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Riff Raff 

Wednesday, Aug 18 1999
Three-Year-Olds and Artistic Patronage San Franciscan Noah Brill is 3 years old and famous. In a way.

Last year, British Bach-obsessed and dirty-minded pop auteur Momus released his third album, The Little Red Songbook, which featured a song titled "Walter Carlos," meant as a tribute to the '60s Switched on Bach pioneer. Carlos, who now goes by Wendy Carlos after a sex-change operation, was unhappy with a song dredging up her past, and sued Momus' label, Le Grand Magistry. They settled out of court and the song was deleted from future pressings of Songbook, but Momus came up with a unique method of defraying legal costs. On Jan. 1, he announced that each of the first 30 people to pay him $1,000 would get a song written about him for a project titled Stars Forever.

The final two-CD album, which comes out Aug. 31, showcases an entertaining array of applicants, mostly fans, but also vanity tributes to bands ("The Minus 5"), record stores ("Reckless Records," "Other Music"), record labels ("Minty Fresh"), and "Girlie Action," which just happens to be the PR firm representing Momus.

Sandwiched between "Jeff Koons" (the infamous pop artist) and the PR firm "Team Clermont" is "Noah Brill." As Momus explains over an electro-funk beat:

Well there's a kid in San Francisco
Who has really got the moves
And when he dresses up as Batman
He can fly across the roofs

"[Noah] is really psyched to have a CD commercial for himself," says Noah's spokesperson (and father), Michael Brill. Brill ran into Momus when he played his first show in San Francisco last year; Brill and his wife, Jenny Doll, invited him for dinner ("because I was looking so miserable," says Momus in a statement about the record). Noah and Momus, according to Brill, got along well. "They played the same video games," he notes. After the $1,000 check cleared, Brill and Momus went over the pertinent details of Noah's life: He likes hanging out in Golden Gate Park hunting for tarantulas, has six Buzz Lightyear dolls, and enjoys sushi. "He wolfs down a tremendous amount of sushi," says Brill.

History, As Written by the Winners The story thus far: Awhile back, Riff Raff reviewed a show at the Paradise Lounge by a band called Titty, which was actually local stud-rockers Third Eye Blind under an assumed name. We said some not-very-nice things, and a lot of 3EB fans said some not-very-nice things in response. So, we decided to hold a contest where folks could suggest a title for the band's as-yet-unnamed sophomore album, and offered prizes: a 1995 demo tape and accompanying letter signed by frontman Stephan Jenkins for the first-prize winner, and a bottle of Sammy Hagar's Cabo Wabo brand tequila for second prize. Since then, the entries have been flowing in. OK, maybe not flowing exactly. Think steady trickle. But a smart steady trickle, at least.

"I have an excellent title for the forthcoming Third Eye Blind album," writes Jack Chandler. "How about Derivative, Uninteresting Music for the Apparently Clueless?"

Sorry, Mr. Chandler, but you misread what we said. This was not a Barenaked Ladies album title contest. "Oh, yeah, and tell Dan Savage I want to have his baby," he adds. We'll see if we can't pass the message along while you're working on changing genetics as we know it.

"Smilinglightbulbhead" suggests Garden Variety Angst, which comes close to winning, but not quite -- we'll keep it in mind for any Morrissey competitions we may have in the future. "Now to confess my secret shame," the message continues, "the music of both Sammy Hagar and 3EB have on occasion made me very happy, yet I can never admit it to my friends. Is there anything about a support group on the Steven [sic] Jenkins [Web] site?"

We checked -- no. But there is an interview by's Webmaster with Mr. Jenkins, which features this scintillating exchange:

Interviewer: "Um, did you ever have UnderRoos? The Star Wars UnderRoos?"
Jenkins: "No."
"Or were you too old for those when they were out?"
"I never had...No, I didn't have any of those things."
"You didn't?"
"Uh uh."
"I think you might've been a little too old, 'cause I'm 22."
"I didn't have any swag like that."

Other topics covered in the course of the interview include: Mr. Jenkins' "anxieties about being a piece of meat"; whether he's an innie or an outie (answer: innie); teenage pregnancy; what he was doing the day of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake (partial answer: making out).

Matt Snyder suggests Turd I Find -- oh, come on, way too easy -- but deserved mention for claiming himself as a "worldwide purveyor of finely crafted donkey skills." Whatever that means.

There were, however, winners to be found in the midst of all this. The enterprising Greg Isernhagen submitted no less than seven title ideas, including Vishnu Were Here and Polypropylene Soul, but we found ourselves most amused by Titty!: An Opera. The bottle of tequila's yours, Greg.

Tom Grissom suggested Testosterone Hijinks: The Sophomore Years, but Gunnar Rosenquist did one better with his Beatles-esque album concept: "Have the members of the band on the cover spelling out the word 'jinx' in semaphore. Little flags and everything. Jinx would be the title." The tape and letter are yours, Mr. Rosenquist.

Let's Just Put Our Clothes Back On and Forget This Whole Thing Ever Happened, OK? Moon Trent's planned nude-bands event at the Edinburgh Castle has been cancelled. Not that anything untoward happened; just a lack of interest. So the Aug. 19 event will be an open mike. "Boring, I know, but it's all I could think of at the last minute," says Trent.

-- Mark Athitakis

Send Bay Area music news, band stories, or petty gripes to, or mail them to Riff Raff, c/o SF Weekly.

About The Author

Mark Athitakis


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