The Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad: From lewd to lovable
Our guest blogging continues with a piece from local musician Ryan Graham:
I’m also in The Hilltop Hightops, Baltimore’s only hard-rock children’s band.
Same members, different band.
The same people who sing "I Like Fat Girls" for drunken bar-goers now sing "I Like Kitties" for 4-year-olds.
I think Sam envisioned some evil plan to corrupt American’s youth when he asked me to write about this, but the reality is a little less insidious ...
DMFS has been around since 2005. We love playing for our awesome fans at Baltimore’s amazing venues, but we can’t really afford to give up our jobs and go on tour. When you never venture out of your comfort zone, the music can turn stale and the energy and excitement can die. (I’m looking at you, Sting!)
So, we decided to start a side project. But it had to be different. Jazz quartet? Polka? Milli Vanilli tribute band? Nothing other than original hard rock seemed very appealing. But we wanted to play at different venues to different crowds, places DMFS couldn’t play because of our "adult" content.
Then one day my little niece saw a live video of us jumping around on stage like idiots, and she was laughing hysterically. And it hit me that we were already a kids band, but with really filthy lyrics. If we just tweaked our act a bit we might be able to play for large, appreciative (albeit young) audiences at a wide variety of venues!
The best part so far has been coming up with the songs. Like a lot of people our age, we still have one foot stuck in our youth, and fully submerging ourselves in that mindset is fun and refreshing.
But I’d forgotten how hard it is to build a band up from scratch. Rehearsals, photo shoots, promo videos, press kits, postcards, websites. It’s a ton of work with no immediate payback; we haven’t even booked our first gig yet.
I was also bummed that one member of DMFS wanted no part of this. We ended up bringing in an old friend to take his place, but it definitely deflated our morale.
I do hope the hard work pays off and The Hilltop Hightops are successful. The market for children’s music doesn’t seem as oversaturated as other genres, and most of the stuff already out there is horribly bland folk-pop that I personally think is insulting to kids. I don’t know how parents stand to listen to that junk; it would drive me nuts.
Some people would say DMFS has sold out, but who cares? We’re playing music we enjoy and having fun with it, and that’s the whole point of being in a band. It's not like we ever had much artistic integrity to begin with, given that our lead singer wears a horse head and sings about necrophilia.
Plus, someone has to teach kids how to throw the goat.
(At top, photo of The Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad. At bottom, photo of The Hilltop Hightops)