Thursday, January 4, 2007

Barnes and Barnes


Barnes & Barnes deserves to be mentioned for two reasons. The first is their completly unique video Fish Heads. No way would MTV play a video such as this nowdays, but back then, back at the beginning of MTV, Fish Heads got alot of air time. Secondly Barnes & Barnes is listed because the the clothing worn in the Fish Heads video screams 80's more then almost any other video out there (right down to the plastic trash bags).

Barnes & Barnes, consisting of fictional twin brothers Art & Artie Barnes, were a "novelty rock" duo based in Lumania, a fictional mythological civilization (similar to Lemuria or Atlantis). The "novelty rock" genre is named as such because most of their music is standard rock or pop music with heavy comedy elements. Their real-life alter egos, Robert Haimer and Bill Mumy, are based in Los Angeles, California, USA. Mumy is also well known for playing Will Robinson in the TV series Lost in Space and Lennier in "Babylon 5."

Barnes & Barnes formed in 1970. Robert Haimer and Bill Mumy were childhood friends who occasionally jammed together on their musical instruments. Around 1968, they would shoot short films with a Super 8 motion picture camera, dubbed "Art Films". The two began calling each other "Art", and thus, their alter egos were born. Their surname, "Barnes" was taken from a Bill Cosby comedy routine called "Revenge", in which a character called Junior Barnes throws a snowball at Cosby as a child. Originally, both Haimer and Mumy were named "Art Barnes", but Haimer's alter ego was publicly renamed "Artie" in 1979 to differentiate between them. To each other, however, they both still remain "Art". They first received airplay on The Dr. Demento Show in 1978 with their songs "Boogie Woogie Amputee" and "Fish Heads." The latter tune was released as a single on their own Lumania Records in 1979 and remains their best-known song, and the most requested song in the history of The Dr. Demento Show. The song was often misattributed to The Chipmunks for its processed high-pitched chorus:

In 2005, Barnes & Barnes were inducted into the Comedy Music Hall Of Fame.

With the exception of Soak It Up and Yeah: The Essential Barnes & Barnes, all of their original albums were released on Rhino Records. All of their rereleases were on CD, with bonus tracks, on Oglio Records.

Voobaha (1980) is their first album, released in August 1980. It remains their best-selling album, mostly due to the fact that it includes Fish Heads. It was recorded entirely in 1979, except for Fish Heads, which was recorded in 1978.

Spazchow (1981). Their second album was a large departure from Voobaha. Although the duo still used the same musical instruments they had a year previous, the album's clear theme was pain in their lives caused by women. This album was re-released in August 1997. Spazchow means "born to suffer at the hands of women and make music" in Lumanian.

Fish Heads: Barnes & Barnes' Greatest Hits (1982). Also referred to as "Fish Heads Picture Disc". This was a 5-song EP shaped like a fish head. It contained 2 songs, one from each of their albums made thus far, one remix of a Voobaha track, and two new songs.

I Had Sex With E.T. (1982). A four-song offering that was part of a trio of EPs that Barnes & Barnes put out between 1982 to 1983.

Soak It Up (1983) This was a second 5-song EP, this time released on Boulevard Records.

Kodovoner (originally 1983 and finally released in July 2005). The album title means "code of honor" in Lumanian.

Amazing Adult Fantasy (1984). After Barnes & Barnes were dropped from Boulevard Records, Rhino Records resigned them for their 5th released album. This album was an evolution of the new wave sound that was present on Soak It Up and Kodovoner, and also saw them moving back toward the novelty genre that made them so famous.

Sicks (1986) After the failure of Amazing Adult Fantasy, Rhino Records mandated that Barnes & Barnes make a new novelty album in the style of Voobaha. B&B accepted the challenge and made their first true novelty album since Voobaha. Sicks, therefore, was the best selling album since then. It also contained two tracks from the then-unreleased Kodovoner. This album was re-released in July 2005.

Zabagabee (1987). This was their first true "greatest hits" album. It contained many of their hits, most of which were remixed for this album.

Loozanteen (1991) Their final "official" album made thus far, this was the only B&B album to be originally released on CD.

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