Handwritten letters show up in my City Paper mail from time to time, and I tend to save them -- mainly, in case the sender later proves insane and I need evidence for the police. I mean, you've probably seen some scary people who have figured out how to use printers at the library. Imagine the ones who haven't. So the arrival of "Weird Paul" Petroskey's three handwritten pages and CD-R initially filled me with a certain unease. Which is probably the point.
Simulating the Act of Love, the latest release by local institution The Weird Paul Rock Band, offers a different kind of evidence. With 16 of the songs re-recorded from his back catalog, it's a reminder of Weird Paul's lengthy career (since 1987) and extensive discography (25 releases, by his count). It's also evidence of a sustained Zappa-esque need to take catchy musical impulses -- there's no denying Weird Paul's melodic and vocal talents -- and turn it into something comic or absurd.
That's the best explanation I have for a song like "Take a Dump on My Jacket": "Some of you out there might think it's sick / It's not sick, it's love," Weird Paul intones. "You know what I'm talking about? / I'm talking about a dump / on my jacket!"
The album -- whose cover features a girl with headphones enjoying an intimate moment with a big, sloppy deli sandwich -- was recorded with Brian Colleran on bass, Ben Blanchard on keytar and guitar, and Jon Dowling on drums. The 20 tracks range from sludgy metal riffs ("Bowl Cut," with its nod to Jethro Tull) to Pixies-ish rock ("Hot Water Heater") and synthy New Wave ("Car Wreck").
The CD release show for Simulating the Act of Love takes place at 9 p.m. Sat., April 3, at Howlers Coyote Café, with guests The Electric Grandmother (from Columbus, Ohio), Lord Grunge, Middle Children and Dean Cercone.
As if that weren't enough weirdness, the following week, Weird Paul and Ben Blanchard are performing tracks from their new collaborative release, Police Baffled; Public Aroused. (Their cover of Jackson Browne's "Lawyers in Love" is oddly affecting, and almost immediately cancelled out by the cock-rock send-up, "Nutz, Sluttz and Butttz.") The show takes place at 10 p.m. Fri., April 9, at 31st Street Pub, with Thin Sketch, Lord Grunge & The Skells and The Microwaves.
For more info, visit www.weirdpaul.com.