Rocks & Rolling
Any day now, Brookline resident Weird Paul Petroskey could lose his day job of 17 years to the greener pastures of rock 'n' roll -- not the career move of a typical thirty-something. "You choose excitement, you choose glamour, you choose fame," he sings on "If You Choose Rock 'n' Roll," the opening track to Medically Necessary, Weird Paul's 21st collection of irreverent and infectious pop anthems.
Some of those daydreams are coming true. Last year, he became the subject of Stacy Goldschmidt's Weird Paul: A Lo Fidelity Documentary, which screened at the prestigious Chicago and Leeds, U.K. film festivals. The film includes testimonials from K Records giant Calvin Johnson, outsider pop guru Daniel Johnston, and King Missile's John S. Hall, to name just a few.
Armed with his signature B.C. Rich guitar, boyish mop-top and possibly Pittsburgh's loudest band (The Weird Paul Rock Band), Weird Paul embraces an anything-can-be-a-song credo on Medically Necessary, with tracks like "More Time for MySpace," "This Is My Bedroom," and "What a Meal" (referring to living solely on cereal). In addition to the band, Paul enlists a Who's Who in Pittsburgh-area music, including members of Hope Harveys, Vale and Year, Grand Buffet and longtime collaborator (and frequent CP contributor) Manny Theiner.
"Pay For Your Tacos Quickly and Securely" lasts as long as it takes to say the title, while "Love Triangle Point" comprises a trilogy of melancholy ballads ("A," "B" and "C") in the style of early Sebadoh. He also attempts hip hop on "Wine Coolers," loaded with brilliant rhymes like "I drink Bartles & Jaymes to fulfill my aims / It's one drink that got two names."
With Medically Necessary, Weird Paul could prove the lone savior of a new generation of absurdist pop/punk aficionados. As the album comes to a close, he reprises its opening statement: "If you choose rock 'n' roll, you choose loneliness for the rest of your life." But it's not like he doesn't know what he's up against. Just let the man do his job.