The Dead Milkmen Story, Written by The Dead Milkmen Featured photo © Heather Harris
Although there are numerous, conflicting, tales of how, when, where, and sometimes why the Dead Milkmen initially formed, the most reliable evidence points to band founder Joe Jack Talcum’s decision, in the late 1970s, to create a band based entirely upon a group of woodcuts he discovered in the basement of The Vatican.
Talcum then recruited acquaintance Rodney Anonymous and the pair immediately set about unlearning everything they had previously learned about music and spending countless hours screaming at inanimate objects.
In 1982 bassist Dave Blood was added to the group after impressing Talcum and Anonymous with his ability to cover passing vehicles with ketchup. Shortly afterward, and entirely against his own will and better judgment, drummer Dean Clean joined the band.
In 1985, the band, or “The Dead Milkmen” as they were now known, released their debut album “Big Lizard in My Backyard” which was instantly declared “The greatest cultural achievement of our time” (by the band themselves). Big Lizard was followed by “Eat Your Paisley” in 1986 and “Bucky Fellini” in 1987.
The hit single “Punk Rock Girl” from the Dead Milkmen’s 1988 release “Beelzebubba” opened many doors to mainstream success, which the band then purposely set about slamming shut in the faces of anyone who used the term “Market Penetration” in a non-sexual sense. Two years later, the Milkmen followed up “Beelzebubba” with “Metaphysical Graffiti”; a work which is universally regarded as “a CD you can buy if you’ve got roughly eleven dollars”.
Bored and looking to “do something different that didn’t include sacrificing a goat”, the band then began recording “Soul Rotation” (1992). Although critically acclaimed as a brilliant recording (again, by the band themselves), sales were disappointing and the band returned to shoplifting.
1993’s “Not Richard, But Dick” saw the band return to form and to arguing with each other…loudly…mostly in public places …like restaurants, and so the band agreed that 1995’s “Stoney’s Extra Stout (Pig)” would be their final recording unless “some idiot hands us a %$#@load of money to record another CD.” Tragically, for the Milkmen’s bank accounts, the idiot with the money was killed by a polar bear at the Kiev Municipal Zoo.
In March of 2004, bassist Dave Blood decided to fake his own death for artistic reasons. Today he lives in a remote Serbian village with his wives and innumerable offspring. Suffering from the loss of Blood, it appeared that the Milkmen would never reunite, let alone reform, or even band together again.
In 2008 the band reunited, with bassist Dan Stevens on bass, playing the bass, in order to play Austin TX’s Fun Fun Fun Fest (temporarily renamed from “Fun Fun Fun Fun Fest” because “It’ll be a little less fun with the Dead Milkmen there.”)
2011’s release of “The King in Yellow” – the Milkmen’s first release in sixteen years – was at once declared a seamless continuation of their earlier work…in that it’s a CD you can buy if you’ve got roughly eleven dollars.
In the autumn of 2012 the Dead Milkmen began releasing a series of singles on the should-be-by-now-obsolete 7 inch vinyl format in an obvious attempt to appeal to a younger “hipster” audience. Despite mounting evidence that the singles are failing to expand their fan base, the obstinate Milkmen have continued to produce them, with eight “sides” already released.
Jump to the autumn of 2014 and we now find the Milkmen have assembled the singles songs plus six additional new recordings into a complete album package entitled “Pretty Music For Pretty People.” It’s a CD you can buy if you’ve got roughly eleven dollars.
Additionally, in a desperate ploy to appeal to the still stubborn vinyl fetishist, the they have put a “special” collection of the six new tunes and three of the “C-Sides” previously only released digitally into a limited edition vinyl version of the album entitled “Pretty Music For Pretty SPECIAL People”. Clever huh? “Special”…get it?
The band continues to sell their music via an online order form on their web site at deadmilkmen.com.