A few months ago, I found myself in the VIP area backstage at The Jimmy Kimmel Show. If you need to know what that’s like, imagine a room full of people pretending not to care that Huey Lewis is casually hanging out with them.
I don’t think anyone of my generation is necessarily happy that so much Huey Lewis and The News music infested their brains like a virus in the 80’s. But it’s there now, forever, and being in the vicinity of the man who manufactured that neurotoxin called “I Need a New Drug,” is comforting and familiar, like drinking Busch Light on a porch swing while your parents are out of town.
Apparently, life is not about being comfortable or safe. The security guards announced that we were all invited to the theater to watch the band for that evening’s show, “Die Antwoord.” The stage had two turntables, manned by a DJ in a red leisure suit wearing what appeared to be an albino gorilla mask. It’s also possible that his face was simply covered in dozens of heinous scars. I wasn’t close enough to tell.
He was joined by another terrifying man wearing an identical red suit who looked emaciated and redneck-y enough that he might pull out a gun at any moment. He moved around the stage aggressively, and in a style I can only describe as “Meth-Mouth Karate Dance Machine.” Needing a little security, I quickly scanned the room for Huey — nothing. I was totally alone.
These two red nightmares were joined by a very strange and tiny person dressed in a gold hooded track suit with white hair, and black eyeballs. I briefly considered the possibility that it might be a 10-year-old boy with Progeria (advanced aging disease), the bizarreness of which set off my flight instinct. What kind of evil maniacs would abduct a sick child and force it to front their band?
On top of the DJ’s chest thumping beat, the miniature golden being began chanting, “I fink you’re freaky and I like you a lot.” Its unblinking soul-less eyes gazed flatly into the slack-jawed crowd. I was frozen, and paranoid that I’d been summoned to a human sacrifice. The ritual, I thought, could begin at any moment. The music would stop. Everyone would turn to look at me as I began levitating and moving toward the stage where the ape-faced man would wield a mighty beheading sword as the night-eyed alien sucked out my brains with the sheer force of her emptiness.
Then the beat took a strange turn and slowed significantly. It was the skinny meth ninja’s turn at the mic. He stripped off his red jacket, revealing a cadaverously pale torso smattered with homemade tattoos. Despite my emotional discomfort, I started to lose myself in the song. My head bobbed up and down, and though my heart was still trying to climb out of my throat, I knew it was from excitement, and not from the fear of being offered up to pagan Gods by drugged-out zombie aliens. I closed my eyes for the first time, and mouthed the chant, “I fink you’re freaky and I like you a lot.”
When I opened them, I saw that the tiny being had removed its golden suit, revealing itself to be a disturbingly attractive miniature woman. With the cameras off, they did one more song, just for the studio audience.
I returned home that evening in a daze and unable to explain what I’d seen. I found some Die Antwoord clips on YouTube and played them for Lindsay. We played them over and over again. And then we played them some more. We stayed up late, searching for more and more clips. We haven’t stopped listening to Die Antwoord for 3 months. Silas and Arlo walk around singing, “I fink you’re freaky and I like you a lot”, which is not at all appropriate for a young child.
When you’re first exposed to a new drug, your response is fear, and that fear stays with you even after the first time you try it. Then you slowly come around, and before you know it you’re addicted. I encourage you to watch this video … then watch it again … and then watch it a third time … then check yourself into rehab.
You’re welcome, and I’m sorry. I’m also sending this message via the postal service to Huey Lewis (he doesn’t use computers).