justice: The Best of Scharpling and Wurster on the Best Show on WFMU Volume 3
A few months ago in this paper, I called late-'70s/early-'80s British postpunks Scritti Politti the perpetrators of the weirdest evolution in rock history. It turns out I was wrong: That honor now goes to Old Skull, the late-'80s preteen hardcore punks who reformed earlier this year to play chopsy-wanky jazz fusion. Group member P.J. recently told Tom Scharpling, a DJ on East Orange, New Jersey, freeform radio station WFMU, that he wants the band to hit the road with its early peers, whose names he either mispronounces ("Husker Dude") or misconstrues ("Pussy Galore--I bet she'd be fun"). There's a problem, though: P.J. wasn't really in Old Skull. Having bullied his way into playing a dozen shows on the band's final tour, he's blackmailing them and using their name--this, after having called the cops on his bandmates because, as he told Scharpling, "They were smoking the pot."
All of this is a joke concocted by Scharpling and Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster. It's a sign of Scharpling and Wurster's hyperactive imaginations that "Old Skull" isn't even the most lunatic moment on Hippy Justice. It's trumped by the title routine, in which a listener, tuning in from a nearby commune, requests Canned Heat before revealing himself to be a misogynistic cult leader ("You can learn a lot about a woman by the way she scrubs a cauldron"), not to mention an arsonist, thief (he was hounded out of San Francisco after stealing the Quicksilver Messenger Service's gig take), and violator of child-labor laws: "You show me a kid who doesn't love to put brake pads in a box, and I'll show you a kid who doesn't know what fun is."
Then there's the astonishing "Timmy von Trimble." For eight minutes, it's lightweight sitcom fare--created by genetic scientists. Timmy is two inches tall, lives in a dollhouse, tools around in a Hot Wheels car, and "look[s] like Robert Reed circa '74." Then the talk turns to television, and when it turns out Timmy likes "some" actors better than others, things curdle in a hurry. I'll say no more, other than to note that Timmy delivers the most original death threat I've ever heard from a fictional character: "While you're sleeping, I'm gonna jump in your mouth, and I'm gonna have a big pin with me, and I'm gonna stab you from the inside."
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