GRAVY TRAIN!!!! with LE TIGRE and CANNONBALL JANE at the Guvernment (132 Queens Quay East), Monday (October 25), $18. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
In a sea of performers devoutly committed to the integrity of their music, Gravy Train!!!! are a rarity - a band who readily admit they're a big messy joke.
The implausible history of the electro-raunch pansexual Bay Area foursome (who go by the puerile pseudonyms Hunx, Chunx, Funx and Junx, the latter of whom replaced ex-member Drunx because she "wasn't into it and only focused on the money") reads like a how-to manual for kids who want to get their asses kicked.
Founded by Chunx as a lo-fi rap revenge fantasy after a dude she boned screwed her over, the Train!!!! roared out of the gate drunk on 40s and Casio beats, spitting lyrics about trawling high schools for virgin bums and, uh, becoming a homo after seeing what a girl kept hidden in her pants.
But Gravy Train!!!!'s lack of experience and taste didn't stop them from becoming a self-promotion attack force, insists Hunx, the man behind anti-pussy paean You Made Me Gay.
"Oh my god, when we started we were such assholes," he says sweetly. "We thought we were the best band ever. We'd only listen to our own tapes, and we'd drive around blasting them from the car. We'd wear our own band T-shirts and show up at parties with keyboards and play our songs. We'd even go to shows and try to play before the headliner, even though we weren't supposed to be there at all."
Their combo of campy crassness and self-aggrandizing clearly hit a nerve, as Seattle label Kill Rock Stars dropped their full-length Hello Doctor debut in early 2003. With tunes like Titties Bounce and Kottonmouth BJ (chronicling the highs of jiggly mammaries and the lows of giving head without proper libations, respectively), budget organ licks, delirious trash-can beats and an approach reminiscent of 90s dyke rappers Cunts with Attitude, Gravy Train!!!! patented gleefully dumb party music even more lowbrow than Peaches and StinkMitt.
Their mission: a bald-faced desire to "get action." Hunx confirms they've had loads of success. But now that three out of four members are in relationships, the groupie-banging falls to Junx, a super-slut who once shagged a Goodwill driver in his truck.
Hunx, who sometimes thinks their music is stupid, says his new goal with the band is to meet celebs like Hilary Duff. He's also stoked about the growth of their sound, noting that their upcoming LP has more bubble-gum pop and glittery glam rock than the trash-hop they've been mining.
With the recent release of this summer's vinyl-only Ghost Boobs EP, which details the downside of losing weight, one might think Gravy Train!!!!'s acquired newfound maturity - dare I say a political consciousness? - in the shift of focus from bouncing titties to missing titties.
Hunx is ambivalent, admitting that "it's sort of anti-diet, I guess, but Ghost Boobs is about losing all that weight and having these wicked boobs haunting you. But we're totally pro-big'uns even though all of us are pretty small."
Still, it's hard not to love a post-Lara Flynn Boyle anthem that name-checks Susan Powter, especially since the cover features sad-looking breast spectres that look like Casper the Mopey Ghost. The single's post-Nipplegate timing also seems appropriate.
Considering the blatant boob obsession and the nude dancers at their shows, it's shocking that the Train!!!! has escaped the FCC's wrath thus far.
"When we played in Tucson, they tried to kick Junx out of the club cuz he got naked onstage. It was so homophobic," Hunx offers. "They wouldn't've tried that if he'd been a girl - and they apologized afterward.
"People say we're offensive. It used to bum me out, but then I realized they were all dumb. And whatever, we're just a bunch of gay guys and girls - at least we're not stupid gross jocks."
Amen to that, sister.