If there was ever a present that solidified my (soon-to-be) wife’s mucho coolness/badassness, it would be the gifting of Tonetta’s 777 vinly/CD combo that she gave your’s truly a few weeks ago on my bee-day.
Ripping the paper back, I saw the lone porcelain babydoll mask from hell on the front and nearly blew a gasket. Yay! She pays attention!
Thanks again, honey. . . (and to Hot Dog, the best little music shop in London, Ont. – the mecca for fans of the odd, obscure or unknown. If you’re ever in the neighbourhood, look out for the homemade neon signage – you won’t be disappointed!)
Now to the man –
Tonetta is Tony Jeffrey.
He’s Canadian and you should know he has a devoted online cult fan base; all due to his throbbing dance routines, homemade rock-n-fuzz-n-funk-n-roll hybrids, and his largely unknown personality.
It’s that quasi-WTFness that originally drew me in; then I heard him sing – instant fan!
Apparently he’s been home-recording for 30 years or so, and writes everything from pretty descriptive BDSM tales to songs about divorce and drugs. Real honest stuff. . . .
Some people talk about other honest artists, but I bet dollars to donuts, Bob Dylan doesn’t have the stones to prance around cross dressing in a plastic mask and wig to Maggie’s Farm.
If you’re so inclined, you can find umpteen videos of him done up in face paint, near-nude, lip-syncing along with his songs. But be warned, upon first viewing you might be tempted to consult your better judgement and just hide. . . and I wouldn’t blame you, but just wait and you’ll see that under his baby-oiled exterior lays the fearless mind of a really original artist.
Now to the record –
Simply put, it’s great. It’s what needs to be sought out more; that kind of scary bizarre, not really fitting any kind of genre art. I guess you’d include him in the outsider section, but that’s based purely on aesthetic. Really, at the heart of Tonetta, is a guy lightyears ahead of everyone else, ignoring tradition and making what he wants. Some songs have similar drum loops and BPMS, or, as my (soon-to-be) wife put it, “Didn’t we already hear this?” . . . Pffft, no! He probably only has one drum machine. . . and, jeez, haven’t you ever heard of the blues? All that shit sounds the same.
Stand out tracks would be ‘My Bro’, the lead-off single that proves to be not only danceable but depressing as well – like if Hot Chip met Tom Waits, then drank all night with Elliot Smith.
‘Still A Slave’ is definitely a repeater (and in a better world, would be considered country music) as well as the insanely crafted ‘John and Yoko’, a lovely-slash-odd song featuring guitars riffs that a lot of bands wish they could write. ‘I’m Going to Marry a Prostitute’ and ‘Drugs Drugs Drugs’ add to the greatness of this record.
It’s a fact – Tonetta is the Godfather of Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll and Sex.