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You Make Me So Moist: Dickey and Mickey grapple with the news that Janet Jackson was not, as it turns out, singing about them.

Order From Chaos

The Moistboyz are America's premier dirt rockers, a self-identified genre infused with profanity, distortion and more than a healthy dash of paranoia

By Peter Koht

The Moistboyz are unashamed of categorizing their music as dirt rock. Mickey Moist (a.k.a. Dean Ween, a.k.a. Mickey Melchiondo) and Dickey Moist (a.k.a. Guy Heller) have spent the last 15 years creating gritty, punky and plain old ignorant rock. Their music is a direct descendant of the decadent and delirious tunes of Kiss.

"I grew up in the '70s and was in the Kiss Army," Heller says on the phone from New Jersey, commuting home from his day job as a roofer. "I liked Bowie and Gabriel, but the Kiss Army was cock rock all the way."

The profanity and anger found in the collected work of Moistboyz is partially tongue-in-cheek and partially heartfelt. Heller's vocals vent about any number of things including, gentrification, the pussification of modern rock and the general crappiness of the American political system.

"I have always been a man with a high temper and short fuse. I am extremely angry because I don't live in the system," Heller says, going on to explain that he doesn't have a credit card, believe in drivers' licenses or even possess a full set of teeth.

One thing that particularly grinds his gears is the constant characterization of the Moistboyz as a side project for Ween.

"It hurts, but it is kind of hard to avoid," Heller says resignedly. "If someone establishes themselves and splits off and gets another band, it is always called a side project. That is unavoidable in some respects, but it kinda bothers me."

In fact Heller's involvement with Ween's guitarist, Mickey Melchiondo, dates back to high school. Returning to New Jersey after a long stint in New Mexico, Heller ended up in Melchiondo's classes. Things weren't entirely copasetic to start with. In fact, the two aspiring musicians kind of hated each other.

It wasn't until Melchiondo picked up Heller on the side of the road one day that the two actually started talking civilly to each other. Well, sort of civilly. One can't imagine Martha Stewart picking up a hitchhiker with the immortal words "Hey fucker, what the fuck are you doing walking down the highway?" The two retired to Melchiondo's house, smoked some herb and began to bash out tunes, one of which, "Flies on My Dick," ended up on Ween's Pure Guava album. Modern rock has never been the same since.

Nine-tenths of the Moistboyz signature sound comes from Melchiondo's Boss DS-1 distortion pedal. The balance is made up of Heller's schizophrenic vocalisms and Iggy Pop­like stage antics. Almost every picture of their performances features Heller on the floor, writhing in sweat-soaked time to Melchiondo's whirling wall of noise.

With the majority of the song names on their last record, the Zeppelin-esquely titled Moistboyz IV, featuring profanity in the title, it is difficult to single out an isolated tune to critique, but their shoutout to former Attorney General John Ashcroft, "I Don't Give A Fuck Where the Eagle Flies," is a tour de force of Moist.

"You hear that tune "Let the Eagle Soar"? [Ashcroft's unintentionally hilarious paean to American freedom that he regaled the press corps with in 2002] That tune made me sick ... Why would you align yourself with this regal bird called the eagle, which is a bird of prey?"

Segueing from this query into a long discourse about the double-headed eagle as an imperialist ensign--"What the double-headed eagle means is that you tell your elite contemporaries one thing out of one side of your mouth and the common man another thing out of the other"--Heller has a long and storied relationship with conspiracy literature. Thinking that local writer Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus! Trilogy is "a lot of glossy hype" about a very real conspiracy, Heller believes that "you can't know American history unless you know the history of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry."

Barring meddling by a Masonic cabal, the Moistboyz will take to the road for the first time on an extended tour this winter, taking their skuzzy and profane rock all over the country in an effort to inject some spine into a music industry that has grown soft and corrupted. They aren't for everyone, but the Moistboyz are an outfit whose devilish sense of humor and unabashed working class roots are a welcome respite from the image-driven rock that clutters both the FM dial and MTV. Besides, it's good to know that a drug-taking, toothless roofer from New Jersey can still kick out the jams--even if he doesn't have a driver's license.

The Moistboyz play Sunday, Nov. 6, at 8pm at the Catalyst, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $12/advance, $15/door. (831.423.1336; www.catalystclub.com)

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From the November 2-9, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

Copyright © 2005 Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.

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