You know, if we had to sum up The German Measles' music, we'd have to just stick with saying, "They're from New York." It's a very, very Velvet Underground, East Coast approach to rocking you and mocking you. They're so obscure they haven't even heard of themselves, you motherloving hipster. You dig?
Still, we can enjoy that vibe, that art-rock cock-sock in the sex scene of this Andy Warhol flick of a band. Their songs can move you, and tracks like "Eternity" are fun in a kind non-ironic way. But that name...
You can't call yourself after a disease if you're not a metal band. That's rule No. 1 in the band-name book. Metal shall have dominion over all the death, so sayeth the Lord our God. What's the indie band doing with metal's property?
First, we went a-digging in the Houston Press research library... which is just an old laptop Brittanie Shey has written "Fancy Book Learnin'" across the screen in green lipstick on and whose homepage is Wikipedia. Still, it served our purpose for learning about German Measles.
Ed. Note: We would add that immediately after lunch is not the best time to search "German Measles" on Google Images.
German Measles is better known as rubella, which means when you get that MMR vaccination it should really just be MM and more M. Its symptoms are generally rash, swollen glands, and a fever. It's generally a mild disease, with symptoms being more sever the older you are. There's no cure, but vaccination is pretty much foolproof against it.
To sum up, German Measles is a mild disease, easily preventable, and gives you a rash. How on Earth does that correspond with rock music? We disguised ourselves as a hitchhiking watch salesman and managed to get picked up by the band in order to ask them that question.
"We're all doctors, so we think about medical stuff a lot," they said.
"Would you mind terribly not all speaking in unison like that?" We asked. "It's really creepy."
They stared blankly at us as the ride continued.
As we pondered our possible horror-movie fate, our mind tangented off. These doctors, who refused to answer any questions regarding their medical history, field of study, or educational background were on their way to our fair city.
Maybe we should be preventing the show instead of talking about it. So we asked, just hypothetically, what kind of, uh, vaccination would stop them.
"Silver bullets will take us down, and also regular bullets," they said in unison. That was a relief. Regular bullets are not in short supply in Houston, and it's times like these that we're glad for our friends who actively prepare for the zombie, vampire, and werewolf apocalypses.
As a father, we began to worry about Houston's children. German Measles is highly deadly if contracted by pregnant women. It can lead to all sorts of complications in utero. A pandemic in the '60s led to over 10,000 miscarriages or medical abortions, and caused blindness, deafness, and mental retardation in thousands of live births. What if this band brought such a rash of infection to the city with their feisty grooves and ultra-cool low vocals?
I had just about decided to jump out of the van to warn you when everything went dark. I woke up three hours later, naked in a bathtub full of ice. Fuckers stole my kidney!
German Measles (n): 1. An infectious disease. 2. A New York rock band. 3. Plus a kidney with one f.
The German Measles play Fitzgerald's tonight with the Crystal Stilts and RIVERS.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.