New Duncan Imperials

  • New Duncan Imperials
  • Feelin' Sexy! EP7 (Pravda) 1990 
  • Hanky Panky Parley Voo! (Pravda) 1990 
  • The Hymns of Bucksnort (Pravda) 1991 
  • Live, Rare and Bad (Pravda) 1992 
  • Loserville (Pravda) 1993 
  • We're in a Band EP (Pravda) 1993 
  • TheNew Duncan Imperials Live! (Pravda) 1995 

Launched as the humorous alter ego to Chicago’s more serious (and more defunct) Service, the pseudonymous New Duncan Imperials (singer/guitarist Pigtail Dick, drummer Goodtime and bassist Skipper, aka Kenn Goodman, entrepreneur of the city’s Pravda label) cobble together a woolly mixture of country rock, Midwest power pop and similar energetic guitar vehicles, all in the hopes of acting silly and getting away with it. The rambunctious 23-song Hanky Panky Parley Voo! offers cheap jokes like “I’m Schizophrenic (No I’m Not),” scattershot satire (“Jimi Page Loves Country”), covers of Buck Owens, Hank Williams and Hasil Adkins, trashy romance (“6-Pack of Love”) and celebrations of essential consumer products (“J├Ągermeister” and “Velour!”).

Like the debut, The Hymns of Bucksnort is good, silly party fun — only the jokes are thin, the mud-wallowing targets entirely too predictable. With gimmicky genre digressions, the sophomoric sophomore album yoyos between cornpone country and mild punk, from a cruel cover of the Webb Pierce-popularized “There Stands the Glass” to the twelve-second softcore puzzle of “Wing Dosso.” Rooting around the scrapheap of society, the trio goofs on food (“Chef of the Future,” “Baloney,” “Chili Pie,” “Gizzards, Scrapple & Tripe”), shelter (“Home Sweet Mobile Home”), work (“$65 an Hour”), entertainment (“White Trash Boogie,” “Throw Up Waltz”) and romance (“Mystery Date,” “Has Anybody Seen My Gal?”) in numbers that are exactly as entertaining as their titles.

Originally cassette-only but ultimately slapped on CD as well, Live, Rare, and Bad is an assemblage of concert tunes, radio interviews, an unaired 7-Eleven commercial, etc.

Loserville gathers the Duncans into a more concerted, ambitious outfit, farting around with more maturity (although “Turkey Neck” has a certain Ween-y air to it…), focusing mostly on rock and setting its eye-poking vocals less conspicuously into fast dinkmetal punk-pop and related stylings. “Tilt-a-Whirl” is a genuinely good song; “If I Liked You” could pass for same if not for rude lyrics and such lowbrow neighbors as “Ugly Stick,” “Clock in My Pocket” and “Shitload of Kissin’.” Although the hick-pop of “Running With a Fork in My Mouth” and the adolescent anxieties of “Haircut and New Shoes” sound like Bucksnort leftovers, borrowing Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual” for a garish horn-wearing cover gives Loserville an undeniable sexual undertow.

Probably inspired by their participation in Pravda’s goofy K-Tel tribute series (which includes 20 Explosive Dynamic Super Smash Hit Explosions! and Super Fantastic Mega Smash Hits), the Duncs cut We’re in a Band, a theme-night covers EP containing the trio’s renditions of Grand Funk’s “We’re an American Band,” Boston’s “Rock & Roll Band,” Creedence’s “Travelin’ Band,” Wings’ “Band on the Run” and the Moody Blues’ “I’m Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band).” Must have been a boring summer in Chicago…

The live album was recorded at a show in late ’93 and contains renditions of fifteen NDI numbers, including “Home Sweet Mobile Home,” “Running With a Fork in My Mouth” and “Rock & Roll Band.”

[Ira Robbins]