Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Behold, the single most epic Daytrotter session recording ever committed to quarter-inch tape. One could even argue that the three men from Bloomington, Indiana, who comprise the Coke Dares have made one of the most epic bands in the world. Oh sure, that's superfluous. It's an extraordinary thing to claim, for any band, for any person, but one listen to what could be 100 songs right here (as a band, they seem to ask the question, "What is a song, anyway?"), and you recognize that you're in the presence of the highest level of witty, musical genius, the kind of stuff that you want to listen to EVERY damned time you're in a good mood, EVERY damned time you're throwing back bottles of beer in the company of your best buds. They take all of the littlest pieces of bullshit and hilarity that they make up or encounter and turn them into telling little nuggets of punk rock brilliance. Every line is biting and insightful and sometimes a song only consists of a line or two, nothing more - just enough to make a point and to bring a hoot and a snicker. More so now than ever before, all of us seem to be walking around with the most fragmented brains, always occupied with a thousand other things, concentrating on just as many, swimming into the swamp of ephemera, coming face-to-face with more and more people feeling their own self-indulgent importance. It's so much easier to laugh at things than it ever has been. We're all fools. We're all focused on the wrong things. We all find as many ways as possible to lose touch.
We do the dumbest shit sometimes and it's when we take it seriously - when others doing stupid ass shit take it seriously - that we create such a ripe playground for the Coke Dares to mess around with. Singer/guitarist Jason Groth (or Dr. History Doctor), bassist Pete Schreiner (or Syd Wishcraft) and drummer Mark Rice (or Ice Miller) take their observations, the overheard oddities and all kinds of irony and make it into a cocktail of belly laughs and braininess, of spurts and fits. They make song titles that tell you everything you need to know about what you're going to hear in the next 45 seconds, such as "There's A Meth Lab On My Street" or "The Guy Who Wouldn't Shut Up," and then they always find a way to flip the script and throw in some precious jabs that turn the song from parody or comedy piece into something, dare we say, artistic. They'd likely hate such a distinction, but it's almost akin to the way that Banksy and other graffiti artists have taken their smarts and talents in poking fun at the idiocracy, selling their street art to those who think that they're in on the joke, but are mostly just contributors to the noise. We all know that we have all of these faults that the Coke Dares shine a light on and being able to laugh at them is what we have to do or we really are just the jerk offs that we say we don't want to be.