Thursday, September 4, 2008

Web Exclusive: Pleaseeasaur Interview

[Comedy] Some comedy is only known as campy, you know you have to listen to the jokes the artist is not telling; JP Hasson proudly wears a black belt in this genre. Performing tonight at Club Vegas (445 S. 400 West, private club for members), JP will be dishing out steaming spoonfuls of his camp. From quality limousines and TV news crews to abominable snowmen and pizza aficionados his songs truly know no bounds.

The first listen I had of his album and the first glimpse I had of his cartoon Pleaseeasaur (pronounced Please-ee-uh-saur), I thought, "It's just not funny." After a few days trying to grasp what I'd just witnessed and wondering why every song I've heard from JP was stuck in my head I realized, the man is a genius. Like the worm of Khan from Star Trek II, JP's lyrics crawl into your brain and take over, the weakest of minds like mine will be assimilated. What was completely unfunny to me has grown into an albatross on my shoulder I may never shake.

One can only witness it for themselves to decide if this is a masterpiece or just a piece, I had a few minutes to talk to JP during his busy tour schedule here's what I learned:

Are you comfortable with answering very personal questions from someone named Circus?
Yes indeed...considering at the very first Pleaseeasaur show in San Francisco (1997) only one person showed up for the show. He drove 50 miles. His name was Salad.

How many years have you been performing?
I have been performing as Pleaseeasaur for 11 years. Though I was in several bands before...starting in 1989 at the age of 12.

Is Pleaseeasaur a Super Hero or an Angel?
Actually several entities/characters comprise that which is Pleaseeasaur. There are 15 costumed characters in the current version of the Pleaseeasaur live show. One of them is indeed a super-hero. (When I first read the question I mis-read the word Angel...and thought it was Angle. I think thought that would be an awesome character to angle. Very high concept.)

What part in Pleaseeasaur does Joe Jack Talcum [Dead Milkmen] play?
Joe plays no role in Pleaseeasaur. He engineered one of the old cassette-only albums back in the mid-90's...for which he also contributed vocals and some of his famous guitar stylings. He will be doing some guitar work on the next CD/DVD though.

I understand you have opened for many hip bands like Melvins, Pinback, Boredoms, and Black Heart Procession to name a few. Did you witness Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum sacrificing animals or Unicorns backstage?
No Unicorns. But once I did see them construct a makeshift tether-ball setup made of dirty hemp anklets, braided armpit hair and gluten-free vegan noodles. That was impressive...but also kind of disgusting.

How do the fans at these rock shows react to your show?
For the uninitiated...a major transformation takes place. Typically from confusion to glee.While most alternative rock and roll concerts are vehicles to "see" or "hear" a music band...those cool and hip events are also places to be "seen" among hipsters and posers. So when the Pleaseeasaur show starts and being that it is unlike anything most of these "hip" and "with it" kids have ever seen...they usually act as if they don't like it. Until they see other attendees around them smiling and laughing and having a great time...then they let their proverbial hair down and begin to gush and gawk and have a splendid evening. Except of course for those that hate it.

Where does your inspiration come from?
Eagles soaring past the apex of a great mountain with a dreamcatcher in one talon and a slice of pizza in the other.Who wouldn't that inspire?

Are there any people or substances that influence your work?
I am only influenced by people of substance. Such as: Ron Popeil, The Dead Milkmen, The Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra, Mike Post, Albert Brooks, Frank DeVol, Lalo Schifrin, Ennio Morricone, Don West, Don Knotts, 99 cent stores ...

Is Comedy Central currently shopping Pleaseeasaur to networks?
Yes...but the only offer they've received was from QVC for me to host an 11 minute baseball card segment.

You've signed a multi-year multi-album deal with Comedy Central Records; how many years and how many albums are we going to get from Pleaseeasaur?
The deal with Comedy Central is a 7 year term. So if all goes according to plan, that span will produce 4 CD/DVD entertainment products for folks to hopefully enjoy.

What will we see next from Pleaseeasaur?
First and foremost, for this next tour the entire live show is automated. The new incarnation features a visual presentation that is completely animated. Whether it be video or graphics or cartoons...the entire corresponding visual aid portion is constantly moving and changing. Nary a dull moment.I have been working on the 2nd CD/DVD installment for Comedy Central. As of right now it will be a CD/DVD with 99 tracks chronicling 99 basic cable channels. Either that or it will be all Gin Blossoms and Goo Goo Dolls covers. I haven't decided yet.

It seems like Comedy Central puts some pretty mediocre cartoons on their network, what's holding Pleaseeasaur back?
Oh geez...are you asking me talk shit about the multi-billion-dollar Viacom Corporation and it's subsidiaries that I am under contract with?If so...OK. Considering the context in which Pleaseeasaur fits into Comedy Central's roster...which is primarily stand-up comedians...Pleaseeasaur is by far the wildest and craziest thing under their umbrella. Pleaseeasaur has a lot of folks at Comedy Central championing it...but here still remains those that just simply don't know what to do with it. The original idea was for Pleaseeasaur to be cornerstone of a new Saturday Morning Revival. But rather than do something that would please millions of folks...they have decided to run Porky's II on Saturday mornings instead.

I've got "No Prob Limo" stuck in my head, there's nothing I can do to get it out, can you help me?
Sorry man. The only thing I can suggest is to get one of the other great Pleaseeasaur songs stuck in your head instead. Or perhaps if you drop an anvil on your foot or something you'll temporarily forget about the song.

(Circus Brown)

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