10/1/99: Edmonton Sun Friday, 10/1/99
Edmonton Sun

Moxy shows its moxie


We were just about to toss Moxy Fruvous into the Where Are They Now? pile when word came of a peculiar uprising in America.

It appears that this cute and funny Canadian band - which became extremely uncool during the grunge era - is a big cult hit down south. Sound familiar? The same thing happened to the Barenaked Ladies.

The comeback isn't so huge yet, but you might still see a swarm of "Fruheads" when Moxy Fruvous performs tonight and tomorrow in the Sidetrack Cafe. It's time for ... Revenge of the Nerds: Part II! Watch out for flying asthma inhalers and pocket protectors. Moxy Fruvous also performs Oct. 12 on the Conan O'Brien show. I rest my case.

"A lot of our fans are extremely well-versed in computer operation," says band member Mike Ford. "But a lot of them are hippies, too. Maybe they are displaced Deadheads going, 'Who do we follow?' "

After 1993's Bargainville album and a subsequent media overload in Canada, Moxy Fruvous quietly disappeared. The band avoided the worst of a backlash they saw coming 1.6 km away by leaving the country. They've spent the last several years earning a loyal American following exclusively through word of mouth and the Internet. The Fruhead mailing list approaches 22,000, Ford says, with countless more following the band in cyberspace. The biggest Fruheads have been known to come to eight consecutive shows in six different states.

"I guess it's because of the diversity of the show," Ford says. "It changes every night. We do a lot of improvising on stage and now we have five studio albums to choose from (including the latest, Thornhill). We mix up the repertoire every night and they just keep coming.

"The most bizarre thing is that we can leave a show, go back to our hotel room and our soundman will hook up his computer - he's got one of those things where a voice will read text - so we'll sit back with a beer and a voice will read us a review of the show we played four hours earlier. The Fruheads get online and send reviews of the show to the other Fruheads who couldn't be there.

"It does have a creepy side, there's two ways about it, but the people we meet are really cool."

While you won't hear much of the band's giddy political satire on the introspective Thornhill, Moxy is still busy mutilating sacred cows - American sacred cows, no less. Such brave lads.

The Greatest Man in America, for instance, is a broadside at Rush Limbaugh.

"We have definitely got some people really pissed off at that," Ford says. "But we've also got pro-Limbaugh people who don't get it coming up to thank us."

National Public Radio even hired the band to do a monthly musical commentary.

Next on the set list - aside from some Gretzky song they're just going to make up tonight - is a song about Beanie Babies.

Says Ford, "We don't think too much of Y2K, but when we found out they were going to stop manufacturing Beanie Babies Dec. 31, 1999, we realized that this is indeed an apocalyptic age."

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