Dagobert's Revenge

The Pros

Creativity * Common Sense * Confidence

I first heard about The Pros when I worked as an intern at Portland Cable Access about two years ago. Someone had left about seven of their Homespun Music tapes lying around in the edit suite, and they ended up in the Lost and Found. I took them with the intention of taping over them. I brought them over to my friends house to dub some of his CDs, and as I was copying over a tape called A Blue Cheese Sampler, I accidentally stopped the recording and heard a few moments of Goin Down Sweet Jesus. I decided to stop what I was doing and actually listen to the Pro tapes. I had about four left, and I must admit, I thought they were pretty atrocious - all except Tulips & Onions. Ever since I heard the song Classy Lady, the perfect theme song for a 007 parody, I've been a fan for life, and the rest of the album was pretty amazing too, full of catchy, clever, inside-jokery and songs from just about every imaginable style that were all slightly off, both musically and lyrically. In addition to the aforementioned item, it included a sad tribute to a girl on Death Row, an attempt at thrash metal sung by a Jamaican rapper, an existential love song, a fake folk duet that whinely questions existence, and a 15-minute acoustic medley, all sung in some made-up language except for the word coffee. Then theres a song that sounds like a spoof on an Easter Seals telethon, sung retard-style, that proudly proclaims: I am living! / I tell you I am living! / I enjoy life / each and every day / Thanks to you all / I can spread the news that / Having cancer / Dont mean you have to die!" There were also a number of excellent covers: Whats New Pussycat, Ring of Fire, These Boots are Made for Walkin, Tequila, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and Johnny B. Goode.

After hearing Tulips and Onions, I played it for all of my family and friends, and all agreed that whoever was responsible for this creation had both comic and musical genius. I wished I could meet them so I could find out why they were doing this and just what was wrong with them, mentally, I mean. Finally, when I started putting this issue together, I contacted them and asked if I could do an interview. They seemed very surprised that they actually had a fan and were somewhat reluctant to even be publicized. The man I spoke to, who first introduced himself as Harry Smith and later confessed him name was Jim, told me that the Pros are actually three guys living in Portland, Chicago, and Amsterdam who send home-recorded songs to each other (kind of like trading postcards, he said), which later get mixed into compilation albums. He also told me that Harry Smith is really a folk singer they admire who was a high priest in the O.T.O. I sent them some of the articles that would appear in Dagoberts Revenge, just so they would know what it was like, and in return I received a delightful package filled with all sorts of goodies: A CD, a video, posters, drawings, bumper stickers. and a pamphlet from the Masonic Information Center on What's a Mason? The CD, called American Robot, consists mostly of Beckian hip-hop, yknow: lotsa samples, lotsa noise, lotsa record-scratching, lotsa weird-ass lyrics. The song list includes: Baby Robot, Robots Sister, Musty American Medication, Young Americans, American Dolphin, American Rocket, American Daughter, Cunt Tree Robot, Summerwine + the American Robot, Cheriots of American Fire and Within the American Robot. The video, Animal Charm, put out by a Portland production company called Peripheral Produce (doubtless affiliated with the Pro who lives there), features some quality copyright violations, tastefully selected and stuck together to make strange vignettes involving animals in the wild and soccer moms getting makeovers. Although some of the looped footage went on too long and lost its animal charm, for the most part the repetition was hilarious and only reinforced the joke. The pictures would be useless to describe. Youll just have to see for yourself. If youd like to get some of this stuff for your very own, write for a free catalogue to:

The Pros
2925 W. Logan Blvd., 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL, 60647

Review by Tracy Twyman

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