Biography

The Squirrels are a pop band based in Seattle, Washington. Founded in 1984 by lead vocalist Rob Morgan (founder, as well, of the Poplust zine), the band has been through numerous lineups, but has stuck to the aesthetic that Peter Blecha describes as “cross-pollinat[ing] bubblegum sensibilities with punk attitudes.”

Although most of the Squirrels material has been, technically speaking, cover versions, they are by no means a typical cover band. They have a theatrical stage sense derived from Alice Cooper and The Tubes (for a while in the mid-1990s, their stage paraphernalia included a working guillotine), and an approach to arrangements that Morgan has described as “… the Frankenstein method of song arrangement… ‘Well, we like these verses, but the chorus on that song is way better. So we’ll just graft it right on there, make a whole new beast.’ We just start fooling around, and then we go ‘Hey, this Alice Cooper song fits right on there, and to hell with the chorus. Let’s put the chorus of “Runaway” by Del Shannon in there because it’s better!’” (Krugman, 2000). (a royalty nightmare. ed.)

The Squirrels’ single “Oz On 45” (1988) was a “Stars on 45”-style reworking of songs from The Wizard of Oz (and a fragment of a song about Oz by Mark Nichols). It was one of the 142 seven-inch records that British DJ John Peel had set aside in a box, to be grabbed if his house ever caught fire and he had to abandon the rest of his collection. (It had a typically eccentric B-side: Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again, Naturally”.)

Perhaps the most widely respected Squirrels album is The Not-So-Bright Side of the Moon (2000), a song-by-song cover of the Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon, described by Jim DeRogatis, of the Chicago Sun-Times as a “…brilliant through-the-looking-glass reimagining of Pink Floyd’s classic…”

Edited by sethdw on 25 Apr 2006, 04:55

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