In Defense of Comedic Rock and Roll

Albums, Articles, Reviews

Rock and Roll has had its clowns over the years. There’s the outright comedic rock and roll of Weird Al Yankovic, the edgy satire of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, and the acts inspired by them such as Flo and Eddie. The silly storytelling from Colin Hay or Warren Ellis of Dirty Three. There will always be comedians who take a turn as musicians like The Lonely Island, Bo Burnham, and Adam Sandler. As well as others who have crossed the line entirely like Steve Martin.

Some punk rockers will dabble with comedy, proof that a laugh can certainly be as powerful as a middle finger. Country musicians will play the fool in their own songs for a change of pace from lonesome heartbreak or outlaw attitude. We must also not forget the clowns that never meant to be funny. Ted Nugent being the most obvious character who doesn’t realize he’s the butt of many jokes. Although, even with his right-wing nonsense, “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” still brings a smile to my face.

Introducing Alex Cameron

Comedy has been as much a part of the rock n roll counter-culture as leather jackets and guitar solos. It’s a pure form of expression. There is another act currently following in the footsteps of these past clowns. Alex Cameron, the Australian singer song-writer who delivers an act that is both real and sarcastic. Fully self-aware and honest in its absurdity.

Songs like “Bad for the Boys” and “Gaslight” are fantastic critiques of the incel and men’s rights communities. Just clever enough that some incels probably won’t catch the joke. The chorus to “Divorce” keeps me continuously laughing with the line “I’ve got a friend in Kansas City with a mother fucking futon couch.” His wit on last year’s album release, Miami Memory, is somewhere between Bukowski and Vonnegut.

Vonnegut wrote, “Comedians and jazz musicians have been more comforting and enlightening to me than preachers or politicians or philosophers or poets or painters or novelists of my time.” Those two roles have occasionally merged allowing us to dance and laugh and think and feel. Alex Cameron is one of many to carry the torch of the musical comic or comedic musician. I am glad to know this tradition will continue for many years to come.