Come On, Ride that Train 

Gravy Train has created an outlet for all the dorks of Oakland -- not to mention the rest of the country -- to express themselves sexually. Their music is the mating call of the poor, the smelly, the hungry, and the horny.

"No fast-forwarding through the dialogue either," says Chunx, MC for the soon-to-be-world-famous Oakland sex mob known as Gravy Train. "That's the most important part." She's referring to a pornographic video that's about to begin. The movie belongs to Hunx, the band's dancemaster extraordinaire. The movie is called Here Cums Santa Claus.

"Oh, nice outfit," quips Hunx, referring to the dark-haired chap on-screen. "Oh my God, it's like he's wrapped in tinsel."

"Okay, shhhh. I don't want to miss the story," Chunx chides. "This is like Schindler's List. It's all about the setup."

The two men in the movie are engaged in a deep conversation about what they should put under the Christmas tree this year. Their voices are barely audible against the dime-store, Casio-driven Christmas song playing in the background. One of them has a suggestion: "Us." And with that, the song is replaced with an equally low-budget chicken-fried slow jam.

"I'm all about depth in pornography," Chunx adds.

"Take your shirt off," Hunx yells at the screen.

"Is that is a jockstrap?" asks keyboardist Funx, referring to one actor's undergarments. Does Hunx wear those?

"All the time," Hunx replies.

Then they appear: hairy asses parading back and forth across the screen. Hairy asses are bad, right?

"I like hairy asses," says Chunx.

"I like hairy asses," echoes Funx.

"I like hairy asses," adds Hunx in a lascivious tone.

Recipe for partying down with Gravy Train: One cold, dingy warehouse in West Oakland; three bottles of cheap champagne; six 40 oz. bottles of cheap beer; four bags of salt and vinegar chips; five different kinds of candy, including sour punch, Swedish fish, and Twizzlers; a six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon (for Drunx); gay porn (supplied by Hunx); and one copy of the band's new CD, Hello Doctor.

"Gravy Train is the only thing we listen to," says Hunx as the opening bleeps and beats of "Titties Bounce" kick off the CD. Yeah, that's right: "Titties Bounce." It's a tune that joins such other self-explanatory titles as "Cottonmouth Blow Job" and "Burger Baby," which is actually a song about getting knocked up by sirloin. If all this sounds a little too raunchy for your taste, then keep reading. As it happens, Gravy Train is on the fast track to success.

In less than two years, these three fly chicks and one flaming gay guy have gone from bastardizing Gary Glitter's "Do You Wanna Touch Me" in a living room full of indifferent, not to mention offended, house party attendees to a national tour with Bratmobile, a recently released full-length on Kill Rock Stars (home to bands such as Sleater Kinney and Bikini Kill), and appearances on prestigious compilations, including New York City nightlife mogul Larry Tee's recent electroclash collection Bad Inc. Not bad for a band that uses nothing more than two crappy keyboards and a drum machine that sells for sixty bucks on eBay.

Gravy Train's music, from anything resembling an adult viewpoint, totally sucks. Fashioned out of low-budget beats and keyboard riffs that generally don't extend beyond the complexity of "Chopsticks," the group's production values makes the soundtrack to Here Cums Santa Claus sound like a Neptunes track. Added to this are the lyrics of one MC Chunx, which are about as titillating as a money shot and about as complex: "I go to the high school, I go to the high school/To find me a bitch, a young virgin switch," she sings on "Sippin' 40 oz." And while the dribble may be catchy as crabs, it's about the furthest thing from a positive message as hip-hop can possibly get.

And then, of course, there's the Gravy Train stage show. Featuring Funx manning the beatboxes and keyboards, Chunx on the mike, and Hunx and Drunx, aka the fly girls, pseudo-sodomizing one another through a series of so-sexy-they're-repellent dance moves, the Gravy Train experience combines the flair of Menudo with the shock value of W.A.S.P. Dressed in red-and-white-striped short shorts, tight black T-shirts packed with shiny red sequins, and an assortment of sunglasses, headbands, and other items of flair, the band riles up its audiences like Richard Simmons on PCP. And the capacity crowds eat it up every time. A typical show features naked fans jumping onstage, multiple makeout sessions, blaring beats, and more sweat than you can shake a dick at. Oh, and by the way, we're not talking here about back-alley midnight sex romps for the local pervs. Gravy Train's audience is composed of the young and the restless, an assortment of disenfranchised high school kids, wayward indie rockers, sexually confused gutter punks and, well, just about all the kids in Oakland.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in Music

Author Archives

  • Soundtrack for the Shut-Ins

    Three months. Ten bands. Thousands of pasty-skinned hipsters. A summer guide to the East Bay music racket.
    • Jun 18, 2003
  • So Long, Mesh Hats

    Oakland's art scene is creeping out of the low-budget shadows.
    • Jun 4, 2003
  • More»

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

The Beer Issue 2020

The Decade in Review

The events and trends that shaped the Teens.

Best of the East Bay


© 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation