Happy Birthday to Brad Roberts, lead singer of Canadian folk-pop group Crash Test Dummies, who turns 47 years old today. If you were alive in late 1993 and early 1994, you no doubt remember humming along to the Dummies' hit "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" from second album, God Shuffled His Feet.
Roberts has one of the most recognizable big baritones in music, which is funny to imitate when you have a cold or the flu. If you have a bassy voice like Roberts', like Rocks Off does, karaoke sucks really bad if you aren't trained to use your register. Everything ends up souding like the Doors or David Bowie.
Bonus points if you remember Weird "Al" Yankovic parodying the "Mmm..." as "Headline News", just in time for the release of his Greatest Hits Volume II, the video for which documented that 1994's pop-culture curiosities Nancy Kerrigan and her friend Tonya Harding, John Wayne Bobbitt, and that kid who was caned in Singapore.
Of course there were fart noises, and Yankovic couldn't even be bothered to take his glasses off for the video.
More Dummies trivia: You may have seen the Winnipeg-formed band on Saturday Night Live in February 1994. The episode's host was Martin Lawrence, whose infamous "wash ya ass" monologue was almost immediately edited out of the show, and according to Don Pardo's voice-over dubbed in its place, cost several SNL employees their jobs. Lawrence was also banned from ever appearing on the late-night program again.
After a hiatus of several years, the Dummies reunited last year, continuing in the onomotopoeic tradition of "Mmmm" with the LP Ooooh La La.
Feet wasn't without its charms, weirdly, getting help from guitarist Adrian Belew on the title track and it also featured the production of the Talking Heads' Jerry Harrison. The former Talking Head (and Head) also produced the most successful records for Live, part of No Doubt's Return of Saturn and The Verve Pipe 1996 LP Villians, which spawned the similarly ubiquitous hit "The Freshmen."
More recently, Harrison produced Austin New Wavers The Black & White Years' self-titled 2008 debut LP. TB&WY play this weekend's Main Street Block Party at the Continental Club, Big Top and Mink, scheduled to go on 11 p.m. Saturday at the Continental.