Okee dokee folks… Back in July I was invited to open for the band The Fools in New Hampshire. I thought it an odd pairing but I took the gig nonetheless. I remembered the band from the early 80’s and loved their songs “Psycho Chicken”- a “Weird Al-esque” spoof of the Talking Heads’, “Psycho Killer”, and the country parody, “Life Sucks Then You Die”. The 80’s was a long time ago and I didn’t remember much more so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I loved the show! It was fun, entertaining and lead singer, Mike Girard has an amazing voice besides and is pretty damn funny on stage!. Check out some of their videos on YouTube. Go ahead, do it now, I’ll wait… See, I told you they were good! When I found out The Fools were playing at The Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket on Friday September 24 at 8pm, I contacted singer Mike Girard to talk about their upcoming return to RI.
We started the conversation talking about some of The Fools’ earlier gigs at Lupo’s and when they opened for Rush at the Providence Civic Center. Girard continued with stories about touring with Van Halen.
Mike Girard: It was our second national tour. We got got signed onto the Van Halen ‘We Don’t Fuck Around’ tour… We did 36 cities in North America, it was just a blast…
MG: But David Lee Roth didn’t like us. About two weeks into the tour VH’s road manager came to us and said ‘David doesn’t want you talking to the audience anymore because that is what he does’. Then a couple of days later the road manager came to us again and said ‘David doesn’t want you jumping off the drum riser anymore because that is what he does’. About halfway through the tour our deli platter disappeared and we no longer got soundchecks. And the juxtaposition to this was Eddie Van Halen, he had just met Valerie Bertinelli and she was along for the tour. You would see them sitting backstage and there were little heart balloons over their heads and Eddie would be ‘How’s it going, man, how’s it going?’ and I didn’t want to ruin his perfect day and tell him how it was really going. It was stunning to watch Eddie play. He would have these looks on his face like he couldn’t believe what he was playing either… Overall it was a great, great time… We were going to have our homecoming at the Boston Garden and they fired us from the tour four days before the show… It was a great experience and it didn’t kill us.
We talked about the song “Psycho Chicken” and Mike told me that at one point the Talking Heads actually dropped “Psycho Killer” from their set because so many people were clucking during the beginning of the song.
MG: I was with a couple of friends. “That song ‘Psycho Killer’ came on and I just started making chicken noises. Within five minutes the song was written. We were playing it in a club in Newburyport and a DJ from WBCN was there and he said, ‘If I had a cassette of that I would play it’, so that is what we did. Within a very short time we were getting heavy airplay and had no record contract. We were getting the same amount of airplay as Michael Jackson and Led Zeppelin!
Mike told me that he in fact did write the Fools’ songs but I was curious if he played an instrument and what the process was.
John Fuzek (Motif): “I know that you play the toilet seat guitar (you have to see the show) but do you actually play guitar?” His reply, “God, no, that’s what the other band members do! I’ll get a melody in my head and then I’ll write lyrics to it. Initially I would just go hum it to Rich, my guitar player, and he’d say, ‘ok, that’s a C, ok, that’s a D’ and that is how we worked it out…then I got one of those little organs that tell you what chords you are playing.” I told him “as long as it works, that’s the important thing.”
MG: I always felt that I was writing songs for the character that I am in the band. It’s me up there, of course, but the guy that is up there never has any troubles. Everything goes perfectly in his life and if it doesn’t, he doesn’t know that that is happening because he’s a fool
MG: We’ve all had trouble in the band at one point or another- a death in the family or someone in the band is playing with a ruptured Achilles tendon-which was me by the way…having that person to become was a saving grace…when your job is to go and have fun it’s a really nice job description…you try to become the bigger, wilder, more fun version persona of yourself when you’re doing it.
Girard mentioned that he is now 72 years old, though if you saw a Fools’ show you would never know it
MG: It’s the energy of the audience. Some nights you’re just like a puppet on a string. The energy of the audience is making you bounce, making you dance, the unplanned kind of movements and the expressions> People show up expecting a good time and that’s the first step in making it happen!”
JF: What can folks expect at your September 24th show at the Stadium Theatre?
MG: Let me think. The shock, the awe. Five knuckleheads go whiz bombing. The band lets me climb out on a limb and then decides whether to join me there or cut the limb off. And I will bring the adult props…
Like I said,The Fools present a FUN and truly ENTERTAINING show. Whether you know all their songs, one song or no songs at all you are going to have a great time. Don’t miss out!
If you have not yet been to The Stadium Theatre this show is a perfect time to check it out. It is a beautiful theatre in the heart of Woonsocket with ample parking behind the building. Woonsocket is just a quick ten minute drive up 146 from Providence. You really have no excuse not to go! “Doo Wah Diddy” yourself a favor and get to this show! Also coming up at The Stadium: The Femmes of Rock, Stayin’ Alive Bee Gees Tribute, Sara Evans Acoustic Trio, Elton John Tribute, The Outlaws with Corky Laing’s Mountain, and many, many other shows… For more, cluck on over to: StadiumTheatre.com
That’s it for now, thanks for reading. www.JohnFuzek.com