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On-Stage Zoo : It's anarchy with a beat. There's nothing quite like the Dycondras anywhere.


Imagine Stanky Poozle on guitar dressed as a nun.

Imagine Petrifilo on bass dressed like King Kong in a clown suit, only smaller and without Fay Wray.

Imagine the Rev. Illrad on drums dressed as the devil.

Imagine Zoid (Elbow) Zweetie on vocals and keyboards looking like a big rat after too much radiation.

Imagine Lymus Z'Pupu on second guitar and vocals dressed like a cow.

Imagine yet another band that can't spell. Hey, it's the Dycondras.

And are these guys ugly. They all wear masks. Well, I hope they do. And the nun really shreds on guitar, playing it every conceivable angle (must be that bungee cord guitar strap); riding it like a surfboard, playing it with a hook and other appendages from the joke store, wearing tennis shoes, jumping rope.

And that's a mighty homely looking cow--orange hair on its head. And sometimes he yodels. And that big rat with the long tail and the red bow tie and sunglasses dances pretty well for a giant rodent, at least until he shoots all the other band members at the end of their last song, "Manic Depressive." And Kong the Clown and the devil, well, what else is there to say?

It's all very weird, very surreal and very loud. The band practices in a warehouse in Ventura near a boat fix-it place. Whether or not the boat people are ready to torpedo these bozos is unclear at this point. The Dycondras are louder than a dozen Jackie Gleasons stubbing their toes. It's like Ernie Kovacs as a band. It's anarchy with a beat. It's a zoo. It's a circus. It's a movie--"The Hood, the Rat and the Ugly."

And the basic Dycondras song is over before you get tired of it. The band may start out with some sort of metal tune, switch into the theme from "Hawaii Five-0," do a little "Wipeout," maybe the theme from "Perry Mason" or "Pop Goes the Weasel." There's also some rap, a lot of rock and who knows what else? The vocal jokes come fast and furious, almost as fast as the chord changes. They don't always work, but just wait a minute.

The band, with this particular lineup, has been around for only a few months and has played only three local gigs. But already the Dycondras have joined Raging Arb & the Redheads, Lion I's and Spencer the Gardener as one of the best-drawing local bands.

The Dycondras will be upstairs at Club Soda in downtown Ventura on Monday night. There's no football anymore, and there's nothing quite like this anywhere. And the band members, whoever they are, are all county locals. In a brain-numbing interview, they discussed the life and times of their weird selves.

Why can't you guys spell dichondra?

The Big Rat: Does INXS spell it out?

The Clown: We spell it the way it sounds. We don't want people to get confused.

The Cow: We were almost the Gardeners From Hell.

The Big Rat: Or the Projectiles.

How did all this--whatever it is--get started?

The Cow: It started as a totally different thing. We were going to do a Cheech and Chong comedy rock thing at first. We used to have all these clowns and dancing girls from Snooky's, but eventually they all wanted money. Me and that Big Rat did a recording--we thought we'd get a distribution deal.

The Big Rat: We were legends in our own rooms.

The Cow: This band has been together for five months. We've played about 10 gigs so far, but only three in the county. But we've got several coming up.

Describe Dycondras music.

The Nun: It's Al Jolson meets Tiny Tim and Bugs Bunny at PeeWee Herman's House.

The Clown: And Megadeth.

The Devil: It's like going around the radio dial.

The Nun: We play the hottest speed polka of anyone on Earth.

Are you guys wearing masks?

The Clown: It's great because nobody knows who we are.

The Big Rat: We rehearse in our masks. You become the character. I've walked around in the crowd after shows with my mask off and listened to people talk about us. Our characters are just extensions of ourselves.

The Nun: Yeah, and I always had fantasies of being a nun.

The Devil: It would be great if we were sponsored by Pic 'N' Save and Bonnie's (a local costume shop). Do you want to know how we do it?

Do I have a choice?

The Devil: One time, we cut out this big ol' piece of black plastic, cut five holes in it and made a giant centipede. We had five heads, 10 legs and a thousand free tickets to give away.

The Cow: We give away free tickets to our shows at Club Soda, then the club pays us two bucks for each person that turns in a ticket at the show. Another time, I was wearing my mask and got kicked out of Bombay's.

The Big Rat: That's because the bouncers were mad because they couldn't take their masks off.

How much is a good cow suit these days?

The Cow: About 35 bucks.

The Devil: You know, Dweezil Zappa is wearing a cow suit now.

What do the other bands think of you guys?

The Big Rat: I'd like to open for Devo, or any idiot band, for that matter.

The Devil: I hate other bands. I hate music.

The Nun: Actually, we could play with anybody, any time. We'd open for anybody--we'd play at Vons, Pic 'N' Save, anywhere. A lot of other bands are up there saying, "Look at me." Not us--we're just putting on a show. Nobody even knows who we are, so we're not blowing our own horn.

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