The Kelp Challenge

QuestionnaireOK, I stayed up really late last night trying to think of anything to write about and failed miserably, so today I did what I do whenever I’m absolutely desperate for something to do in the kolumn: I emailed some total bonehead questions to a typically fascinating assortment of the local musicianry. In fact, I issued the Kelp Challenge. Are you ready to take the Kelp Challenge?

The questions involved were as cheerful as I could make them, considering that there’s hardly anywhere for local musicians to work in the winter, which leaves them all starving, hopeless, and shivering in the miserable freezing cold. Just to make it a little more excruciating, I decided on a multiple-choice format:

#1 – What the hell’s wrong with you today?
a.) Got my head caught in a vat of lard.
b.) Depressed about having no life.
c.) Can’t get band hired anywhere but the Land Ho.
d.) OTHER (please specify):

#2 – It’s clearly too cold to live. If you were going to kill yourself this week, what method would you choose?
a.) Jump off a cliff.
b.) Drug overdose.
c.) Get my head caught in a vat of lard.
d.) OTHER (please specify):

#3 – How do you like them apples?
a.) Not much.
b.) Fine.
c.) What apples?
d.) OTHER (don’t specify):

#4 – What would be your favorite way to destroy your computer?

a.) Throw it off a cliff.
b.) Cast it into the ocean.
c.) Smash it to smithereens with baseball bat.
d.) OTHER (please specify):

My first respondent was Pat Healy of the Providence band International Pen Pal, who will be one of six bands playing at the White Electric Benefit this Saturday (1/25) at Monahassett Mill in Providence with The Eyesores, Uno, Mahi Mahi, Ur Dog, and Pleasurehorse. Unfortunately, I had to disqualify Pat from the competition because he used the same answer (“d.) – Burned at the stake”) for two different questions (#2 and #4.)

Bruce Maclean of the Maplewoods (who will appear this Saturday at the Land Ho in Orleans) made the same mistake on the same two questions with the answer, “tequila”, and likewise was disqualified, thus drastically narrowing the field.

Jennifer Kimball, former member of the Story and current member of the Cambridge band Maybe Baby (who recently released their debut album, “What Matters”-more info at, came up with a couple terrific answers to questions #3 and 4, saying that she wanted “to go hurling with the computer on the local basketball court. Get some little sweepers out to smooth the way…” and that she had just been writing a line in a song that went “bobbing for apples in a bathtub of pears” so she likes them apples. Unfortunately, she completely ignored the first two questions, so I was forced to give her an incomplete.

Even so, she had a slightly more complete incomplete than the Maplewoods’ Jay Cournoyer, who worried that his answers might scare the other children, and so didn’t submit any. He didn’t say so, but I happen to know he’s putting the finishing touches on his solo debut as well.

This brought us down to the last two entrants, Randy Frost (of Boom Boom Baby, who’ll be at the Regatta in Fall River this Saturday, and at the Land Ho next Thursday, Jan. 30, and the Chatham Squire Friday, Jan. 31), and his Eastham neighbor P. J. O’Connell (who won’t, though he does have a fine new CD called “Happy Go Lucky” out on the Edisun label -more info from P.J. himself at -which features all the fellers from NRBQ; he said he vows to get the CD “out to press and radio before Presidents Day Weekend” and that he’ll also “put up a poster at the Superette.”

In the end, Frost barely nosed out O’Connell with the idea of hanging himself with his guitar cable, and with the following inventive answer to #4: “I would fill my hard drive with my own brand of music which I describe as a cross between industrial death metal, disco, polka and Tasmanian sheep herding music. This would cause a sonic and digital disaster so ugly that the computer would implode”, even though O’Connell was impressive on #2, suggesting that he might die of “spontaneous combustion on a whale watch.”

Congratulations to all our players this week, all of whom took the Kelp Challenge, and thank god that’s over!

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