Tripping Daisy

If you squint, just a little, the deserts of Texas and the deserts of Australia could look fairly similar to the untrained eye. ADAM CONNORS spoke to Mark Pirro, of Dallas’ Tripping Daisy, about yet another similarity.

The bass playing Pirro, with the Dallas group Tripping Daisy, had been on the road for near on eight months and was itching to get back to enjoy the success of their new album, I Am An Elastic Firecracker, with a cold brewski on the porch. But firstly, before the feet go up, I had to ask Pirro about that song Raindrop on the new album.

Now here is a song which almost defines Australian power pop – a teaspoonful of chords, some falsetto, all wrapped in a catchy chorus. Strange, but how does a Dallas band who have never been here manage to skip effortlessly between a power pop ballad, the grandiose venom of Jane’s Addiction-style oomph and the throw-away kiddy, er … “pop”, Pirro interjects, embarrassed at my disection of their summer anthem, I Got A Girl.

“Well that’s certainly a strength with the band, being diverse like that, but it’s sometimes a liability when you realise that people will judge your whole reason for being with just one or two songs off your record. It really doesn’t give a complete picture of the band.

“My remedy for that would to be to always see a band live or at least listen to their whole album before writing them off.”

Having listened to the album before the I Got A Girl single was released late last year I tend to agree. Their new single, Piranha, is much more indicative of Tripping Daisy’s album overall, with lead singer Tim DeLaughter’s vocals getting pretty damn close to JA’s Perry Farrell in a unnerving, howling sort of way.

And then there is that video for I Got A Girl – Tripping Daisy shoot a teeny pop anthem wrapped in body bags and set in a morgue. As well as this being a total non-sequitur in relation to the song, the colours and manic close-ups of DeLaughter certainly make me reach for a can of mace.

“Yeah, Tim is really the extravagant one in the band. At the moment he’s walking around in a wig, goggles and a red robe. The rest of us go around as is, whether it’s clean or not.”

So is Mark Pirro, a self-stated bassist/punk aficianado, an angry as well as a smelly young man? Did he ever dally in bands called Colostomy Rupture or the like as a kid?

“(laughs) Nuh, I’m 25 years old now and I’ve ‘musically grown’ since my punk roots as a teenager. It was all just high school, garage band stuff, but it opened my eyes to what playing in a band is all about.

“I’m fortunate enough to be hooked up to Bryan (Wakeland – drums), Wes (Berggren – guitar) and Tim, all great guys which make great music, so I think I’ll hold off on my, um, metal days for a while yet.”

So while the singles I Got A Girl and Piranha bounce around the music charts, Tripping Daisy’s third album I Am An Elastic Firecracker continues to also draw comment for its title alone. What the heck are they on about?

“It’s supposed to parallel the music on the album, it’s very diverse and has a lot of different mood changes. It also parallels, quote, an elastic firecracker – if a firecracker explodes and it’s elastic, it will contract and explode again and so on and so forth. Y’know, it will be elastic!”

Yup, says the interviewer slowly backing away from the musician. Just don’t bite me.