Interview: Doctor Noize
by Yosi, Indie Kids Rock & acclaimed family musician
Cory Cullinan, AKA Doctor Noize, is the freshest new face & sound in kindie rock today… but don’t let the rookie status fool you. His first release, The Ballad of Phineas McBoof, is no flavor of the week. It’s a musical & narrative rock opera that is surprisingly one of the best children’s CD’s of the year!
(Mind you, I don’t make that sort of claim lightly. Last year I said Justin Robert’s Meltdown was one of the best CD’s, & boy, was it ever!…also many others “seemed to” agree.)
How did he do it? Let’s find out…
1) Are you a real doctor? A noisy doctor? Or a Doc of Noize?
Phineas is the one who named me Doctor Noize. So I am a real Doctor without a Doctorate. I would not recommend hiring me to perform surgery on you. I cannot fill prescriptions, so please don’t ask, although I will tell you that fruit is very, very yummy and can, in fact, solve many physical, mental and emotional ills. I do not have an advanced degree. However, I am an expert of sorts in music, and yes, I am very, very noizy. Also, make sure you drink lots of water. It makes you pee a lot, but it’s worth it.
2) My kids & I love the story. I was amazed at how it kept them quiet in the car for the entire disc. How did you come up with the story? Did it come to you in a dream?
First of all, I’d like to say that you and your kids are obviously insane, which is perfect, because that is precisely my demographic. Second of all, you shouldn’t leave your kids in the car like that when you go shopping, even if they do like the disc. And thirdly, the story is 100% true, so I really consider myself more of a historian/documentarian than a traditional storyteller. Okay, fine, maybe it’s not 100% true — for example, truth be told I have never actually met a bass playing hippo. Like most of us, I have met many fine hippo flautists, but never one that played the bass. So I admit there was a little creative leeway with Bottomus The Hip Popotamus. But most of the other stuff is true, except for the stuff that isn’t. And yes, I dream about the International Band Of Misunderstood Geniuses all the time — for example, I have a nightmare that Bottomus mistakes me for a chair.
3) What was the inspiration for the song “Banana“?
Phineas McBoof composed the art song, “Banana,” as an ode to his true love — which is, not coincidentally, the common banana. Phineas is, in fact, a master chef of banana delicacies, creating new and unique dishes featuring all forms of the great banana, including the Common Yellow Banana, the Ridiculously Ripe Green Bananas Of Melamango, and the Pink Flaming Bananas Of Mars.
4) Phineas: How did you learn to play the guitar & sing?
Phineas here… I taught myself how to play guitar. I was assisted by a bright yellow book called “Playing Guitar For Munkies.” Like most hairy musicians, initially I learned guitar to impress the lady monkeys. Then I started impressing myself, which was scary. And eventually I became more interested in the music than the monkettes, which was even scarier. How did that happen? I don’t know.
5) How can one join The International Band of Misunderstood Geniuses? Is there a waiting list? Do you have to send an essay in triplicate?
If you have some sort of misunderstood genius — and let’s face it, most of us creative types do — than you are already an honorary member of The International Band Of Misunderstood Geniuses. I played my CD launch show last Saturday, and I was shocked at how many honorary band members were out there in the audience. They really know how to sing and shake their booties. In order to officially join the band, you gotta be there when the band passes through your kingdom, and you gotta be ready to perform when the opportunity arises. And you’re up for it. Sometimes Phineas and I invite new members to join — new members are generally people who are totally dedicated to their art and talent, even when those around them just don’t understand the greatness of what they do. Phineas is great at spotting unheralded talent, and you got it, baby, you got it. Concerning your other excellent questions… There is no official waiting list, and the essays actually have to be written in Sanskrit. So, needless to say, we don’t get many essay submissions, and the ones we get, we can’t read.
6) What can one expect at a live show?
If the full band shows up — especially Bottomus and the monsters — you can expect a show performed by a band consisting of more tonnage than other bands you’ve seen. At my solo shows, you can expect to see me singing, dancing, and shaking my booty like a funkomatic maniac. You can also expect to see me performing songs from my CD and playing keyboards, guitars, percussion, saxophone, and kazoo. And you can count on one or two songs being arranged and recorded live on the spot using some totally boffo wowza technology that Riley The Robot developed for me. Kids get to come up onstage and contribute their own vocals to the mix. The next day, kids, parents, teachers, old ladies and robots alike can download the song(s) we created together from the Doctor Noize website. But above all else, there is one stone cold rule at Doctor Noize shows, and that is that there will be absolutely no silliness or fun having. Music is a serious business, and these are serious times. Hey — somebody get that rubber chicken out of my office! Sorry, I got distracted there, what were we talking about?…
7) This disc is part 1 of two(?) or a trilogy(?). What can we look forward to in the next disc?
Okay Yosi, I am going to spill the beans a little bit here, because I know we are both fellow family musicians, we take what we do very seriously, we are adherents of the Secret Family Musician Codes Of Secrecy, and you would never, ever post this private conversation between the two of us on your web for all to read, for example, on your blog. So I will now reveal to you Three Top Secret Thingz that occur in the next recording and book:
(1) We learn how I became Doctor Noize and joined The International Band Of Misunderstood Geniuses. It is not a flattering story, but it must be told.
(2) We are properly introduced to Sidney The Beak (the rapping songbird) and I Tre Tenori (Luciano Frogerati, José The Ferret, and Placido Flamingo), who, they themselves cannot help but admit, are the world’s greatest singers.
(3) Spoiler Alert!!!… We finally get to hear The World’s Greatest Song, recorded live at its debut performance, which the band spent countless hours and months composing together. The song makes most listeners go crazy with excitement, which causes its own set of problems…
Thanks, Cory…err Doctor Noize, for a great disc & interview. Here’s wishing you success.
Enjoy folks…