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Ear to the Ground: Playboy Manbaby’s “Choppy Chad”

This prank-punk sextet has no interest in melting your face, but they just might melt your grilled cheese sandwich. Check these dudes out before Hugh Hefner’s lawyers make them change their name.

When a band goes by the name Playboy Manbaby and has songs titles like “Falafel Pantyhose,” “Doom Couch,” and “Potato Wallet,” it’s fair to assume they’re freaking awesome. The Tempe, Arizona, prank-punk sextet may not consist of musicians who take themselves too seriously, but as evidenced by the first tune from their 2014 album, Bummeritaville, Manbaby is incredibly serious about having fun.

“Choppy Chad” starts out like Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl” before frontman Robbie Pfeffer’s screaming, distorted vocals come in like a kid having a temper tantrum into a walkie-talkie. Perhaps railing against a legion of dimwitted Jenny McCarthy-informed moms, he repeatedly yells, “Go vaccinate yourself!” at the top of his lungs. And it’s all fun and games until the song starts to take shape. Well actually, it’s still all fun and games, though there’s obviously more going on here than base novelty.

Even if you’re a Sunday-morning blues lawyer who only appreciates “serious music,” there’s no denying that Playboy Manbaby has been playing long enough to form a bona fide musical chemistry—one that would fit well onstage supporting (or blowing away) the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The tune boasts a rhythm section that can effortlessly power through stop-start arrangements. Over this, the versatile guitar work of TJ Friga switches from heavily reverberated spastic freak-outs to melodic arpeggios in the breakdown—a bridge that also includes a short-but-sweet trumpet solo from David Cosme. Go ahead and check out Playboy Manbaby before Hugh Hefner’s lawyers make them change their name.