- Mark Linzee Rudolph
Fake Bands, Real Products
Oh what stains that rug has seen!
1. “The Humiras” 2019. Ulcerative colitis medication.
Heretofore, GG Allin was the most prominent rock star with explosive diarrhea, but now comes the waif lead singer in the fictitious "Humiras."
We’ve seen this story in Rock and Roll before: A lead singer disappears mid-concert into a bathroom and has a $5000 a month injectable drug habit.
In this case, the drug is Humira, a patented biotech immunosuppressive made by the Abbott Corporation. The wholesale price of this drug is $5000 per month. (For an indy band, they sure do have good health insurance!) Thank God our good little girl is not taking narcotics; otherwise, she might be in danger of liver failure, tuberculosis, and increased risk of cancers, including lymphoma.
Oh, wait—those are the black box warnings on Humira. One thing does remain shitty: the music.
Lyrics: Ahhhh Uhhhhh uhhhh Ahhhh ah ah.
Upshot: Perhaps the lead singer feels well enough to write lyrics?
2. “Memorex” 1980. Audiotape that can shatter glass!
The compact cassette was the Mp3 of its day and enormously profitable. In the late ’70s, Memorex started a campaign of Ella Fitzgerald hitting a high note and breaking the world’s thinnest wine glass. Then the commercial played a Memorex recording, and voila, it also breaks glass! (If I were a delicate wine glass, I would want to explode after hearing too much of Ella’s scat.)
Is it live, or is it Memorex? Who cares? Tape hiss has nothing to do with frequency. It’s not the tape; it’s that huge 120-decibel amplifier they’re using in the commercial.
By 1980, Ella was replaced by a lightweight heavy metal group I’ll dub “Memorex.” Rumor has it that the lead singer of “Memorex” went on to brief fame in Slayer and their song “Eye of the Tiger.”
Lyrics: Can’t let go, can’t get enough, I need your LOVE (glass shatters).
3. “The Repulsions” Ban deodorant spray, circa 1965.
A Beau Brummell backed by mop tops proudly states, “We don’t use deodorant, and we have a groovy group.” The narrator scowls, “Yes. You should call yourselves ‘The Repulsions!'
Back story: Deodorant was considered womanly by the public. World War II and Korean veterans spent their youth sweating under deadly conditions without the luxury of bathing. As Don Draper says in Mad Men, “Of course I smell, I’m a man!”
Aerosol sprays were marketed as ‘space age’ and fast. Deodorant pads were too close to feminine napkins for most men’s comfort. The next generation, the baby boomers, needed to be indoctrinated in the harshest terms possible. Here we have the ultimate chick magnet, a pop band, who are told in no uncertain terms that their groupies will be repulsed, repulsed if they don’t use Ban’s new spray-on deodorant.
If a band can’t get laid, what hope would there be for the rest of the boomers? Corporations were also terrified by the hippies’ “back to nature” movement. The cliche about smelly hippies was a concerted propaganda effort.
By the ’70s, men got the message. Elvis Presley famously dumped Brut all over his diamond jumpsuits, which could never be laundered due to their delicate fabric. Even Charles Manson sings, “Ban won’t wear off, ‘till my monkey’s dead” in his tone-deaf tome, "Mechanical Man." Finally, there was “High Karate,” a perfume seemingly made of puce and gasoline. “Wear it when you stalk.” Ted Bundy and other men listened!
Lyrics: Ban won't wear off as the day wears on.