Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sticky Pistil- Hi Fi Superfly

Can an average white band play that funky music? Sticky Pistil, a funk/rock band from Taos, N.M.
said it loud and proud, Yes we can!  Some rock groups like The Red Hot Chili Peppers injected just enough funk influences to blur the line, without actually crossing over. That's where Sticky Pistil was different, they didn't just dab on a little Eau de Funk, they bathed in it. Sticky Pistil came together in 1997, evolving from The Never Never band (which included Mark Hershiser and Shawn Perry) With his dark clothing and gangly appearance, SoCal native Hershiser resembled a ghoulish undertaker. You can almost see him standing in the mortuary doorway saying: "Oh Yes!, we have something very nice for you in mahogany." For his new role as funkmaster he took to calling himself  Uzi, which sounds very gangsta. Shawn Perry or Freakboy, also originated from SoCal, he favored the longhaired skate punk look popularized by Dexter Holland of The Offspring. Scott Kesson grew up in Denver, Co. he was just your average bland white guy, until he was re-born as PANick! (yes, that's his preferred spelling) same dull guy, but with a new name. Drummer Mike Caron (Emc) rounded out the group, Caron prefers to sport the mangy longhaired, shirtless look favored by goat fuckers around Taos since 1969. He seemed to fit right in with a certain element of Taoseños, described by PANick as, "those dirty hippies who panhandle in front of the supermarket, wearing patchouli to try and hide their b.o." ouch! that's a hurtful remark.
By 1999 their future was sunnyside up, first the band's debut album "Hi-Fi Superfly" was released and then they were selected to perform on the emerging artists stage at Woodstock '99.  From the start, Sticky Pistil had proven themselves very internet savvy. The group's homepage featured audio and rather crude (by current standards) special effects, at its peak it registered tens of thousands of hits monthly. The band also did the unthinkable and made their entire album available for streaming and downloading. In fact their appearance at Woodstock '99 came about due to the band's prominent web presence. Hershiser, entered the band in's Woodstock competition, in which 12 bands from that music sharing site were selected to perform at the upstate New York festival. Sticky Pistil's reward for all their hard work was a chance to wallow in the mud and human waste, but they did set a trend of bands using internet social networks to obtain a spot at music festivals and on national tours. Woodstock '99 is best remembered for the deteriorating conditions and unruly crowd behavior. Anyone who was hoping to revive the Flower Power vibe of the original got a rude awakening. To quote Limp Bizkit lead singer Fred Durst "This is 1999, motherfuckers - stick those Birkenstocks up your ass."  MTV which had been providing live coverage, withdrew it's crew and equipment, MTV host Kurt Loder told it like it was "There were just waves of hatred bouncing around the place, It was clear we had to get out of there.... It was like a concentration camp." By the time law enforcement brought the show to an abrupt end, reports of violence, looting, rape and arson had surfaced.
However, as the old saying goes: "The world doesn't want to hear about labor pains, it only wants to see the baby."  For Sticky Pistil that bouncing baby boy was "Hi-Fi Superfly"  It was a pastiche of rap samples and hip hop beats, a counterfeit world of P-Funk imagery. Half of the album's 20 tracks are throwaway snippets and interludes, while the rest suffer from the band's myopic take on the political climate of the day. "Whatcha Waitin' For" talks about how "The horrible hillbilly present is drowning out our voices" but that's ok because "Maybe you’re just waitin on Jesus to come and kick their asses." ultimately, I'm just waiting for this fucking song to end. "Fundamental Thang" is a good song, because the band steers clear of the soapbox politics and just has fun with it. "Gonna take a little trip and leave it all behind, it's hi-fi superfly"  Their political songs, like "Contact" are simply not believable, Scott Kesson's lyrics sound like they belong on a teleprompter at Fox news. Coming up at eleven "Hurricane aftermath, drive by bloodbath and sexual misconduct in the presidential suite" don't touch that dial. All this uncertainty leaves Kesson "Feelin like an isolated, paranoid intimidated, media manipulated chump" and this was before 9-11, just imagine how fucked up he is today. "Stick-up" is a wacked attempt at humor "This is a stick up - ain't nothin funny please don't nothin move but the money" this p.s.a. is brought to you by Uzi "I'm gettin desperate, my kids are hungry so I gotta do something" the kids then chime in "daddy I’m hungry" those cheeky bastards, let them eat cake, I say. 
"Different Route" is Freakboy's moment to shine: "My name is Shawnie P and when I get on down, I like to get buck wild, and when I get on down, I get on down with style" I'm just askin'  but in this case what the fuck does different route imply?  "Cowboy Funk" features these great lyrics: "Wanna be a cowboy, a bareback mare rider, take ya out ridin', put my pistol in your holster" it took all four band members to write this?  Over the course of the entire album they bombard us with their chickenshit politics and then they decide it's time to chase the cat?  Man...tie these motherfuckers to Greg Allman's whipping post and let Lady Gaga and Snooki have a go at them. Although the Jersey gal prefers juicehead gorillas and these boys are kinda scrawny. Unless Mark, Shawn & Scotty were flying out to L.A. on a regular basis to soak in the urban street experience, how can they validate any of their lyrics.  Yes, it's amazing how big and scary the world seems from your safe secluded Taos hacienda (mobile home)...Silly rabbits... rappers and funketeers don't come from Taos, what the fuck were they thinking. The tacky tale of Sticky Pistil didn't have a happy ending, they were unable to parlay their Woodstock experience into lasting success. Within two years the band found itself buried in debt, without any prospect of a bail-out. Hershiser who had been bankrolling the group with money from his Native Essence Herb Co. would soon have problems of his own to deal with. The Sticky Pistil Funkinmental Experience came to a screeching halt in 2001.
Mark Hershiser still lives in Taos, as does Kesson, Shawnie P. now plays the part of  Anthony Kiedis in a Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band and Mike Caron is occasionally spotted running shirtless through the hills around El Prado. Mark Hershiser is keeping the band's legacy alive, in 2010 he released "Have you Forgotten" an album of previously unreleased material. The band's web page is still online, it's a time capsule of sorts, since it's never been updated. Scott Kesson recorded an instrumental guitar album and now doodles in electronic music and whatnot. He's still political, but his focus has changed:  "I'm involved in the struggle, put forth by generous souls, to keep the World Wide Web from becoming the World Wide Wal-Mart" oh sure...fight the good fight my brother, donations are accepted. Mark on the other hand had a real fight on his hands. The Federal Trade Commission, took him and his company Native Essence Herb to court for violating a provision of the Federal Trade Commission Act. It appears that some of the claims that Native Essence Herb Co. made about their products were unsubstantiated or downright false. Mark and his wife Marianne then filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming that their right to free speech was being impeded by The Man. The FTC maintained that claims based on historical or traditional herbal use should be substantiated by scientific evidence. The case is still pending,  but if found guilty everyone involved with Native Essence Herb Co. should be whipped by Lady Gaga and Snooki, at Greg Allman's house...where he has a whipping post...that's Greg...Allman.