Superman Revenge Squad - Superman Revenge Squad - This is my own personal way of dealing with it all
Bill Cummings 01/10/2008
Superman Revenge Squad is the alter ego of Croydon's talented songwriter Ben Parker. He used to be in Nosferatu D2, and GIITTV zine thinks that he's an absolute modern day genius (although he's far too modest to think it). So much so that earlier this year: we released his track 'Idiot Food' as a free download, accompanied by two B sides -'Angriest Dog In The World' and 'Everyone's Dead' through our singles club.
His new album 'This is my own personal way of dealing with it all'(which you can buy now for only three pounds) features eleven tracks drenched in his own unique view of the world, shot through with modern city melancholia, break-ups, post-modern references to everything from Nick Drake, Nick Hornby, Brewster's Millions, Vanilla Ice, Metallica and New Order. To obvious song title references to Will Oldham, Kevin Rowland and Rupert Pupkin, Robert De Niro's character in the King Of Comedy.
But it's his unique delivery that see's him towering above the wannabes, his songs conveying the loneliness of concrete jungles with an overarching self deprecation. He constructs intricate personal imagery, switching from desolate sighs to pointed streams of consciousness using modern examples to explain personal feelings. His work falls somewhere between the personal introspection of Arab Strap and the anti folk strum of Jefferey Lewis. His lyrics are funny and tragic, personal and polemic, touching and thought provoking. In short he's one of the most exciting and orginal singer songwriters(although we all hate the term) in a long time.
Having managed to catch up with Ben here's track guide through his debut solo album by the man himself:
1. idiot food - This is about a few things I guess: I used to bump into a friend of mine in Somerfields and he was single and I was in a relationship and his shopping basket was always filled with crap, economy frozen pizzas and stuff, and mine was full of good stuff like fresh fruit and veg. Then I split up with my girlfriend and he got a girlfriend and I'd bump into him and I'd be the one with the crap in the basket. The songs about that, but kind of comparing that to the rubbish you eat when you're on tour - I can quite clearly remember an interview with, I think, James Hetfield from Metallica where he says that he's tired of touring and eating idiot food - and, obviously, it's also about splitting up with someone and moving out and splitting up the CDs. And imagining myself on Jools Holland as well, of course.
2. i'm gonna go to bed and when i wake up i'm gonna be someone else - Sometimes you reach a point in your life where you just want to start again; one last night of drinking and feeling sorry for yourself and then waking up to a year zero state again.
3. the angriest dog in the world - The angriest dog in the world is a comic strip that David Lynch used to do for a newspaper - it featured the same three frames showing a dog tied up and not moving but with different thought balloons coming out of him. I started the first few lines about the cartoon dog, but then the song turned into being about something else. I don't think of it being about a dog at all now, more about a certain type of quite bad slightly abusive relationship where one of the people have too much power and the other one puts up with it.
4. captain non-entity - On Last.fm at one point you could look up the page for Nick Drake and there was a girl saying that she wished she had a time machine so that she could go back in time and “cure Nick of his shyness”. I read this and kind of imagined Nick Drake back stage with a load of terrible groupies and over-the-top pop stars and that kind of lead onto me writing this song about a superhero that is good at being a superhero but no good at socialising or talking to girls. There is a connection, I think.
5. will oldham sang to me - Arise, Therefore by the Palace Brothers is one of my favourite records ever, and the first line of it is quoted in the first line of this song - “How can anyone think anything is permanent”. I argue that it can, and then imagine breaking up with someone, the break up turning into a Nick Hornby-esque Romantic comedy and my life being re-located from Croydon to somewhere like New York, to make it seem more interesting and glamorous. It's the second song in the “Croydon Trilogy” that I wrote - the first one's “When Everyone's Dead”, which was on the GIITTV down-load single, and the third one will probably be on another CD I make sometime in the future.
6. kevin Rowland - A little tribute to Kevin Rowland and Dexys Midnite Runners, sad at the fact that most people only know them for one song and one song only, and, more generally, about doing something and then regretting it for ages after - there are things that haunt you ten years after you've done them, creep into your mind sometimes when you're trying to sleep.
7. woman hating internet pornography -About a teenage boy trying to comes to terms with who he is and wrestling with the fact that he likes Sonic Youth, considers himself a feminist, but he also likes internet pornography.
8. pupkin - Sometimes me trying to do anything in the music industry just makes me feel like Rupert Pupkin, Robert De Niro's character in the King Of Comedy, and this with recently made more apparent when I gave a CD of my songs to Jeffery Lewis at a gig at the Windmill in Brixton and had a really awkward conversation with him. The song also sounds like I'm slagging off Billy Corgan a bit, but I think I was just just flicking through old lyrics and thoughts that I wrote years ago and reminded of the first time I was ever stood up by a girl, which was the day I brought Disarm by the Smashing Pumpkins on CD single. So I'm probably just bitter. At one point the song was going to be called “Smashing Pupkins”, but I decided it sounded a bit crap.
9. this is a happy song - Someone complained that my songs were all too depressing, so I tried to write a happy one, originally intended to be a bit like “Reasons to be cheerful” by Ian Dury. I think I failed and it sounds as sad as ever. But I like the song anyway.
10. you be a friend, i'll be a friend to you - I started writing this originally about the German cannibal that ate that bloke off the internet, and the relationship between the two, but I think just so that it gave me the opportunity to talk about that on stage. It's now about being in love so much that you forget who you are and make a fool of yourself.
11. joe concedes ultimate defeat by blowing his face skywards with a shotgun - The title comes from a line from songs in the key of Z - the book about outsider musicians - in a bit about Joe Meek - but it's not about Joe Meek especially, more about the idea of death. Everyone's scared of death aren't they?