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 launched a brand new form of creative combat here at the Stop. You’ll find the very first of these competitions here.
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 week 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. Of those 20, only 13 responded in time (Them’s the breaks).
Like a songwriting version of Iron Chef, these challengers were presented with a very specific songwriting challenge, and given one week to complete their songs - however they saw fit, within the parameters set forth. Here’s the Round 1 Challenge…
ROUND 1 CHALLENGE
This is going to seem to be a rather straightforward challenge to kick off our second Song Fu competition. In actuality, it’s a pretty darn interesting way to give people a sense of just what your songwriting personality and style is. We’re taking a cue from a fellow named Paul Simon…
Your first challenge is to WRITE A SONG ABOUT THE MOON.
That’s it. The only other directive is that your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 45 seconds.
After one week of intense campaigning and voting, we eliminated the bottom vote-getters - leaving only 6 competitors (5th place was a tie) to move on to… ROUND 2. The remaining Challengers and our Masters were then presented with their Round 2 Challenge…
ROUND 2 CHALLENGE
Your challenge is to choose a famous inventor and craft a song proposing a “dance craze” based on either the inventor or one of his/her most well known inventions. For an idea of what we’re looking for, here’s a song proposing the ill-fated “Lurch”…
Your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 45 seconds.
You’ll find the Round 2 Masters and Challengers songs below, followed by the voting form for you to choose your favorite Challenger and Master for this round.
MASTERS OF SONG FU
For this edition of Song Fu, we’re bringing in three (well, 6, if you’re being technical) very special Masters who you’ll be going up against. Think of them as the iron chefs of Song Fu, and your ultimate challengers, as you’ll square off against one of them mano-a-mano in the Final Round:
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…”
UNFORTUNATELY, JONATHAN HAD TO DROP OUT OF THIS ROUND OF SONG FU DUE TO THE IMPENDING ARRIVAL OF A NEW FAMILY MEMBER. CONGRATS!
Official Website: www.jonathancoulton.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “Always The Moon“
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
You know ‘em as the RiffTrax trio, but here at Song Fu they are the mighty RiffTones…
MICHAEL J. NELSON - Michael J. Nelson is the creator of Rifftrax.com, and is the former host and head writer of the Emmy-nominated, Peabody Award-winning Mystery Science Theater 3000. Since that time, he has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows, penned a regular column for TV Guide, and authored best-selling books for both HarperCollins and Abrams.
His first book, Mike Nelson’s Movie Megacheese, thrilled critics, including Richard Schickel of Time Magazine, who said of Mike, “He’s more fun than a barrel of Val Kilmers… Smarter than a roomful of Patrick Swayzes… and almost as hilarious as Keanu Reeves.” Mike’s laugh-out-loud follow-up, Mind Over Matters, prompted Kirkus Reviews to enthuse, “From someplace called Minnesota comes a Nelson funnier than Ozzie, Ricky, Lord or Half,” and even dared to compare him to another legendary writer, saying of his Serious Speech to Business People, “[It] could easily precede [Robert] Benchley’s immortal Treasurer’s Report.” And Kirkus Reviews loved his novel, Death Rat!, saying, “Fast-paced, outrageous and funny, first-novelist Nelson’s mockery of media mendacity is as biting as La Dolce Vita or Network - only funnier!”
Mike speaks all over the country, is a frequent guest on radio and television, and along with Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy sells out theaters with his RiffTrax Live events.
KEVIN MURPHY - “I’m probably best known for portraying that ol’ squat loveable bubble-headed robot Tom Servo on Mystery Science Theater 3000. In fact I’m the only member of the cast and crew to have worked on every single episode of the series, probably because I tend to like everybody. I also got to sing at the drop of a hat and collaborated with the lovely, leggy Mike Nelson on many of the show’s songs.
Right now I’m back with Mike and Bill for www.rifftrax.com , where once again we sit in close proximity to each other and make fun of movies; unfortunately we don’t write a lot of songs… yet. To exercise my musical jollies I occasionally write and record solo and with family members, under the name The Revolutionary Communist Mountain Boys. Oh, and I’m also writing my first comic book series, symptomatic of my terminal case of Adult-onset Geekdom.
BILL CORBETT - Beloved by literally billions of people, Bill Corbett is a former writer for Mystery Science Theater 3000 on the Sci-Fi Channel, and previously on Comedy Central. He was also a performer on the show, providing the second incarnation of the robot Crow and embarrassing himself in grand fashion as other strange characters - including the all-powerful but clueless alien The Observer, a.k.a. “Brain Guy.” Bill has always been an amateur musician (cough cough HACK cough cough), performing with garage-less garage bands, and writing / performing songs for MST3K - including the beloved-by-literally-trillions CANADA SONG. He now works with former MST3K colleagues Michael J. Nelson and Kevin Murphy at Rifftrax.com.
Corbett is also a screenwriter and playwright. His plays have been produced at numerous theaters across the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, and (seriously) Japan. He wasn’t able to attend the latter, but assumes it was a live-manga concept.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Corbett currently spends a lot of time in Los Angeles partying into the wee hours with stars like Skeet Ulrich, Harry Hamlin, and the late Red Buttons. But he actually lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife Virginia, their two young children, and a small Jack Russell Terrier who really runs the house.
He hopes someday to raise alpacas.
Official Website: www.rifftrax.com
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).
UNFORTUNATELY, JEFF HAD TO ALSO DROP OUT OF THIS ROUND OF SONG FU DUE TO THE ARRIVAL OF A NEW FAMILY MEMBER. CONGRATS, AS WELL!
Official Website: www.jeffmacdougall.com
ROUND 1 SONG: “At The Moon“
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
I suppose I am what you could call a “Multi-Instrumentalist”. That is a nice way of saying “Jack-of-all-trades, Master-of-none”. I began playing drums as a teenager and spent a great deal of energy during my 20’s trying to “make it” in the music biz. As a drummer, I have had the opportunity to play with some pretty incredible musicians, garnering literally DOZENS of fans over the years. In 2004 I joined the band Celestial Static, and spent several years melting some face with good friends Jeremy and Julie Elzerman. Once that ran its course, I decided to spend more time locked away in my studio, writing my own songs and learning to play guitar, bass and sing. It doesn’t pay the bills, but I have a good time doing it.
Official Website: www.jason-morris.com
“BUCKETHAT” BOBBY MATHESON
“BucketHat” Bobby Matheson is an awkward teenage accordionist and multi-instrumentalist who specializes in superhero-themed and “Comedy” music, and who works for minimum wage in the fast food industry. With his style varying from polka to folk, punk to pop, and then again from rock to bluegrass, we’re left unsure what to expect. One thing for certain is that Bobby doesn’t like talking about himself in the third person, and therefore will stop this silliness right now.
Official Website: www.myspace.com/buckethatbobby
Steve Chatterton is an independent musician living in the suburbs of Toronto. Known primarily for his jingle work on local television and his electronic project 11t1, he’s now putting all of his musical efforts into the ever-elusive self-titled singer-songwriter recording project he’s been wanting to get around to since he was 10-years-old and had just discovered The Beatles. Steve is an honors graduate of the jazz guitar program at Mohawk College, and has since performed in a wide array of bands that nobody has ever heard of. After retiring from performing to concentrate on raising his kids, he’s recently put together his own basement studio and has set a personal goal of producing at least one song a month.
Official Website: music.stevechatterton.com
Fun, Zesty, Acoustic, Energetic, Crunchy. Some of these words describe the Baritone-Ukulele-wielding N8 Shivers (the others describe Taco Bell’s newest food-like invention). He began writing songs at the age of two, and taught himself to play the uke a mere 17 years later. N8’s Family members claim he’s the best uke-playing song writer they’re related to. He enjoys Stand-up Comedy, Coen Brothers movies, Chilly sandwiches, and Canadian sitcoms. His Turn-offs include Banana Flavored Things, Republicans, and Mountain Dew. N8 is currently employed as a Wizard in southern Ohio.
Official Website: www.myspace.com/ncomma8
ROUND 2 VOTING
And now, it’s time for that all important voting, where you’ll decide which 2 Challengers get to move on to Round 3 - the winner of which will move on to face the Master who has accumulated the most votes in All 3 Challenges. 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 - Paul & Storm or The RiffTones. You may only vote once, so make it count. VOTING CLOSES AT 11:59pm EST on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17th.
ROUND 2 VOTING - THE CHALLENGERS
ROUND 2 VOTING - 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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