Bloodhound Gang’s third album, “Hooray For Boobies,” debuted last week at No. 19 on Billboard’s pop chart, and the sex-crazed, sample-heavy first single, “The Bad Touch,” is crashing modern-rock airwaves.
But you would never know it in the group’s native King of Prussia, in rural eastern Pennsylvania.
If it doesn’t involve a Chevy 4-by-4 and a gun rack in the rear window, they want nothing to do with it, says bassist Evil Jared.
“All they listen to here is Clint Black and Dwight Yoakam,” Jared said recently. “And they love Shania Twain. She’s not a bad-looking broad. If you turn on the country music channel (TNN) and turn down the sound and put on a Black Sabbath album, it’s a real good video.”
It’s a whole different story for Bloodhound Gang in Europe, where “Hooray For Boobies” cracked the Top 10 last fall. The Republic/Geffen/Interscope album and single were No. 1 smashes in Germany (“We’re almost as popular as David Hasselhoff there,” Jared said. “I can’t explain it. It’s unreal”), and the group has icon status in Scandinavia.
“We just got back from touring Norway,” Jared said. “Norway was hot. Apparently they had like some plague through there a hundred years ago or so and it wiped out almost all the Norwegian people, so they like have no Norwegian culture. They don’t have any of their own entertainers, so when anyone comes through there, everyone goes crazy over them. They were lining up to screw us. And we’re not good-looking guys. We’re probably five of the ugliest guys you’re ever going to meet. All these hot Norwegian babes, they look like models, and they were lining up for us.”
Back home, they can’t buy a good time.
“When I’m home, I can’t even talk to the girl who works the register at Wal-Mart,” Jared said. “What matters to girls here – they don’t care if you’re in music or on TV or in the movies – but if you’re about to inherit your dad’s heating and air conditioning company, then they’ll talk to you. That means a lifetime of security.
“First off, they’ve never heard of any bands, other than like Alabama, but a regular pop band, never heard of ’em. If you’re in a band, that means you’re going to be screwing around with other girls and they can’t have that. They have to have you completely under their control. They’ll keep themselves within 10 pounds of their desired weight, but as soon as you marry them, they’ll be about 60 or 70 pounds over. That’s the way it works, man.”
Pennsylvania is the worst place in the country for women, Jared said.
“When I was in high school, I thought the reason I couldn’t get laid was because I was just a dork and I thought everywhere else in the country it would be the same thing,” Jared said. “There’s actually cool girls in the rest of the country; here, it’s nothing. I think it’s because in this area we have Mennonites.
“The town I grew up in, there’s like maybe 10 different last names. Everyone’s either a Durstein or a Dietrich or a Detwiler. I think they started out with 10 people that were Mennonites and they just kept inbreeding and inbreeding and inbreeding. They’re not allowed to have sex before they get married, and they’re not allowed to marry anyone who’s not a Mennonite. So, if you’re here and you’re not a Mennonite, you can never get laid. I was 19 before I got it, and that’s only because I met a girl from Philadelphia.”
Therein lies one of Bloodhound Gang’s obsessions: sex. Not so surprising, it permeates throughout “Hooray For Boobies.” It’s riddled with sophomoric lyrics, such as “It’s hard to rhyme a word like vagina” (on “Three Point One Four”) and this from “The Bad Touch”: “You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals, so let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.” There’s no shortage of pop-culture references, from porn queen Chasey Lain to Pac Man to Waffle House. And there are plenty of off-the-wall samples – like Falco and Frankie Goes to Hollywood – used in this mixture of metal, techno and hip-hop.
Clearing those samples – even using a one-liner similar to the chorus of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” – delayed the album’s U.S. release.
“It was originally supposed to come out in September of ’98,” Jared said. “We putzed around producing it for a while so we missed that deadline. The (Seagrams-Universal) merger put it back another six months, and then there were some samples on it that weren’t cleared.
“We recorded the album before the samples were cleared, so they had to destroy the album. The Europeans made the album without the tracks that needed to be cleared so they could sell it while America was still trying to clear the samples. The upside of it, now America – because they did clear the samples – Americans can get a full copy of the album, whereas the Europeans have it with two tracks missing (‘Take the Long Way Home’ and ‘Right Turn Clyde’).
“They weren’t even real samples. One song said ‘All and all, you’re just another dick with no balls,’ which apparently Roger Waters thought was close enough to ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ so he wouldn’t let us put it out. There was also a sample of Leslie Nielsen from ‘Airplane’ saying something. Something that minuscule can stop an album.”
Is “Hooray For Boobies” and all its crassness a guilty pleasure? Sure, it is, and it doesn’t bother Jared one bit.
“When we started playing, our target audience was about the same age we were,” he said. “We started when we were in college (at Temple University), so we were probably about 20 or 21. We were playing to the same audience, playing in basements and frat houses and living rooms. The older we got, the younger our crowds got. Now our target audience is 12 year olds. Hey, as long as they buy the albums, who cares? We’re just having fun.”
A hit album around the world, female adulation (“Who knew?” Jared said) and a growing bank account. Who could ask for more? Now, if only they could liven up Pennsylvania.
“I think about leaving Pennsylvania all the time,” Jared said. “Last night, I was in a bar and there was this hot broad in a tight white outfit; she turned around, she was older than my grandmother. The only women around here who are horny are over 70 years old, trying to score with college guys. It’s sick, man. I gotta get outta here.”
THE FIRST RECORD I EVER BOUGHT: “I’m real cheap, so I only take the CDs I can score free at the record company and sometimes I’ll do that Columbia Records & Tapes scam and go to a neighbor’s house that had moved out and have them all sent there and then raid their mail for all the Columbia tapes they sent over, so the only record I have ever bought was Johnny Cash’s ‘American Recordings’ because I couldn’t find it in Columbia House.”
THE FIRST CONCERT I EVER WENT TO: “The Cult and Metallica at the Allentown (Pa.) Fairgrounds on the ‘And Justice For All’ tour. I knew what I wanted to do right then and there. Before that show, I wanted to be a gynecologist, but I changed my mind right after that show.”
THE LAST CD I BOUGHT: “That would be ‘American Recordings.’ That shows you how much of a hillbilly I am.”
BWF (before we forget): Hooray for Bloodhound Gang on the Web @ www.bloodhoundgang.com. … The Bloodhound Gang album discography – “Use Your Fingers” (Columbia, 1995); “One Fierce Beer Coaster” (Republic/Geffen, 1996); “Hooray For Boobies” (Republic/Geffen/Interscope, 2000).
More updates: Joe Henry, Marcus King, Lily Kershaw, Poliça, Sarah Brightman, Jerry Leger, Simple Minds, Grateful Dead, etc