What are you afraid of? I mean really
afraid of. Clowns
? C'mon, that's kid stuff. I bet you're probably afraid of the dark
, too. How about flying
? That makes sense nowadays, but as many people die from plane crashes in a typical year as they do from breathing. It's just not rational. Not as rational as, say, fear of a 5 foot tall Jewish man who glams out, sings about the apocalypse, and believes he's the Antichrist
That's right, kids. Nothing, nobody is scarier than Bobby Conn. Not your snakes and spiders. Not your goalie's anxiety at the penalty kick. Not your Marilyn Manson or your Gene Simmons. Look into Bobby Conn's eyes and tell me he doesn't honestly believe that he will be the one to bring about the end of the human world and I'll personally sign over my collection of Talmudic pornography.
A world-hopping military childhood filled with the finer points of a Christian upbringing (despite the fact that his parents were Jewish and merely trying to conform to a military lifestyle -- a fact they neglected to mention to Bobby until he was 23 years old) left Conn disoriented and disillusioned by the world. He eventually settled down for a year at NYU where he became involved in a time share real estate scam. While in Pleasantville Penitentiary for mail fraud in the late 1980's, Conn developed what he calls the "Continuous Ca$h Flow System," a process that helps us on the way to Armageddon by creating a financial vaccum inside oneself, thereby filling a spiritual void. Mister Conn had also long realized that his birthday, June 13th, 1967, made him a likely candidate for being the Antichrist, and so turned to music for the best way to spread his message of "creating a glorious Debt that promises, if not salvation, a thrilling high-paced life-style" in hopes that the entire Pig System of Oppression is wiped out once our generation accumulates enough debt.
Stop laughing. This guy is totally serious about his schtick, kids. And, master showman that he is, he will seduce you into becoming a believer.
Disregarding his five year stint as a frontman for the legendary and psychedelic Condeucent, a collaboration between Conn and DJ LeDeuce, Conn's musical mayhem really began in 1997, the year that saw the release of his eponymous LP on Truckstop Records that combined two singles and an extra forty-five minutes of entertaining schtick to make an hour of enlightening, but, at times, merely tolerable, tunes. There are highlights, of course, such as Mr. Conn advising us that "you'll never get ahead by giving head to The Man." The record was enough of a launch pad to gain Conn cult status in the Chicago music scene, and warrant the production of Rise Up!, Conn's 1998 masterpiece about his resounding and raucous end of the world.
Stylistically, Conn runs the gamut from Jesus Christ Superstar to glam rock to Curtis Mayfield to Ziggy Stardust to Parliament to beatnik bebop to Cat Stevens -- and that's just in two albums. 1999, nearing ever closer to the date of no return, gave us Conn's Llovessonggs, a four song EP on which Conn espouses the merits of Free Love, and even offers a rousing cover of the Nilsson Schmilsson version of Without You.
So 2000 came and went. We're still here. What happened to the man who sang "Jesus, he came back! Jesus, high on crack!"? Well, Conn has admitted through the years that he usually doesn't buy into his own act, although he admires and holds a fascination with cult leaders such as Jim Jones or Heaven's Gate leader Marshall Applewhite. So Conn seems to be unphased by the fact that the world didn't end quite when he expected it to. He has since produced another record, entitled The Golden Age and, seeing as how he never fully bought into his schtick in the first place, has no option but to continue causing trouble with his long time cohort and live-in girlfriend Monika BouBou.
Long live the revolution, Bobby, whenever you decide to bring it about.
Conn's self-titled debut is part rock show, part self-help seminar, including a "repeat after me" section with the following words:
"I like to wake up in the morning
and know that I'm in control.
I want to be the one that assigns blame.
I want to make my parents pay
for the suffering that I endured in adolesence.
I want other people
to look at me with fear.
I want total dominion
over all living creatures.
I want power
and I don't care how I get it.
I want money.
I want cars.
I want boats.
I want a high-paced lifestyle.
Without the benefit of hearing Rise Up!, Conn's self-titled venture is a decent album, filled with hefty little rock numbers that are punctuated by Conn's heavy-handed evangelism. If you are really into Rise Up!, the debut is well worth your cash. If that album and a live Conn show can't make you see the light, however, you might as well put that 15 bucks towards a new crack pipe.
- Axis '67 (part one)
- No Kids, No Money
- Never Get Ahead
- Who's The Paul? #16
- Who's The Paul? #33
- The Sportsman
- Axis '67 (part three)
mad props to the following Bobby Conn resources: