Ok, kids, now that you have had your Parry Gripp video tutorial, let’s go to the man himself!
Can you tell us a little bit about the state of mind you were in when you wrote the songs on For Those About To Shop…We Salute You? What was your life like during that period?
It was a really terrible time in my life when I was writing those songs. I had given up on having a music career, and resigned myself to just working at my family’s orchid nursery. My dreams were crushed. The fake jingles were something I did just to keep myself entertained and not go crazy. I really just made songs out the first things that would pop into my head.
How did the Parry Gripp project happen? Were you around people who really supported your going in this direction?
Nobody really encouraged me to write those songs. In fact, people would always say things like, “You should record a real album.” On paper it wasn’t a good idea, but somehow it worked out for me. Many of my dreams have come true because I started writing those songs.
I want you to know that when I first played the song “Megaphone,” for my husband, he asked me, “Is this the Butthole Surfers?” Who were your pop/punk models, if any, for that song? How about the musical models for “Weird Lizard Eating Salad”? Or “Fried Chicken”?
I’ll take your husband’s comment about the Butthole Surfers as a compliment! The inspiration for the Megaphone song is that it is, of course, completely true. As for the music, my band Nerf Herder toured a lot with The Bloodhound Gang, so I guess that white-man rapping thing sort of rubbed off. “Weird Lizard Eating Salad” sounds a little like “Another Girl, Another Planet” by The Only Ones. I’m not sure what I was thinking. I try not to think too much in the first place.
Musically, “Fried Chicken” is sort of Ween-style. I really loved some of those Ween records.
Did you consider any other foods for “Fried Chicken”? Did you sing it as “Ramen” or “Cinnamon Rolls” before settling in on “Fried Chicken”?
Nope, it was always fried chicken. Something about a robot saying “fried chicken” just made sense.
How did you begin to write songs to Youtube videos?
My pal (who I did not know at the time) Nathan Mazur made a flash video for “Do You Like Waffles?” that was really popular. It changed both of our lives. I started making YouTube videos partially to satirize how dumb the whole thing was, but then I actually became that thing that I was making fun of. And I like it!
Do Parry Gripp and Nerf Herder have two completely separate identities as bands? Do you ever play “Fried Chicken” at Nerf Herder gigs?
Nerf Herder hasn’t played any Parry Gripp songs, although at the one show I did as Parry Gripp at SXSW I did “Mr. Spock“.
Any plans for more Parry Gripp releases? How about East Coast tours?
Well, I’d like to start cranking out songs again. But currently I’m really busy working on a project for a big company that is famous for its mouse. The project will start airing in June.
What kind of music are you listening to lately and what are your five all time favorite bands?
Oh man, I love so much music! However, mostly I listen to music from between 1954 and 1985. Honestly, I could do without everything else. I love a band called The Equals. I’ve been listening to them a lot. And the Clash. And Ozzy (the first two records). And I love the Kinks. And my favorite songwriter, Chuck Berry. I could go on forever,
Where do you record your music?
I record my music in a converted shipping container. It’s nicer than it sounds! Although, from the outside it looks like a dumpster. Inside it’s sweet. Also, it’s right near the beach so I walk there every day. I don’t think I’d move to a different studio for anything.
What was it like being on Phineas and Ferb? Any other TV work you aspire to?
Phineas and Ferb was really fun. My friends work on the show, so I got to hang out with them and work on the song. It turned out that soon after I started working on a different show for Disney, so I’m around the Phineas & Ferb crew all the time. Dan and Swampy, the dudes who created the show and run everything, were very nice to me. Everyone was great!
I asked my kids if they had any questions for you and they wanted to know “Where do you get your awesome ideas?” With that in mind, do you have any creative practice? Do you write stuff on a pad next to your bed? Do you have a minion who takes notes for you in the car?
Well, that is a nice question from your kids. Most of the time, an idea just pops into my head, and I run with it. I figure if it just came from nowhere, there must be something to it. My good ideas always come in the morning, a lot of time while I’m making breakfast or washing dishes. Washing dishes is a great way to think of stuff.
We are big fans of “Up Butt Coconut” over here. What was the genesis for that song?
I wrote “Up Butt Coconut” at a time when I didn’t quite understand that I should only be doing stuff that would be okay for little, little kids. As you can imagine, some parents don’t like the song. Anyhow, I wrote it for a very specific reason. At the time there was a ringtone called “Crazy Frog – Axel F” that had somehow become the number 1 song in the UK (the chart system had changed to include ringtones). I knew I could come up with something that stupid and ridiculous. And that thing was “Up Butt Coconut”.
If you were to look back and give advice to your 12-year-old self, what would you say?
Oh man! I’m literally living my 12-year old self’s dream right now! I’d probably say, “Just keep screwing up like you’re doing. One day it will work out for you!”