November 27, 2006

Ascension: The Return Of The Elevator Drops... [MP3]

... or "The Unbearable Lightness of The Elevators Drops' 'Be A Lemonhead.'"

This is a particularly disjointed post, as we're having a hard time deciding which way is up with these paragraphs. Is this an item about an amazing band reforming after it self-destructed too soon, a la Mission of Burma? Is this an item about a lost music video for a perfect pop song that is just a pleasure to watch? Hard to say.

Inspired by the amazing video linked atop this post, one of the things we were working on prior to the American Thanksgiving holiday was a post about The Elevator Drops, an otherworldly Boston indie rock trio that practiced its craft in the mid- and late-'90s. The band, comprised of bassist/singer Dave Goolkasian, guitarist Garvey J. and drummer Fitts, released two records to critical confusion before dissolving while on tour in Texas in 1999. As it turns out, we are way late on stumbling on some exciting news: if messages at the band's MySpace page can be trusted, The Elevator Drops have presumably reformed and have recorded a new set entitled OK Commuter ( a title that extends the transportation theme of 1996's Pop Bus and 1997's People Mover), which will be issued on Archenemy February 14.

More back story: During our senior year in college we were pulled to a show on campus for a band we knew nothing about. The show was in the middle of the week or on a very beat Friday night, and as far as we can recollect there were no opening acts and the show was minimally attended. Which was too goddamned bad because we saw one of the most exciting and bizarre shows of our then 22 or so years. Yes, it was The Elevator Drops, and if we are recalling this correctly the trio showed up to the residence hall hosting the show in a giant, gleaming white 18-wheeled truck. Or at least that is what they pulled away in after the show as we stood with our mouth agape at the wonders we had just witness. You see, when The Elevator Drops took the stage they did so in make-up and in-character as evil clown robots strung out on heroin. Their movements were rigid and pop music glorious and weird. We have always had a hard time explaining the spectacle of the band that night (Mr. Goolkasian describes the spectacle here at the site for his more recent outfit The Texas Governor thusly: "We would dress up as an androids, attach flashing lights to ourselves, and bounce around singing. One day we spent $25,000 on a video and $5,000 to have someone touch up our make-up."). Anyhoo, we discovered the video above for the band's "big" "hit" "Be A Lemonhead" over at YouTube, and we're happy to see that the video captures a lot of the band's oddball antics and mannerisms.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention our reasons for dubbing "Be A Lemonhead" a perfect pop song. But as this piece is already quite long enough, we'll just say that the criteria are several, but the most notable here is the presence of a stunning closing lyric ("fall in love, but don't trust anyone"). This is something that the late lamented Haywood had down to a science ("looking for your car on the expressway, every time that I get up"), and it always resonates with us.

As an endnote, it is worth remarking that last year H-Dawg From Accounts Receivable and we saw Goolkasian's post- Elevator Drops project The Texas Governor play a number of times and enjoyed the act a great deal. You can read coverage here, here and here. Incidentally, for his part Garvey J spent at least some of his post-Elevator Drops career playing with the Weezer side-project The Rentals. We're thinking of tracking down Mr. Goolkasian and the rest of the gang for a Show Us Yours feature, and we hope that will be a bit more cohesive than this. Anyway, since you went to all the trouble of reading this mess of a post, we'll post an MP3 of "Be A Lemonhead" below, with a tip o' the hat to Logie, who hooked us up with the file so we didn't have to rip our cassette.

The Elevator Drops -- "Be A Lemonhead" -- Pop Bus

The Elevator Drops: InterWeb | MySpace | Flickr | YouTube



Anonymous said...

After spending $25,000 on the "Be a Lemonhead" video -- which should have launched the Elevator Drops nationally -- MTV refused to show it in the United States because of the video's overt drug themes . . . never mind the fact that the song (and the video) are mocking recreational drug use (and adherents of the Evan Dando's model of recreational drug use, specifically). . .

The video was, however, shown on MTV Europe, and was a minor hit over there, which enabled the band to do a brief tour of the continent.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't add the obvious note that, in addition to extending the transportation theme of their albums, OK Commuter will also extend the Elevator Drop's tradition of poking fun at the darlings of the indie rock world (from the Drop Nineteens and the Lemondrops, to Sub Pop and Radiohead). . .

And, finally, if the Elevator Drops do tour with their new record, it promises to be a show you will not want to miss.

I will retreat to my fan-boy corner now, and will remain silent until next called upon.

Anonymous said...

this is exciting news. i *loved* the elevator drops back in the day.

plastigas said...

I am always stunned and amazed that anyone remembers the Elevator Drops. Thanks for all the kind words. I had no idea that Lemonhead was a minor hit in europe. We never did get to tour over there...unfortunately. Instead we toured the states over and over and over again. I could go on and on about the story of how the band desolved on the eve of our big break..(we were getting off of our aweful label and had a publishing deal $$$$$)However, we do have somewhere between 200 and 300 hours of footage following the band from day one to the end. Perhaps someday we will edit together "The Rise and Fall" documentary. I hope you enjoy the new record. We will be reforming for Fitts' wedding in March...who knows what will happen after that.

Garvy J.