So, the other day, I was listening to Rabbit Habits, the terrific and addictive new album from Philadelphia quintet Man Man — experimental loons whose growly, vaudevillian indie-rock sounds like the best drunken-hobo campfire party you've ever been to. Then I began thinking about all the music that's come outta Philly over the years, and I wondered how Man Man — tagged by many as the hottest band from that city right now — fit into that history. So I rang up singer Honus Honus, rattled off a bunch of notable Philadelphia acts, and asked him whether he thought Man Man was better or worse than each:
Boyz II Men: "We're worse. They were such fresh dressers. They looked like nice boys, but they were men. We're just Man Man."
The Dead Milkmen: "We're worse. Come on — Big Lizard in My Backyard? 'Taking Retards to the Zoo'? 'Bitchin' Camaro'?!"
Man Man, and Yeasayer are scheduled to perform on Sunday, April 27.
DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince: "We're worse! Because the Fresh Prince is a Scientologist and everyone knows that they rule, and DJ Jazzy Jeff, he has cool prescription glasses."
Bardo Pond: "We're worse. There's a very talented girl in that band that plays violin, and we don't have that. I dunno, we're like cocaine jams and they're like heroin jams. Is that better or worse?"
Stan Getz: "We're way worse! I'm going to say we're worse for all of these, but I'm going to give you funny answers."
Cinderella: "Okay, we're better than them. Why the fuck would you name your band Cinderella? Fuck those dudes; I'll start a beef with Cinderella. But I bet you those dudes, if they gave me a call and asked me to come out to their house and just hang out and watch TV, I bet you I would. I'm sure they're nice guys. They're either nice guys or the worst guys. I'm sure they have great stories: 'So I was bangin' this broad with 26-inch bangs . . . bigger than my own bangs!'"
Mario Lanza: "Oh, shit, we are way worse than Mario Lanza! There's murals to him all over South Philly, man. There's no murals to us!"
Patti LaBelle: "We are way worse! Can you imagine if you went to a picnic at Patti LaBelle's house, how good the food would be? And then if she sang at that picnic . . . she's got some pipes."
Hall & Oates: "We're worse, and they're amazing! So good. 'Private Eyes,' man. I mean, that band had so many hits, they wrote some really good songs. And brother-man had the mustache."
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Teddy Pendergrass: "I've never listened to any Teddy Pendergrass, so I'll just be safe and say that we're worse."
The Roots: "Definitely worse, but I think we have a good live show, too."
Schoolly D: "Uh, we're worse — he did the fucking theme to Aqua Teen Hunger Force! We haven't done anything as cool as that. If someone pitched me, like, 'Okay, so we have this show and there's a little meatball baby and a shake that's really mean and a side of fries with a goatee . . .' See, that's why Schoolly D is way better, because he's a visionary."
The Hooters: "We're gonna lose potential audience with this one, but that's probably the same audience that thinks we're gonna win this war in Iraq, so whatever. Man, I think we're better than the Hooters. I'm sorry, Hooters. You have really good restaurants. Don't they own all the Hooters? I dunno, I think the only reason I can say we're better than the Hooters is because that dude-man from the Hooters wrote that Joan Osborne song, that God song, and I'm sorry, man, you were way better than us, and then you wrote that song."