WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
Home · Articles · Music · Locals Only · Locals Only: : Mime Kampf

Locals Only: : Mime Kampf

What's so funny 'bout peace, love and The Screaming Mimes?

By Dale Johnson · February 9th, 2005 · Locals Only
0 Comments
     
Tags:
The Screaming Mimes
Dale M. Johnson

The Screaming Mimes



I'd heard the stories about The Screaming Mimes -- the wild parties; the Herculean abuses of various substances; the general air of decay and decadence that hangs around them like a cloud.

I went to their filthy underground lair and was met at the door by the wild-eyed Preston Price (bass player), who grunted a greeting and let me in. I entered and made my way down the dank corridor. I caught a glimpse of guitarist/vocalist Randy Campbell, who was entertaining two ladies (I assume they were ladies) of dubious distinction in a side room. I was startled out of my voyeurism by drummer Jim Farmer, who ran past me screaming something about the escape of a chimp he was "experimenting" on.

I shook my head to clear it and continued on to the heart of darkness itself -- Storm. He sat on a stool under a bare bulb in a cramped, slime-encrusted room, getting what appeared to be a snake tattooed on his face. A scrawny man with one good eye worked on Storm's face with a rusty needle. Storm seemed to be staring right through me, but then a ghastly smile crept across his face as I felt a sharp pain in my left buttock. I whirled around to find Farmer leering ... and holding a huge syringe.

"Enjoy the rophynol," cackled Storm.

And then I blacked out.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The Screaming Mimes, musically and in person, are best described as "swell." Their palette doesn't seem to contain the darker shades of life at all. Three of them work for the Cincinnati Reds, for God's sake. And besides, Farmer injected me with chloral hydrate -- not rophynol -- and it was all in good fun.

The band was formed in spring 2002 by Dave Storm (guitar/vocals), Price and Campbell, who share a mutual love of XTC and The Beatles (as well as the same MLB employer). Farmer (who is also founder of noted local label Dreary Me Records) was along for the ride in the beginning, but left the band for a while then rejoined late last year.

Their first CD, the soon-to-be-released, 18-months-in-the-making Live My Life ("Jobs and 'life' slowed the process down," says Storm on the long recording period) is a genuinely happy collection of cautions about technology and the media ("Modern Age," "TV"), saps in love ("Wedding Day," "The Man on the Phone"), non-saps in love ("Completely," "The Girl Who Fell In Love") and just being yourself on your own terms ("Live My Life").

If you were born before 1970 and hung out in the Cincinnati music scene circa 1978-1979, the band's sound will remind you of The Turtles and Buddy Holly and The Crickets, and the sunnier-sounding songs of The Beatles and The Raisins.

If you were born after 1970, the band will put you in mind of the Barenaked Ladies (the group they're most frequently compared to, although the bond is found more in their good-natured attitude than in their music) and, of course, the sunnier-sounding songs of The Beatles.

The two straight-ahead love songs on the disc -- "Completely" and "The Girl Who Fell In Love" -- have (unintentional) 1950s influences. "Completely" is a valentine to Storm's wife, and it moves along on doo-wop syncopations; "The Girl Who Fell In Love" is powered by the ghost of Buddy Holly. It sounds like a wistful song about a girl who doesn't know which man to give her affections, but it takes on another dimension when you find out it's actually based on Storm's young daughter and her fickle nature with her toys. Neither song however is a "Sweatin' to the Oldies" rehash, as they're filtered through the pure Pop instincts of the band.

And unpretentious, pure Pop is what The Mimes are all about. They can be placed comfortably in the genre "Nice Guy Rock." But The Mimes aren't "beige on beige" simply because their sound is bright and appealing to a wide audience. There's nothing generic about feeling good when you can write an intelligent, killer lyric and play a mean guitar.

Nor is there anything generic about chloral hydrate injections. I can assure you of that.



SCREAMING MIMES (
The Screaming Mimes
Dale M. Johnson

The Screaming Mimes



I'd heard the stories about The Screaming Mimes -- the wild parties; the Herculean abuses of various substances; the general air of decay and decadence that hangs around them like a cloud.

I went to their filthy underground lair and was met at the door by the wild-eyed Preston Price (bass player), who grunted a greeting and let me in. I entered and made my way down the dank corridor. I caught a glimpse of guitarist/vocalist Randy Campbell, who was entertaining two ladies (I assume they were ladies) of dubious distinction in a side room. I was startled out of my voyeurism by drummer Jim Farmer, who ran past me screaming something about the escape of a chimp he was "experimenting" on.

I shook my head to clear it and continued on to the heart of darkness itself -- Storm. He sat on a stool under a bare bulb in a cramped, slime-encrusted room, getting what appeared to be a snake tattooed on his face. A scrawny man with one good eye worked on Storm's face with a rusty needle. Storm seemed to be staring right through me, but then a ghastly smile crept across his face as I felt a sharp pain in my left buttock. I whirled around to find Farmer leering ... and holding a huge syringe.

"Enjoy the rophynol," cackled Storm.

And then I blacked out.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The Screaming Mimes, musically and in person, are best described as "swell." Their palette doesn't seem to contain the darker shades of life at all. Three of them work for the Cincinnati Reds, for God's sake. And besides, Farmer injected me with chloral hydrate -- not rophynol -- and it was all in good fun.

The band was formed in spring 2002 by Dave Storm (guitar/vocals), Price and Campbell, who share a mutual love of XTC and The Beatles (as well as the same MLB employer). Farmer (who is also founder of noted local label Dreary Me Records) was along for the ride in the beginning, but left the band for a while then rejoined late last year.

Their first CD, the soon-to-be-released, 18-months-in-the-making Live My Life ("Jobs and 'life' slowed the process down," says Storm on the long recording period) is a genuinely happy collection of cautions about technology and the media ("Modern Age," "TV"), saps in love ("Wedding Day," "The Man on the Phone"), non-saps in love ("Completely," "The Girl Who Fell In Love") and just being yourself on your own terms ("Live My Life").

If you were born before 1970 and hung out in the Cincinnati music scene circa 1978-1979, the band's sound will remind you of The Turtles and Buddy Holly and The Crickets, and the sunnier-sounding songs of The Beatles and The Raisins. If you were born after 1970, the band will put you in mind of the Barenaked Ladies (the group they're most frequently compared to, although the bond is found more in their good-natured attitude than in their music) and, of course, the sunnier-sounding songs of The Beatles.

The two straight-ahead love songs on the disc -- "Completely" and "The Girl Who Fell In Love" -- have (unintentional) 1950s influences. "Completely" is a valentine to Storm's wife, and it moves along on doo-wop syncopations; "The Girl Who Fell In Love" is powered by the ghost of Buddy Holly. It sounds like a wistful song about a girl who doesn't know which man to give her affections, but it takes on another dimension when you find out it's actually based on Storm's young daughter and her fickle nature with her toys. Neither song however is a "Sweatin' to the Oldies" rehash, as they're filtered through the pure Pop instincts of the band.

And unpretentious, pure Pop is what The Mimes are all about. They can be placed comfortably in the genre "Nice Guy Rock." But The Mimes aren't "beige on beige" simply because their sound is bright and appealing to a wide audience. There's nothing generic about feeling good when you can write an intelligent, killer lyric and play a mean guitar.

Nor is there anything generic about chloral hydrate injections. I can assure you of that.



SCREAMING MIMES (screamingmimes.com) release Live My Life on Feb. 18 with a show at the BarrelHouse in Over-the-Rhine.
 
 
 
 

 

comments powered by Disqus
 
Close
Close
Close