To many of us within Chicago's local scene, he's the masked man behind some of the most incredible psychedelic rock instrumentals that will blow your mind while producing weekly live comedy and music shows to broadcast on cable access. To the government, he's just another rebel, rousing upstart trying to stir things amongst the masses. But who (or what) is really Flabby Hoffman? Well, Southside'll let the man himself answer that question - "...The Greatest Show On Girth..." who also claims to be Reba McIntyre, if you can be that! This was simply the beginning of her recent interview of the man behind the mask, blogspot readers, after receiving a copy of his 3-disc album, Coup De Ta-Ta's which features a “must read” liner booklet. So where did Flabby get his name? According to this masked artist, it's from a native Cherokee tongue which literally translates to mean "the beast with 10,000 stomachs" and it was given to him while at drive-in theatre in Valdosta, Georgia during a test screening of "Dude, Where's My Car". Long story, short version, he had drawn the attention and sympathy of the audience members and management after eating the entire concession stand. Then he went on to state that he was forcibly detained by the members of Wal-Mart's private security para-military outfit and how he was "softened" up for his interrogation with a sack of grapefruits and car battery attached to his nips. Whether it's true or not (sorry, he doesn't remember anything after that) doesn’t really matter except for one thing he feels obligated to fight for truth, justice and the preservation of the creative impulse after receiving such amazing powers when he was bitten by a radioactive duckbilled platypus.
Yes, blogspot readers, it might be hard to decipher the inner workings and creative process that comes from the mind of Flabby Hoffman since you may have trouble deciding to take what he says too seriously or too literally. However, when that creative process involves music, to Flabby it's "...a unique means of expression because it involves a wide spectrum of impact..." to which he added "...You can touch someone emotionally, intellectually, and if you're really expressive you can touch them spiritually (but never touch them physically unless you have their permission ...especially in the undercarriage area)..." Then, he went on to state that music "...has a physical conveyance as well ...you can make someone groove, you can startle them, you can create a landscape in which they can immerse themselves in..." like for example the old Western theme song Happy Trails. Contrary to what the mainstream minds wants us to believe, blogspot readers, Flabby believes music can be a gateway as well because it doesn't have to be a cheap plastic piles of cases of he lovingly describes as "...crass and mechanical karaoke..." that's dull and lifeless as if a passionless lounge singer's rendering a painful and mind-numbing Andrew Lloyd Webber medley. OUCH! Yet, when it comes to Flabby creating his music, he tends to lean towards the “...vivid and expressive experiences...” “...I don't just like to break the '4th wall.' I look to crawl up inside it…rat around in there for a while...” says Flabby, “...Make you think I'm long gone and then sneak up on you when you're not looking...” There's some truth to that last statement.
And that's basically what you will get from his latest CD - Coup De Ta-Ta's, blogspot readers, a 3-disc album featuring rather unique as well as interesting subjects like Richard Nixon Killed JFK (track 2, disc 1), Sugar Coated Zombie Unit (track 6, disc 1), Phony Balonies (track 6, disc 2), Everybodies An Uncle Tom Sometimes (track 7, disc 2) and Our Shadow Government Takes A Holiday (track 15, disc 3) by the Flabby Hoffman Trio. To be honest, blogspot readers, SouthSide didn’t actually listen to all 3 disc but she did sample a wide selection of songs to get a better understanding of Flabby’s creative mind and as well as surf his mind-bending psychedelic rock soundwave. Giving it “thumbs up”, she liked how tucked inside his songs you’ll most definitely hear this artist’s political beliefs and view points mixed with a touch of tongue and cheek lyrical satire and humor ...sometimes sexually laced but for a good reason. For example, in Nixon Killed JFK - he believes Nixon killed JFK and was the fifth column operative who’s mission it was to destroy the United States from within meanwhile in The Feudal System (track 4, disc 3) – he poses a rather interesting question “...how come blacks in Africa never lynch any white people...” Or in Inhuman Cruelty Society (track 17, disc 1) – though poking some fun at Betty Crocker (who’s poisoning us with her birthday cakes), Flabby notes that everyday about 23,000 die from starvation in which we can save a few. Via hidden messages and morals to his stories, Flabby does have a way of educating the masses to what’s going on in our socio-political world without getting too bogged down in long winded CNN details amidst his instrumental groove. During his live performances, that groove can last for minutes upon minutes with no end in sight ...think of it as a homage to the hippie/folk jam sessions where one musician would add a bit or two for a continuous flow of music only to end in its own time. You only can get that kind of retro sound with Flabby Hoffman. Now, if you’re wondering where you can get a copy of this rebel-rousing, (probably) politically banned CD, Flabby jokingly says you might be able to find a copy at your local dumpster or public landfill. To those living in the bible belt region, there’s probably one or two being burned along with the Dixie Chicks during your weekly book burning meetings. Seriously, blogspot readers, for those who are “...gluttons for punishment and enjoy a little friendly torture, the best place to grab or download our music is at http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/FlabbyHoffman where all three of our albums sit waiting to be unleashed upon your tender pink brain...” It’s also listed on iTunes and Amazon. And while listening to parts or the entire CD, check out the “must read” 32-page booklet that comes with the physical copy of Coup De Ta-Ta’s – chocked full of tantalizing prose, bios about the musicians and satirical cartoons.
Here’s an interesting fact you should know about Coup De Ta-Ta’s, there are fifty musicians performing as Flabby Hoffman Trio (which actually did start off as a trio, blogspot readers, with Flabby on acoustic and two conga players) and over the course of 2 and 1/2 years making this CD – they didn’t rehearse. Flabby credits the talents of such musicians like Baron Rugmunchausen on drums and bassists as Quarter Paisan, Tip Top Motel and The Duke Of Barbecued Human Ass Meat rockin’ the rhythm section (“...without those guys…our sets would be as bland as a mayonnaise sandwich on white bread..."). Then there’s the “inner circle” of the Flabby Hoffman Trio which features Uncle Wakeman, the iconic Sid Yiddish, The Lizard, the mysterious Shag, and Eddie Sunshine as well as Ivan Russia, Blisstopher Robin, Rich Xperience, Senorita Hottie and many more. Plus it also features the original Flabby Hoffman Trio members – Orange Julius and Eddie the Chest. Believe it or not, there are three versions of the Flabby Hoffman Trio, blogspot readers. Besides the original trio version, in another version he does gigs with 6 to 7 of the guys and gals (with cameos from friends) while in another (to which he labels it as “...amorphous Flabby Trio...”) any or all of the extended members of the Flabby family are invited to join in the quest of the “Undiscovered Groove” “...So now I have three different ways to inflict pain and suffering on the unsuspecting townsfolk. Large, Extra Large and Super Size versions of the Flabby Hoffman Trio...” says the masked man before adding, “...I like to think of each of them as a marauding band of Norsemen on the make to ravage your women and pillage the countryside…in your mind...”
There’s another side to Flabby Hoffman, blogspot readers. He has also invaded the local television airwaves here in Chicago with his cable access broadcasts of The Flabby Hoffman Cavalcade from his live shows taped around town. He disclosed to SouthSide that he “...always wanted to create a self-sustaining system which encourages the growth and development of creativity as part of my version of The Revolution...which is based on empowering what's good in people instead of ‘burn baby burn’..." Still, his goal is to have a television show as well as live shows and a radio station all operating like “...an organically driven version of same type of integrated marketing you see from someone like Ryan Seacrest...” (but without the conspicuous worship to Satan, blogspot readers). Flabby would like to do what Ryan does yet without “...cheap, robo-musicians like Ke$ha who are dedicated to destroying our humanity...” instead he would like to showcase “...artistically driven, intensely unique and powerfully expressive artists like Hail The Black Dragons, The Embraceables, Black Umbrella Brigade and Sons Of The Never Wrong...” This would, according to Flabby, help the bands to amplify their music above the din and whir of “...horrid and manipulative puke that the mainstream tries to pass off as music every day…and where needed, help give those voices the venues and encouragement which they need to develop...” On that note, he credits the many thousand of creative people who have been part of his productions over the years boasting 500+ shows (both live music and comedy) on the Chicago circuit to which he books 8 live shows a month thus producing between 48 and 52 original (and new) 58 minutes of episodes on cable access every year.
Sadly, blogspot readers, the masked man known as Flabby Hoffman had to return to his “bat” cave to plot another coup. Before leaving, he did thank SouthSide for the interview and all the work she does promoting creativity. “....You are a blessing to us all...” By now, you’ve met Flabby the masked man, musician, and television host ...how about Flabby the Author?! Yep, believe the rumors. Flabby Hoffman has released a book titled The Avant Guardian, “...it is a satirical and frequently humorous (and always a bit insane) collection of rants about what's wrong with this place and how we can go about fixing it...” says Flabby, “...It is powerful and unique and a real eye opener for those who don't mind a little revelation and laughter once in a while...” To give you an idea, blogspot readers, of what it really is – think of this book as the 5th longest book in the English language. He suggests getting it in electronic form from http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/flabbyhoffman where it is published in two volumes and don’t worry about. the .pdf format. It can be opened by any computer besides e-readers. “...Come for the humor…stay for the uncompromising and vigorous dissection of the tools of our oppressors...” Then he left with these final words – “...In closing I'd like to say ciao-dios to all you true believers out there and thanks for being you...”
Coup De Ta-Ta's
Until next time, support your local scene,