Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Stinking Lizaveta 

Radio Radio
Thursday, May 31, 9 p.m., $10

From their cryptic beginnings early this century to their latest masterpiece of primeval and theatrical absurdity, In Glorious Times, Oakland’s Sleepytime Gorilla Museum has existed for one reason: to destroy rock music as we know it.

“We hate rock,” says drummer Matthias Bossi. “But it’s the only thing we know. And so, like any good mole, we are infiltrating the establishment using the only way we know how, which is rock. And we will explode it, thereby taking out every last bad seed and worm, and maybe creating an entire new genre.”

Bossi says this new movement isn’t yet named, “but it features all bands with men dressing as women with their teeth blacked out, with one really strong female presence, and everyone will drive around in a rickety old bus and bathe infrequently but eat well.”

That’s been SGM’s modus operandi for six years now, playing a singular brand of music with homemade instruments possessed by the spirit of Monty Python and Spinal Tap’s best Stonehenge ode. In fact, much of what inspires SGM no longer exists.

“Our influences come from a generation past; bands that aren’t really around anymore,” Bossi says. “There’s little out there these days that’s truly inspiring on a mass level. It didn’t used to be the case. There were people out there who were at the forefront of public consciousness for many years. The industry is not set up to do that anymore.”

But as serious as SGM’s mission may seem, they’re having fun too. Particularly when their fan base is obsessive about their stage show and the instruments they continually create.

“We have a nice intellectual crowd that loves to overanalyze what was done on stage,” Bossi says. “Really we’re just up there having a good time. We’re up there trying to rock out and transcend counting individual beats in our heads and see the pieces as a whole — just trying to rock, against rock.”

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