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Joseph and the Bear Hat (February 2020) - Neon Pegasus



I was vaguely aware of Nerf Herder in the late 90s—not because they composed the theme for Buffy the Vampire Slayer (a series I wouldn't watch until 2017), but because their track "Sorry" was included in an issue of CMJ, a monthly music trade I read voraciously during that time. The March 1997 disc might be my favorite because it also featured "Battle Of Who Could Care Less," which is how I discovered Ben Folds. And who doesn't need Ben Folds in their day?



"Sorry" was...OK. Catchy enough, I suppose, but that's as far as it went.

Fifteen years later, I was sitting in a cruise ship auditorium, waiting for a concert to begin. T'was my first time attending the floating con that would soon rewrite my entire life, and where I would see Nerf Herder perform a handful of years later.

But in 2012, I was simply enjoying the bumper music. As I bobbed my head self-consciously, a fresh song pumped out of the speakers, and I quickly found myself befuddled.

Here Comes The Hoagie Man
Hoagiefest is here again
Up in the sky, he'll be here soon
Floatin' into town in his hoagie balloon


It turned out that Nerf Herder's vocalist, Parry Gripp, had written not one song celebrating Wawa's Hoagiefest, but an entire EP about Wawa's natural ingredients and delicious deals for $2.99. He'd penned a seemingly-endless number of short, somewhat infectious songs describing things he'd seen on YouTube, as well as the theme to Paul and Storm's webseries Learning Town. And about 394,000 other projects.

As I waded through his YouTube playlist, one song stuck out. "Neon Pegasus" weaves a mostly-nonsensical tale of space battles on Cupcake Mountain, a Gummy King, robot octopi, and a salamander with George Clooney's face. It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, not the most serious of compositions.

And yet, for me, it's a powerful song because it recalls a very specific place and time that I remember as being furiously hopeful, to amend a phrase from The Bloggess.

Never again to be lonely
Never again to be without a home
Never to bow to the Gummy King's throne
Never again /  Never again
Never again to be put down
By the marzipan girl at the silver lake lounge
Soaring over it all, high up in the clouds
Never again /  Never again

"Someday, I'll cover that," I told myself repeatedly over the years, only to quickly select something else instead.

A few weeks ago, during a conversation about hedgehogs, @macaronique mentioned Parry Gripp and I became distracted. I figured the song was due.



******

Original artist: Parry Gripp
Guitars: Joseph Camann
Bass: Joseph Camann
Keys: Joseph Camann
Vocals: Joseph Camann
Drum track by a lovely free backing track YouTube account whose name I've lost
Mixing: Mostly Sean Lake (with a little bit Joseph Camann)

Image: Nebula Media 

****

LYRICS

Spread your wings, Neon Pegasus
And go flying through the night
They can take your glitter,
But they can't take away your sparkle

And the thousand-armed robot octopus
Will try to grab your golden reins
But your wings are strong from the battle
Over Cupcake Mountain

Never again to be lonely
Never again to be without a home
Never to bow to the Gummy King's throne
Never again, never again!

Never again to be put down
By the Marzipan Girl at the Silverlake Lounge
Soaring over it all, high up in the clouds
Never again, never again

Yeeeeeeaah!
When I first saw you defeating the Gummy King's gluten-powered
Armada in the darkness of space, I knew you were no ordinary pegasus!

Unbreak your heart, Neon Pegasus
And go climbing through the stars
Out there with your dreams
Your sparkly dreams

And the genetically modified salamander
With a face just like George Clooney
Can't track you down with
the Rockabilly Worm from Spaceland

Never again to be lonely
Never again to be without a home
Never to bow to the Gummy King's throne
Never again, never again

Never again to be put down
By the Marzipan Girl at the Silver Lake Lounge
Soaring over it all, high up in the clouds
Never again, never again

No matter how insane and ridiculous they seem, you must follow your dreams!

****

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