The 3tards with the Antics , Corpusse , the Heatskores and more at Kathedral (651 Queen West), Saturday (December 3). $10 with CD. All ages. Doors at 7 pm. 416-504-0744.
There is a long, illustrious history in the music business of grown men acting like obnoxious 12-year-olds, from the Bloodhound Gang, the Beasties and Insane Clown Posse down through the ages of David Yow to dinosaurs like Frank Zappa.
The 3Tards are fully dedicated to keeping this long-standing tradition alive. "Frank Zappa is my hero," proclaims guitarist Mike Tard.
The Tards and I are having drinks at Squirly's. There are actually four of them: John, Mike and Gus, who've known each other for years, and newcomer Fox. Like their idols the Donnas - I'm totally kidding; they hate the Donnas, who all use the same first name. The 3Tards' idols are actually Hanson - the Tards have all adopted the same last name, so we'll use firsts for the sake of clarity.
"We don't have the same wit that Zappa does, but we're pretty good at copying him," Mike continues.
The Tards call their brand of music asscore, which is often as much about getting cored in the ass as it is about, as John put it on an Ed The Sock appearance, "taking in all different kinds of music and shitting them out..." or something like that.
"Our lyrics are so ridiculous they make ridiculous lyrics look ridiculous," says Fox. Ridiculous!
Right. That's the word.
The tunes on their release Crystal Balls, which launches this week, are about stuff like sniffing glue. And lifting almost directly from Zappa's Sheik Yerbouti era - though a tad on the cruder side - they also tackle such topics as assfucking and man rape.
"That is a very gay song," says John of the song Man Rapist. "A lot of our content is gay."
He professes a deep love for Rob Halford and has written a fabulous tribute to him entitled Gay Heavy Metal Singer - on their EP, greatest hits Volume II, and that opens live with the intro to Livin' After Midnight.
"Gay Heavy Metal Singer was us going after the homophobic metal crowd," John explains. "All those metal guys despise the fact that their hero was so out and they didn't know it!"
It's kind of weird that these superstraight-seeming boys are so fascinated with gayness, and I'm sure a psychologist could have a field day. But the notion that anyone could take anything they say seriously seems to amuse the Tards.
"If you see pictures of us or see how we dress up onstage [notable costumes include those of the Village People], you could never think we take anything we say seriously!" says Fox, though he insists they take music very seriously.
The Tards aren't exactly the Mothers of Invention, but they're not entirely lacking in chops either. Mike is a surprisingly proficient metal guitarist, and John is one of those larger-than-life frontman types who are made for the stage.
"There's metal bands out there that would kill to have Mike," John gushes. "Having him in the band is like having Eddie Van Halen."
"Nobody fires up the crowd like John," says Gus. "There's something about him. John's just larger than life."
Hey! That's what I said, and it's true. Even just sitting across the table from me and not really doing anything, he's pretty entertaining. You know, one of those guys.
Their hearts are in the punk rock. They're stage-diving idiots with absolutely nothing of consequence to say and with absolutely no great big musical aspirations. They don't want to be arena rock stars.
"I'm not quitting my job," says Mike, who is a network administrator by day. "I have a kid, a wife, a mortgage. Gus has three children."
Fox adds, "This is just us wanting to just act like stupid juvenile children and be funny and have fun."
Isn't that sweet? Tards just wanna have fun.