Web exclusive: The Slow Poisoner 


The Slow Poisoner, Otto the comedian
Melody Inn
Monday, July 16, 8:30 p.m., free, 21+

Andrew Goldfard, the man behind the Slow Poisoner, describes himself as a “one-man-surrealistic-rock-and-roll-band from San Francisco.” Surrealistic doesn’t even begin to describe his eclectic music, which deals with such unconventional topics as headless chickens and weeping willows.

Goldfard has a quavering voice similar to that of psychedelic folk artist Devendra Banhart and follows in the one-man-band endeavors of the likes of Andrew Bird, but the similarities end there.

The Slow Poisoner began as a quintet led by Goldfard. Although the band managed to release three albums over a span of 10 years, the project eventually dissolved. The music, however, lives on through the endeavors of Goldfard, who released his first solo CD, “Roadside Altar,” earlier this year.

The album is equally dark, mysterious and quirky. The music is performed with the aid of a “curiously-shaped guitar,” a bass drum and sleigh bells. Although the instruments are few, Goldfard proves his musical versatility through uncommon topics and intricate melodies.

Unconventional music is not Goldfarb’s only oddity. He is also the seasoned author of an underground comic strip, “Ogner Stump,” which deals with plotlines and drawings equally as bizarre as his lyrics. 

There is yet one more eccentricity in Goldfarb’s repertoire: He sells his own patented medicine at each of his shows. This “Genuine Slow Poisoner Miracle Tonic” is said to treat elephantiasis, cholera, barnacles and boils, necrosis and various other peculiar diseases. “At a mere $3 per bottle, satisfaction is guaranteed,” he says.

“There’s something distinctly theatrical about his work; if you have kids, it might occur to you to hire him as a birthday party entertainer,” writes Mike Meginnis of “Splendid.” “His absurd, seemingly meaningless lyrics communicate a strange sort of wholesomeness, as does the conviction with which he retreads guitar tropes and simplistic beats that might seem tired and stale in other hands.” Indeed.


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