A few months ago the Unicorns were held up at the U.S. border long enough to see to it that a good portion of their U.S. tour was filed in the "canceled" column -- Houston included. Perhaps some Border Patrol goon mistook their wardrobe of choice pink suspenders and slacks for Al Qaeda garb. Who knows? What we do know is that this time the alt-pop Canucks have safely secured entry into God's Country and are rocking it in the free world.
Their debut, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone, is an out-of-the-blocks ball-basher, and live shows are reported to be a smorgasbord of whatthefuck: Staged band fistfights between songs, puppets, doll houses, paying homeless guys outside the venue to pose as band members -- you get the idea. What's more, they've been toking enough insano sweet (maple) leaf to make them a quirky, offbeat, hard-to-peg, don't-label-us tough-ass interview. "How's the tour going so far?" isn't going to fly with these guys.
And so I'm gonna mix it up a bit. Throw them some curve balls. Get creative. I've decided to ask the Unicorns (the band) trivia questions about unicorns (the animal). This genius scheme lasts about five minutes. No one knows that a carbuncle is the ruby at the base of a uni's horn, or that the sometimes winged horsies are now extinct -- any paleontologist worthy of the name can tell you they were too proud to clatter aboard Noah's Ark, that they arrogantly refused passage and told Noah "We will swim" in voices that sounded nothing like that of Mr. Ed. Well, no, they drowned. Much like I did with these dorky I-can-play-unpredictable-too questions that are seconds away from boring them into tossing me a dial tone. What follows are highlights from questions put to singer-guitarist Neil Diamonds after aborting the attempt at being my generation's James Lipton.
Walter's on Washington, 4215 Washington Avenue, 713-869-5263
Saturday, June 12. Arcade Fire and Fiery Furnaces are also on the bill.
How's the tour been so far?
It's been awful. People hate us. Especially in New York -- they just start walking out around our second song. By the end of our set we're usually playing to the bartenders.
That's gotta hurt.
No, we love it. Prefer it. We also like it when we don't get paid at the end of the night. That's been happening a lot too. But it's cool -- like I said, we like getting ripped off. We also like to fight with club bouncers.
Anything else you like?
We like making out. Tell Houston we want to make out -- men, women, doesn't matter. We just want to get busy.
Anything you don't like?
We don't like it when people use foul language. As a band we've adopt a strict "no cursing" policy. In fact, when we feel the need to curse we just substitute it with a word or phrase we feel more comfortable with.
"Throw your hair hole in the air hole" is one we've been using quite a bit.
What's it mean?
I don't know. Some dumb fucking shit we just made up.
Neil Diamonds, Alden Ginger are these your real names?
[Insert rambling diatribe about Egyptian pharaoh monks, tombstones, desert sands, hieroglyphics and bottled water.]
Your drummer didn't seem to like the questions about unicorns at all. He was pretty put off.
Yeah, a unicorn killed his mother. It's a really touchy subject with him. He's actually threatened to quit the band unless we change the name.
Neil -- you do the artwork for the band, right?
It's really good. All your stuff is really, really nice.
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Thanks. Thanks a lot, man.
It makes me want to throw my hair hole in the air hole.
Well, if you like it, it shouldn't make you want to do that.
There you go, Houston. You're advised to punch the Unicorns while making out with them and taking their money. Just don't curse or attempt trivia.