It seems fitting that a New Jersey resident should have to travel to San Francisco to record a Grateful Dead satire. On The White EP, Joe Pop-O-Pie and his cohorts offer two devolved versions (rap and punk) of “Truckin’,” along with four other supposed sidesplitters like “Timothy Leary Lives” and “The Catholics Are Attacking.” Unfortunately, while the group shows multilateral musical aptitude and a certain lyrical wit, the EP ceases to be funny after one or two spins.
The six-song Joe’s Second Record, believe it or not, takes yet a third swipe at that Dead chestnut. Otherwise, Joe raps (“Industrial Rap”) and even waxes political (“A Political Song”), showing off both his wit and his wisdom.
Joe’s Third Record — a full album at last — clearly announces “There are no Truckin’s on this record.” Instead, Joe and some pickup Pies turn to “Sugar Magnolia,” as well as “I Am the Walrus” (“recorded 1st take live with no overdubs and includes all the mistakes”). Although parts of the record run backwards, the music itself is plenty disorienting; Kirk Heydt’s amazingly hyperkinetic noise guitar work is an extremist delight that almost elbows Joe’s plainspoken wit (“Bummed Out Guy,” “Shut Up and Listen”) and ragged singing off the record. A cool slice of strangeness.