The album’s coda boldly reworks a parable from Chapter 6 of Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung into an inspirational haiku.
“Mao talks about how we take the eating of a banquet lightly — we know we can finish it, and we do it mouthful by mouthful, never in one gulp. It’s of course about killing the enemy one by one, another tenet of disgusting military theory taught at West Point.
“But you have to know this stuff,” Svenonius adds, “because in a sense rock & roll is the collusion of comedy and warfare.”
Likewise flailing between bellicose playfulness and bathos, the music (“with lyrics contained within,” as the record sleeve indicates) preciously holds on to its rough edges.
“It’s an enormously flawed record,” Svenonius notes proudly. “As Dean Martin used to say when he had a variety show in the ’60s, ‘We didn’t really practice it very much.’ Nowadays they practice everything. They make it perfect — except you know what they say: If something’s perfect, it’s really not very good.”
Ergo the imperative to make not a good record, but a weird-good one. And one more thing: If you don’t like it, remember that the musicians cannot be held accountable.
“A rock group is a heroic reflection of a corporate body, and thus it has the same non-culpability,” Svenonius notes. “The Rolling Stones equal Enron. Or, Weird War equals Ben & Jerry’s.”
If you can’t beat ’em, bite ’em.
Weird War open for the Walkmen at the Henry Fonda Theater on Saturday, February 21.