Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Part of me really wonders how much glue and paint chips A. Savage and Jason Kelly of Fergus & Geronimo sniffed when they were young boys. Pad them down right now and you're liable to find a travel-sized jar of Elmer's rubber cement rolled up into one of their sleeves or in a backpack. They're either demented or just crazy enough to get themselves into the sorts of situations that could yield songs like "Strange Wool," a new song recorded for the first time on this session. It's a song that begins with Savage speaking and then singing, nay, belting Sam Cooke and Otis Redding-style, "Okay, this is a true story…/She walked up to me/Grabbed a hold of my dick/She said, 'How old are you and will you fuck me?" The happenstance, dirty fling with a woman we can't help but presume is a dirty, dirty ass older broad goes on for the next few lines, with the Savage character building up a buzz and some courage - or just a buzz. He continues the telling, by singing, "So I opened a beer/More specifically an IPA/Then I hauled ass to the bathroom/She was strange wool/Ooo strange wool/Strange wool/I got the itch of the strange wool/She took my beer/She said it will be waiting right here for you baby/She held the collateral and I said, 'Okay.'" It's a story that Cooke or Redding would have never phrased that way. It would have had a little more finesse. It would have been about a hem of a garment or it would have used the kind of time-honored platitudes of an old-fashioned courting, even if the end result was some lusty, animalistic sex.
Savage and Kelly take a somewhat sarcastic look at nearly everything that happens to them and nearly everything they think, making a collage of thoughts and sounds that's a weird amalgamation of slackerdom, early Beck, vintage R&B and the playful wordiness of an immature kid with a giant-sized inferiority complex. There's a supreme laziness hidden in the actions of the characters on the band's debut full-length, "Unlearn," which is described in their own handwriting on the back of the vinyl album's sleeve thusly, "Unlearn means to discard any misinformation, indoctrination, useless habit or dated/irrelevant concept. Any life worth living involves regular disposal of "normal human behavior," freaking out, challenging authority, etc. You get it. Your mind is a sponge, and sponges gotta be SQUEEZED."
There's an overall texture of some basic failure leading these two to make the music that they make. There are hints that mom and dad aren't too happy with the way their lives are working out, but only because they might place too much value on the wrong things. They call out a generation on "Baby Boomer," with the opening line, "Baby boomer, look outside at the world you did create/All the sludge from your once bleeding heart goes to filling your gas tank…/Turn off your brain so the voice can't complain cause there's worms inside your steak," and the "Greek chorus," "Could you deliver a message to my mom and dad?/Tell them I ran away to join some damn punk rock band/Could you deliver a message to my mom and dad?/Tell them I can't fake an interest in being a scout." There are words throughout the album that have been growing and heaving for decades, through a maturation that suddenly led to a rebuttal and a storming out, in essence to escape from complacency, from an easy normal. They didn't know it when they walked out of mom and dad's house that last time, but all they really wanted was to move to Brooklyn, NY, live like broke asses and have dirty old women snag a handful of crotch and boozily proposition them.