Like a lot of culturally savvy guys in their mid–sigh, okay, late–twenties without much musical talent, I spend a lot of my time thinking up Good Band Names. I mean, there’s always a chance, no matter how small, that I could go out on the night of the full moon, meet the Devil at a crossroads, get him to teach me guitar at the cost of my immortal soul, and land a recording contract, and in this increasingly hypothetical situation, I’d need a solid handle for my band to really have a shot at cracking the charts.
For the record, I’m currently going with Deadliest Of Foes.
What I don’t think about, however, is the kind of music I’d actually be playing, probably because I just assume that when you bargain with the Devil, you end up with either Mississippi Delta Blues or Hardcore Death Metal. But really, the underlying concept of the band is even more important than having a snappy name, whether it’s something as simple as “four-piece guitar rock” or “retro-60s wall-of-sound Girl Group,” or as complex as “a nine-man hip-hop juggernaut based around classic kung-fu movies” or “galloping, epic barbaric Norwegian thrash metal.” Don’t get me wrong, having the actual talent helps too, but knowing where you’re starting from tends to make things easier.
Unfortunately, while I was coming up with names like “Hooray for Gooba” and “The Batwitches,” somebody else came up with the single greatest concept for a band that the world has ever seen: The GI Joe Killaz.
Renamed after a C&D from Hasbro as just “The Killaz,” are a three-piece group where a guy in a metal mask and a really hot brunette rap in character as Desto and the Baroness.
And yes. Cobra Commander is their DJ.
Pure. One hundred percent. Genius.
I’ve known about them for a couple of years, ever since Kevin hipped me to the fact that there was a band made almost explicitly for my tastes, but aside from the three tracks you can grab on their website, it wasn’t until Faithful Reader David Bédard found a copy of their CD up in Canada and sent it to me for my birthday that I was able to hear the whole thing and believe me. It’s awesome.
Aside from the general songs about life on the streets and/or in Cobra Command, the best bits on the album are the ones where they take an episode of the cartoon like “Money To Burn” and build an entire track around them. To repeat: This is a CD where Stacy and Des bust rhymes for three minutes about Cobra Commander’s plot to use radiation to burn all of the paper currency in the world and replace it with his own money.
Looks like we have a new Best Album Ever. Suck it, Revolver.
Which isn’t to say that the other songs on the album aren’t great: “The Seduction,” wherein plans are laid out for defeating Roadblock (“I got my sight set on your machine lever / I think I’m burnin’ up with a case of Jungle Fever”) and Jinx (“Runnin’ towards me swingin’ two ninja swords / Drop the blades, drop your clothes and drop to the floor”) is fantastic, and in “Python Patrol,” they go through Cobra’s hierarchy and even manage to include the fact that Crimson Guardsmen are all college educated with lyrics that are not only funny, but are a pretty solid cut above other so-called “nerdcore” novelty acts.
Or at least I thought they were, but since it’s got a section where the Baroness is rapping about the Televipers, I could be a little biased.
Probably best if you judge for yourself. Believe it or not, the album is actually still available on Amazon, and as a public service, have a listen to my favorite track, based on one of my favorite episodes of the show (which is also available for download on their site, if you want to kill somebody else’s bandwidth):
G.I. Joe Killaz – Eau De Cobra (6.75 MB, 192 kbps mp3).
Because the only thing better than the Baroness making a mind-control perfume to steal money from a billionaire on a cruise ship is Destro rapping about it.