HESIENBURG DELIVERS "THANK YOU VERY MUCH, DOMO ARIGATO"

1/2/03

After twenty long years, the avant-garde musician, Domo Arigato receives his due respect and appreciation from the community of musicians. However, bizarre the appreciation may be, a veritable cornucopia of various bands have come together to pay tribute to the keyboard player of the new wave band, Culture Shock.

Bryan Heisenburg and Puggsy Rhodes have pulled together several old friends, patched up differences with old enemies, made a lot of threats, and mostly, made a lot of bribes and promises for free studio time to bring together varying styles to cover many of Arigato's more famous songs.

The album begins quickly with a mysteriously named band, Himitsu wo shiri tai, composed of two DJ's, DJ-D2 and DJ Wheezin'. We aren't sure who these two mysterious men are, but we've got a pretty good guess. Using synthesizers and a drumbeat of a high-hat and bass, the two DJ's modernize the song "190bpm". Even with modernized keyboard sounds, the song more or less sounds the same as the original version, which gives the listener the feeling of being hit repeatedly in the head with a blunt object a little more than three times each second.

Bryan Heisenburg then pulls together his band, The Heisenburg Principle, featuring an old Arigato friend, drummer Wes Weston, for a fairly straightforward cover of "Green Golf Balls", including an outro of their own song "File Not Found" tagged onto the end.

Bryan's son, Hezekiah Heisenburg, reunites the Youth Group Counselors for a ska version cover of one of Arigato's solo pieces, "Benehana." The song has all of the standard ska elements, including Hezekiah's growling voice, bright horns, and a sharp polka beat. The band even improvised on Arigato's piece by including a new bridge with the horns and drums coming together in a steady beat as Heisenburg yells "Jump, Jump, yo!"

Despite repeated calls, the band Medusa was unable to finish a song for the tribute and so their single, "Journey of the Hobbit" is included on the album. The song doesn't really fit in with the rest of the album and sticks out quite a bit from the rest of the record. However the meandering guitar highlighted by Johann Sebastian Smith's crooning vocals promise that this album, whenever it does it released, will be a treat. One of the members of Medusa, however, contributed his own totally produced song to the tribute album. Master Big Pimpin's, "My True Identity", reminds a listener of such great artists as Ja Rule and DMX, while keeping firmly anchored to Arigato's legendary lyrics.

David's Harp contribution to the album is not a cover, but an original song. The song "God Loves You, Domo Arigato" tells Domo that he can still experience true happiness and salvation. Silas and Melvin Myers wrote the song before discovering that Arigato had been dead for twenty years and were quite dismayed that his eternal fate has likely already been decided by now.

Chester Wiggins and Earwig did tear themselves away from PS2 long enough to join Wes Weston for a cover of the Culture Shock song, "Unagi". The loud, punk-sounding, cover mainly consisted of Wiggins' imitating Vijay Saraahmitaj's cries of "Danger!" while Earwig pounded out Red Bear Squatting's bass part. The bass sounded quite snappy and clearer, perhaps because Earwig was not hitting the peace pipe as hard. (Though, Earwig has said that the peace pipe enhances his "Grand Theft Auto" experiences.)

The moving and serious piece, "Requiem for Nagasaki" is covered by the modern bluegrass band, Jeb McGee and the Finger Pickins', but somehow we think this band was a poor choice for such a monumental song. It is hard to keep a straight face as Jeb McGee sings, "All them chillins' thrown on the ground. They ain't movin' again." The banjo, harmonica, and jug in the background don't help either.

Bryan Heisenburg's daughter, Gomer, is apparently a huge fan of the boy band, Tru 2 U, so Bryan managed to get them onto the album. The cover "Dance of the DJ-San" doesn't show much originality, Tru 2 U sampled the music parts of the song, added a drum beat and just added their crooning vocals over it, but, hey, what do you expect from a pop band?

Bryan's wife, Sophie Heisenburg, an accomplished operatic singer violinist, delivers her first ever solo performance. However, once again, maybe the right artist wasn't matched with the right song. Sophie's strong vibrato and alto voice gives the listener an uneasy feeling as she sings about the strength and power of being a man during Arigato's solo piece, "I Am The Modern Man"

The final song is combination of two great bands, The Heisenburg Principle and The Repeatles doing an original piece called "All Domo Needs Is Love", which sounds suspiciously like a Beatles song. The duet is particularly humorous as we hear Wiggins sing a duet with Harris Georgison and Trevor Dare play dueling guitars with Len Johnson. Maybe they actually got both personalities in the studio at the same time, but I'm just guessing there were a lot of overdubs.

All in all, an uneven piece of work ranging from the sublime ("Unagi" and "Green Golf Balls" are particularly enjoyable) to the forgettable, ("190bpm" is only useful for hazing purposes at college fraternities) but is a monumental achievement for Bryan Heisenburg and Puggsy Rhodes to pull such talent together on one album.

The album:
1 Himitsu wo shiri tai 190 bpm
2 The Heisenburg Principle Green Golf Balls
3 Youth Group Counselors Benehana
4 Medusa Journey of the Hobbit
5 Mr. Big Pimpin' My True Identity
6 David's Harp God Loves You, Domo Arigato
7 Ellen's Affection Unagi
8 Jeb McGee and the Finger Pickin's Requiem for Nagasaki
9 Tru 2 U Dance of the DJ-San
10 Sophie Van Zandt Heisenburg I Am The Modern Man
11 The Heisenburg Principle vs. The Repeatles All Domo Needs is Love


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