From Academic Kids

Punky Brüster is a parody punk rock band project formed by Devin Townsend, with musical help from members of his other projects. (The band's name is a pun on the 80's U.S. television series Punky Brewster.) The project's sole album, Cooked On Phonics (a pun of the literacy program "Hooked on Phonics"), is a critical parody of musicians who radically change from their developing sound to a mainstream, formulaic, and popular style for the purpose of selling out, specifically to mainstream punk rock.

Every fuckin' body's got a wallet chain
Trading Iron maiden for a wallet chain
Trading heavy metal for a toque and Loreal
I've got a bad damn feeling music's going to hell
-- "Wallet Chain"

The album follows the story of a flagging dive-bar death metal band, ostensibly from "South Central Poland" but actually made up of locals, named Cryptic Coronor [sic]. At one otherwise typical gig, the lead guitarist loses a string, and the band is forced to play in a higher key and simpler chord structure. To compensate, they raise tempo and become an instant bubblegum punk rock act, and become an overnight success story.

It took two minutes
To piece these three lame riffs together
It's the same crap that's selling loads
So it may just make my life a little better.
-- "EZ$$"

In its pop/punk form, the band, renamed as Punky Brüster, goes from a bar band to a platinum-selling sensation. In order to maintain their lowest-common-denominator success, they must hide their death metal past and hard rock roots from the disapproving, ultra-pretentious punk masses.

Please don't make me cut my hair!
(All the cool kidz cut their hair!)
But now there's shitty music everywhere!
(You're not supposed to care because it's...)
Punk rock! Punk rock!
-- "Metal Dilemma"

The album's story ends at the 'Grannys' (a parody of the Grammy Awards), where the band is ironically awarded a lifetime achievement award for their devotion to punk rock. The band takes the stage to play a celebratory song, during which they accidentally trip up and lapse into their old death metal style. They are subsequently booed off the stage and out of mainstream acceptance forever.

The album seems to be a direct parody of a metal artist cum punk rocker from Townsend's local Vancouver. Included at the end of the album (perhaps only in later releases) are recordings of answering machine messages of an unidentified man flushing a toilet ("Here's what I think of your new Punky Brüster album") and otherwise taunting the recipient. The last song on the album, "Larry's O", also seems to target a particular real-life musician.

Well it's easy to be an anarchist
When you've got record companies to pay for it
You're no rebel if you're playing by the rules
-- "Larry's O"

See also

  • Punky Bruster (http://www.baldmosher.demon.co.uk/DevyWorld/others/punky.htm) at DevyWorld
  • Cooked On Phonics lyrics (http://christophe.largeau.free.fr/groups/punkybruster/cookedonphonics.html#1_2)
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