We here at Quick Stop Entertainment are true lovers of music, in all its forms. We’re also quite keen on the spirit of competition, and of spurring creativity through said competition.
To that end, we’ve launched a brand new form of creative combat here at the Stop.
In this age of manufactured and painfully earnest talent contests, we’ve decided to instead shine a light on the quirky, quixotic underworld of musicians that don’t get nearly the attention they deserve.
Ah, but I did mention that there was a competition involved…
A few weeks back, we sent out the call for challengers. Hundreds of you heard the call and fought for a chance to be in the initial group. 20 were selected. Only 19 responded in time.
Like a songwriting version of Iron Chef, the challengers were presented with a very specific songwriting challenge. They were given one week to complete their songs - however they saw fit, within the parameters set forth below…
ROUND 1 CHALLENGE
You must do a song in the style of a classic television show. Not only that, but this song is the theme for a fictional television show about yourself (or your band). By “classic television show” theme song, we mean the type of themes found in shows from the 1960’s - 1980’s (ie Gilligan’s Island, Cheers, The Fall Guy, Diff’rent Strokes, Welcome Back Kotter, Greatest American Hero, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, The Facts Of Life, Green Acres, Gimme A Break, The Monkees, etc.). Your theme song must include both lyrics and music. It must run no shorter than 30 seconds, and no longer than one (1) minute.
When all was said and done, only 16 of the 19 Challengers were able to send in the songs in time. Below, you’ll find each band’s Round 1 entry. Please LISTEN TO THEM ALL before placing your vote for your favorite (at the bottom of the page). You can vote for ONLY ONE as your favorite, so please choose carefully.
Voting will end at 11:59pm on Thursday, June 5th, and we’ll eliminate the bottom 11 vote-getters - leaving 5 competitors to move on to… ROUND 2.
That’s when things get crazy… But we’ll save the surprise til then.
What do we call this competition?
MASTERS OF SONG FU
As you know, to mix things up a bit, we also announced three (well, 4, if you’re being technical) very special Masters - one of which will eventually face the winner of the general competition in a head-to-head battle. Each of them has written their own ROUND 1 song, and it’s up to you to vote for your favorite below (voting form is at the bottom page, after the general vote). The top two MASTERS will move on to the Round 2 challenge.
Jonathan Coulton on Jonathan Coulton: “In 2005 I left my day job writing software to pursue music full time. To keep myself busy I released a new song on this website every week for a year in a project called Thing a Week. A few of those songs became big internet hits (my folky cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”, a funny video called “Flickr”, a song called “Code Monkey”), and I am now fortunate enough to make my living as a musician.
I write about a lot of geeky stuff because I am a geek. Some of it’s funny, but a lot of it’s not so funny, and even more of it is somewhere in between. I’ve been compared to They Might Be Giants, Barenaked Ladies, Loudon Wainwright III, and other musicians you REALLY LOVE.
I give lots of music away because I believe it helps my cause, and I love it when people use my music to create other stuff - music videos, pictures, remixes, etc. At the moment I’m unsigned, and I’m proud to say I’ve created this whole thing mostly on my own (with plenty of help from an amazingly supportive bunch of fans). But it certainly is getting busy… I will probably sell out and go Hollywood any day now…”
Official Website: www.jonathancoulton.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Monkey Shines“
PAUL & STORM
Paul and Storm are a comedy music duo, and they have been performing as a duo since 2004. Before that, they were one half of a cappella band Da Vinci’s Notebook for about 12 years. A Paul and Storm show is part music concert and part standup/improv comedy–just enough of both to fit neatly in neither category. They like to engage the audience, and are known to award snack cakes and/or other prizes for good (and sometimes bad) behavior. Their show would be PERFECT as a cable special, and would make lots of money for whichever brave channel decides to air them first.
Official Website: www.paulandstorm.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Theme Song To Paul & Storm“
Doc Hammer was born in 1626 in Hamar, Norway, under the name Erik VonHamer. Being the son of a humble cobbler, not much was expected of the young man, other than to cobble and to not complain about all the cobbling. But Doc was destined for greater things. At 17, with nothing more than really well made shoes and a dream, he made his way to Antwerp to study oil painting under the great Rubens. Within a year, the two were at odds. Rubens spoke (infrequently) of Doc as “that creepy skinny kid,” and Doc spoke of Rubens’s work as “kinda unattractive if you really look at it.” By 1648, Doc had relocated to Leiden, where he found his master in Rembrandt. It was there, in his 23rd year, that Doc met “She Who Was To Deliver The Kiss Of Eternal Youth.” After a spicy courtship, “She Who Was To Deliver The Kiss Of Eternal Youth” and Doc were married. By 1650 Doc had grown weary of immortality and committed an unsuccessful suicide by burying his never-corpse in the basement of a Dutch cottage. In 1870, Doc again resurfaced. Using the name Vilhelm Hammershoi, Doc resumed his painting career with mild success. After thanking his bride for “the immortality thing” and nicely reminding her that he had “heard every one of her stories like a billion times,” “She Who Was To Deliver The Kiss Of Eternal Youth” and Doc split up in 1916. Again, Doc literally went underground until, now using the name Armond Hammer, he resurfaced and made a whole mess of money selling overpriced meds to the Russians. Sick of all the baking soda jokes, Doc faked his death. Biding his time till the MC Hammer thing had blown over, Doc again resurfaced as “Doc Hammer.” Today, Doc still paints in oils and writes, voices, and does other crap for The Venture Bros. (a show you can watch on cable TV).
Official Website: www.myspace.com/dochammer
ROUND 1 SONG: “Steel Man, Tin Badge“
THE MATT LEES BAND
Matt Lees was born and raised in sheep-lovin’ Wales. At 12-years-old his family decided to move to everything lovin’ Canada and start a new life. Not an easy feat for any person, let alone a less-than-manly pre-teen. Eager to fit in with the Canuck teens he threw himself into the arts. He began an obsessive love affair with music. Writing and singing to express his emotions, he needed to learn an instrument to complete his sound. In the beginning he learned piano but, being lazy, he didn’t want to lug a piano everywhere. Guitar seemed like the easiest choice… plus, chicks dig guitar players. Ego in hand, he now fronts a self-titled band. The MLB fuses a pop-rock sound with a modern blues feel. Playing mainly in Ontario, Canada, Matt has also shared his music with audiences in Europe - even the French! Matt loves long walks on the beach, puppies, sharing his feelings and the smell of dew in the morning. He is currently ’sticking it to the man’ in the real world while preparing to record and release his debut album (aka scrounging funds and searching for a cheaper studio).
Official Website: myspace.com/mattlees
ROUND 1 SONG: “The Matt Lees Band Show Theme“
PAUL FRUMPTON EXPERIENCE FEATURING LARRY
Born in the fall of 2006 in the center of the two-man acoustic comedy rock scene, Columbus, Ohio, the self proclaimed Turner and Hooch of Rock and Roll, The Paul Frumpton Experience Featuring Larry - known more colloquially as Jeff Stormer and Jeremy Hoover - are best described as what happens when comedy, music, caffeine, and improv collide in a chocolaty, peanut buttery explosion of good times. Stormer and Hoover met as students of Ohio State University and have been performing for scraps of food and hobo nickels ever since. Jeremy and Jeff’s major influences include Bacon, Booster Gold & Blue Beetle’s irreverent banter, David Bowie’s crotch in Labyrinth, and a deep-seated love of go karts. Finally, we feel obliged to mention all the things that are off limits to the comedy duo… This list includes NOTHING.
Official Website: myspace.com/thepaulfrumtonexperiencefeaturinglarry
Lex Friedman’s musical influences include artists like They Might Be Giants, Moxy Fruvous, “Weird Al” Yankovic, CAKE, Barenaked Ladies, Tom Lehrer, Ben Folds, and Michael Jackson. Lex has left a smattering of bizarre music videos on YouTube, which have been slowly overtaken by videos of his 18-month-old daughter Anya. He occasionally shares new songs on his blog. He currently appears both weekly and weakly as the host of the “Week in Douchebaggery” on Cracked.com. Lex, his aforementioned daughter Anya, his lovely wife Lauren, and his diabetic maltese Charlie all live together in New Jersey, and sincerely hope that you don’t hold that against them. He gives one of them two injections if insulin each day - guess which! Lex also wrote this sentence. To avoid appearing like a suck-up, Lex has neglected to mention other musical influences of his who may or may not be the Iron Chefs of this Song Fu competition. Let’s just say he happens to also love the musical stylings of a guy whose name rhymes with Shmonathan Shmoulton.
Official Website: www.thefriedmans.net/blog
ROUND 1 SONG: “Hey, It’s Lex Friedman!“
I picked up the guitar 20 some years ago and still don’t know one scale or the names of most of the chords. After a year of playing I formed a band called The Narrow Way. We wrote such classics as “Polka Hell” and “The Shades of Limbo”. After refining my chops, I then formed a band called Mechanized Death, which was named after that infamous car accident safety movie from the 70’s. We wrote such inspired classics as “Roadkill”, “Tunafish” and “I Don’t Care”. After Mechanized Death, I went solo and now have written hundreds of songs… I even sold one to a morning radio talk show (ahhh… the fame). Lately, I won song of the day at Garageband.com…So I guess my star is still rising.
Official Website: www.myspace.com/sarcasmtheband
ROUND 1 SONG: “One Man Band“
BEN & PETE
Ben Rossow is seeking to inflict upon the world his unique brand of acoustic pop/punk/folk music. Hailing from Mora, Minnesota, this northern songsmith and his collaborator, Pete Morgan, have recorded and performed under the name “Ben & Pete.” Ben plays acoustic guitar and makes noise with his mouth, while Pete generally attracts songbirds with his delightful vocal stylings, and sometimes adds keyboard effects to distract potential enemies. Influences range from Bob Dylan to Weezer, Cheap Trick to The White Stripes.
Official Website: We don’t have one!
ROUND 1 SONG: “Theme Song From Ben & Pete On The Beat“
My Fu is stronger than you! I am Coleman Bear Saunders, or Cloakie to most. At the age of 25 I work with music everyday at my studio that I recently built. I produce, engineer and compose various genres of music with ninja like precision. I have been picking away at the guitar since the age of 7 after watching my Dad play Johnny Cash tunes in the wrong key while singing the wrong lyrics, although I do the same thing because that’s the way I was learnt, ya hear me boy? I live in Kentucky and the music scene isn’t the greatest, so I turn to the internet to pipeline my Fu to the masses for free. I’m getting tired of music these days, I want some more songs about Dragons and fucking! Songs that take you on a journey and let you experience a different world, like movies do. My dream is to compose and score music for video games, TV, and my ultimate goal, the big screen. This is why the Song Fu competition was made for me. All the challenges that the competition presents to me will be similar to the expectations of future employers. Good luck to all, and may the best Fu win.
Official Website: myspace.com/colemansaunders
ROUND 1 SONG: “Cloakie The Nazi Killing Zombie“
ELAINE CHAO FINNELL
Elaine Chao Finnell is a singer/songwriter from the San Francisco Bay Area. In her checkered musical past, she has been a choral singer, a pit musician, an a cappella vocalist, a vocal percussionist, a hip hop beatboxer, contemporary Christian worship musician, and a musical librettist. After leaving the a cappella world in 2001, Elaine shifted into the world of hip hop theater, touring with spoken word artist Aya de León, then going solo and performing in such venues as the Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco and at the Apollo Theater in New York City. She began writing music at the tender age of 17, co-authoring her first musical with Brian Allan Hobbs. Since then, she has written two full length musicals and two plays. She currently plays regularly at her church as a lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist. While not in her musical pursuits, Elaine can be found in a cubicle at a major software company, at home with her engineer husband and their network of Macs, or studying martial arts at a local university.
Official Website: www.gotspit.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Cubicle Gopher“
AIRPLANE VS. AMBULANCE
Airplane vs. Ambulance are a four-piece synth-punk band from Abbotsford, BC. The band’s sound has been described as a blend of pop hooks and indie sensibility, and the’ve crafted their own unique take on modern rock.
Official Website: www.myspace.com/airplanevsambulance
ROUND 1 SONG: “Airplane Rock & Roll Show“
East Carolina was formed in 2006 when friends Aaron (vocals, keyboards, accordion, etc) and Stuart (electric guitar, bass, keyboards, etc.) realized that, though often praised individually for their musical prowess, together they would be a virtually less-stoppable musical force. Combining in their music elements of alternative and classic rock, comedy, jazz, hilarious banter, polka, and more, East Carolina creates music that is unique, pleasurable, and often unclassifiable. Their original songs range in topic from Spanish love gone wrong to social anxiety to properties of gasses, and beyond. East Carolina is thrilled to be participating in the Masters of Song Fu competition and looks forward to sharing their songs with all of you.
Official Website: www.worldofarcana.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “East Carolina In The UK“
TO SERVE MANKIND
To Serve Mankind seeks to do just that, via music that makes you think about the world and your place in it differently. Friends since high school, the duo, likened to They Might Be Giants or Barenaked Ladies, have played back yards to front yards and everywhere in between. It seemed like just yesterday To Serve Mankind had absolutely no future, and look at them now, competing in Song Fu against artists such as Paul and Storm and, uh, the Jonathan Coulton. Jeff Little and Bryan Ewing both grew up in Apple Valley, CA, an environment which demands creativity just to stay sane among Joshua trees, dirt, and the Wal*Mart. With a combined vocal range of at least a perfect 5th, To Serve Mankind is ready to take the world… aeriously. Bryan is into Rock, Jeff digs on Funk. Both serve as worship leaders at their respective churches and are married… not to each other… but to one woman each - Bryan to Michelle, Jeff to Jen. Bryan has a son named Malachi, and Jeff is expecting his wife to follow through on this pregnancy thing and produce a daughter, Jane. Jeff, Bryan (and Malachi) love Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Official Website: www.toservemankind.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “To Serve Mankind Theme Song“
Hello. I am Jeremy Edgington. Call me germ. I live in Springfield, Ohio and I was born here in 1972. I started playing guitar at about 13. I took it seriously only off and on. I love to play. I hate to practice. I just jam. I got began enjoying “deeply listening” to music at a really young age. I was into Kiss when I was in Kindergarten and first grade. I had all of their albums. Second grade came along and out with Kiss, in with Def Lepard! Then came Van Halen and so on. I have a nice recording studio. Buckethead is a huge influence on me. I play bass and guitar. I do drum programming. I also program background ambience. I use the guitar for just ambient noises in songs, too. I will someday release a CD. Maybe…
Official Website: myspace.com/tikisamurai
ROUND 1 SONG: “Just Call Me Germ“
Relic’s Jetboat are a modern folk band - this isn’t about acoustic guitars in the coffee shop, it’s songs about modern folk and the events or stories around us. They bring a party band attitude to their songs about Garage Sailin’, Gordon Downie, Ogopogo and The Beachcombers. The songs cross genres as they represent the music that we hear these days. From country to reggae, punk, celtic and rock, the band has been described as “The Barenaked Ladies with an edge”, or this review of the band: “These guys could get a job doing Muppet Music. From Canada, they perform their individual style with ease and an abundance of satire. They take us back to a time of musical innocence when people got off on groups like the Beach Boys.”
Official Website: www.relicsjetboat.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “The Relic’s Jetboat Show“
The Deal: After 20+ years making music as a hobby, I recently wrote and recorded a song for my daughter. I got a little taste of mild success (hey, my mom liked it). So now I’m taking my music out of the closet, dusting it off, and seeing how it does in the sunshine. Who knew there was so much work in just attempting to do music for a living. I feel like I am opening a Subway franchise (Only opening a Subway franchise seems more fulfilling in a creative way).
Official Website: jeffmacdougall.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Jeff MacDougall Dot Com“
Shannon is a woman of keen intellect and she is a little cuter than average, but not photogenic, so her picture will not necessarily reflect her attractiveness. She likes to ride vintage bicycles that clunk and whistle so that people in the city know she’s approaching and take notice. When she’s not working her ass off at her corporate job that pays huge cash, she likes to belittle her husband (sorry, fellows, she’s married) and re-arrange her coaster collection. She wants to make it big in Song Fu so that she can finally have an excuse to quit her career and bask in the adoration of her fans. At this time, she only has two fans (three, if you include the kid in the street that sometimes rides by on his scooter and stops for a minute when he hears her playing the guitar in the back yard, or maybe he’s looking at her dog in the window; she’s not sure).
Official Website: We don’t have one
ROUND 1 SONG: “The Rockin’ Rockwell Househusband“
BROAD BAND FIASCO
I trained as a film critic at Glasgow University, then as an actor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and then worked in a call centre for three years. Figures. Fed up with offering people death insurance, I taught myself how to edit film and got a job in a Glaswegian production company editing fishing programmes. When the allure of that finally wore off I went freelance for a while before setting up my own company, TheCage.TV Ltd. All through this time I’ve been writing songs to play live and record, in the olden days on MiniDisc and four-tracks and nowadays on Garageband. Currently I’m the only member of the band so it’s essentially solo work, though in theory anyone can contribute.
Official Website: myspace.com/broadbandfiasco
ROUND 1 SONG: “The Kenny Show (All Right With Me)“
RUN AT THE DOG
Run At The Dog are high energy, rock/pop, category-sluts with multi-gendered vocals and intricate arrangements. They are like Abba meets Faith No More meets Mos Def meets the Mormon Tabernacle Choir meets Steely Dan. The songs of this Minneapolis 5-piece are always written right away, with no respect for the calculating mind. Audience members are unsure whether to dance, laugh, or panic.
Official Website: myspace.com/runatthedog
ROUND 1 SONG: “Run At The Dog TV Theme“
ROUND 1 VOTING
And now, it’s time for that all important voting, where you’ll decide who the 5 Challengers are who get to move on to Round 2. Please remember, you can only vote FOR ONE song - so choose very carefully. Also, be sure to vote for your favorite song from our reigning Masters of Song Fu - either Doc Hammer, Jonathan Coulton, or Paul & Storm. You may only vote once, so make it count.
ROUND 1 VOTING RESULTS - THE CHALLENGERS
ROUND 1 VOTING RESULTS - THE MASTERS
If you triumph, not only will you win remarkable (and potentially off-putting) bragging rights and a clutch of fantastic mystery prizes, you will also become the proud owner of the magnificent, one-of-a-kind MASTER OF SONG FU TROPHY, designed and handcrafted by [adult swim] superstar Dana Snyder. Yes. Dana Snyder.
Good luck, and bring on the Fu.
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