Gravy Train is an East Bay quartet led by self-proclaimed "standard honky ho" Chunx. Along with her Casio-playing pal Funx and crude dancing duo Hunx and Drunx, Chunx lays down ultra-raunchy lyrics and riffs that lip-lock synth pop with hip hop. Sure, there are a few locals like Gold Chains and Eelio Estevez dipping their toes in this pool, beefing up retro rap with modern laptop and sampling technology. But so far, no one's grabbed the bull by the balls and put out a record as relentlessly pornotastic, as gender-bendingly groovy, as punk-as-fucking great as Gravy Train's.
The foursome's debut EP, The Menz (released on local punk label S.P.A.M.), is a hoot from start to finish, from the grrrrl power number "Sippin' 40z" ("I go to the high school/ Make him kiss my gash/ Then I fuck his tight ass") to the amply detailed "Hella Nervous" ("You're long in the back/ Short in the wiener/ Suckin' my muff like a vacuum cleaner") to the fried-food paean "Heart Attack" ("Raging thoughts of burger patties/ Burger fucking leather daddies/ Smoking fatties ratty catties/ Thigh spreading apparati"). But the band's crowning achievement so far -- and the song that got the biggest response at a recent CD release party at a warehouse in Oakland -- is "You Made Me Gay." Over squealing backup vocals, skipping drum machine beats, and organ riffs rough enough for a hockey fight, bad boy Hunx relates how Chunx's skanky feminine wiles turned him into a "flaming homo": "I thought you were cute/ I thought your ass was fine/ But then I looked down your pants/ And I said, "Never mind.'" Chunx jumps in to save face, which leads to a bizarre call-and-response of "I thought you liked it that way" and "No, bitch, I'm fucking gay." It isn't exactly an Oprah moment, but it's funny as hell.
Gravy Train's live show is even less polished than the CD, but that only adds to the group's charm. Making up for its lack of dance-move synchronicity, the foursome exhibits an enthusiastic lasciviousness that's more guffaw-inducing than boner-popping. Much like the Devil-Ettes, the band is bound to inspire audience members to say, "Hey, I can do that -- probably better." But one look at Gravy Train's Web site, www.pubertystrike.com, and you'll see that you probably can't out-rageous these kids. In "Eating Pussy: The New First Base," Chunx outlines her reasons for wanting "box chowing" to be bumped up in the dating time scheme. In "Baby Haters of the World Unite!" Hunx (aka Seff Leopard) suggests, "If your friend is pregnant, stab them in the belly!" while the "Fashion Sluts" pictorial shows Chunx playing with herself under a pile of Playgirls and Hunx dropping trou for a teddy bear. Is Gravy Train the future of rock? One can only hope so.
I hear John Ashcroft is actually a robot Did you know there is documentation to suggest Richard Nixon was in Dallas on the day John F. Kennedy was shot? Or that Nazi Gen. Reinhard Gehlen's spy network was subsumed by the CIA after World War II? Or that George W. Bush is part of the "Underground Reich" and that his father is gay? You would if you listened to Dave Emory, one of the nation's foremost chroniclers of fascism and governmental funny business. (Or, if you listen to his critics, one of our biggest nutcases.) Unfortunately, it's grown harder to hear Emory of late, seemingly due to his own pigheadedness.
Emory recorded his programs One Step Beyond and For the Record for over 20 years at KFJC-FM (89.7) in the South Bay, farming them out to KALX-FM in Berkeley (90.7), KKUP-FM in Cupertino (91.5), and other free-form stations around the country. But according to staff at KFJC, Emory quit the station in September, following a dispute over a book published in 1950 by James S. Martin called All Honorable Men. KFJC General Manager Steve Taiclet says Emory was breaking FCC rules by soliciting orders for the book over the air. "I said to him, "Given what you do and what you think people want to do to you, it would be best not to give the FCC an easy way to kick you off the air,'" Taiclet says via phone from his office. (Emory isn't commenting on the situation.)
Whether you buy Emory's conspiracy theories or not, his dedication and viewpoint are necessities, especially in these times of blind patriotism, media conservatism, and political expediency. Luckily, Emory can still be heard: For the Record continues to air locally on KKUP and is available on the Web at http://wfmu.org or www.spitfirelist.com.