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Frequent flyer points placate rabid Fru-Heads

Moxy Fruvous mix tribalism and capitalism and come out winning

by Mary-Lynn McEwen

Moxy Früvous

Friday, September 18

Dalhousie Community Centre

Saturday, September 19

Braeside Community Centre

Some people have no life of their own, so they borrow one. That's the case with a number of individuals who illustrate their lack of other commitments by hop-scotching after Ontario's winners of the Hardest Band to Label category, Moxy Früvous, from gig to gig.

And as Dave Matheson, who handles vocals, accordion, banjo and guitar duties for the band, explains, instead of getting nervous that the psychos were circling, Moxy Früvous decided to encourage such dedication. "In Canada we had a surge of attention and press in '93 and '94, but down in the States, where we do most of our touring, in the Northeastern U.S., it's been a much steadier, slower climb. People who come out tend to be very dedicated and a lot of them drive from show to show. The 'Frü-Heads,' we call them. Now there's actually a couple of licence plates that go from show to show with 'Moxy' and 'Früvous' on them. It's very bizarre.

"We know them well because they come to so many shows. We did a thing in the past two years called the Frü-Miles card, and now we have a new one. It's like Airmiles; you get a couple of points for each show you attend, and if you get enough of them you get prizes and goodies and stuff."

And just like larger bastions of capitalism who have made such programs work, Matheson says the card does promote dedication. "We've only played 50 shows since the new card came out, and somebody's already been to 30 shows! It's like, 'I saw you last night in Syracuse, how ya doing tonight?'"

The prizes don't sound bad, what with T-shirts and videos and even, at one time, a date with Matheson himself for people who achieved 60 points. But the genial vocalist decided maybe that was just too much time to spend in a room alone with a sycophant and chickened out on that idea.

Instead, the band availed itself of a bowling night a Frü-Heads convention in California arranged by fans through the band's website (www.Früvous.com). "The guy who does the Web site is a total fan, and he just does an amazing job for us because he likes the band. (The Frü-Heads) go onto these chat rooms right away after each show, and say, 'Oh, yeah, they played this and Murray (Foster, vocalist and bassist) said this and that was funny.'"

The band, whose musical stylings have been described as gangsta banjo hip hop, accordion love songs and straight-ahead pop, released Live Noise in May, hoping to give the Frü-Heads, and others, a little piece of each show they could take home and tuck away under their pillows to inspire Moxy Früvous candyland type dreams.

"People have always said to us, 'Why don't you do a live album because your live shows are so different from your records, and they're really a lot more fun.' So we put a lot of banter and little snippets and weird things on the record. We're such a difficult band to pigeonhole that the best way to do it is get a taste of this record."

Meanwhile, Früvous and their intellectual, English-lit type, 'Net-abusing fans tend to look towards a few political causes, such as supporting gigs for the Ontario Coaltion of Abortion Clinics, to bring more meaning to their lives. And Lord knows, if they have time to follow a band from gig to gig and personalize their licence plates, they could use just a little more meaning.

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