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Phil Johnson and Roadside Attraction Artist Story

Being human is a constant struggle between defining ourselves as individuals and trying to fit in with “the group”... Phil Johnson, who has appeared at the Sundance Film Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, uses comedy and music to dissect that dilemma in both his own life and others.

 

Roadside Attraction comes from leader Phil Johnson's twin careers in music and comedy. "The idea here is songs and comedy material that are interesting and challenging, but also funny, and understandable by a casual listener," says Johnson. It's more eclectic than Stephen Lynch, funnier than Prince, and more palatable than Frank Zappa, though influences of all three abound.

In stand-up pieces like “Vertical Eyebrows”, “Gangsta Pooh”, and “State Hats” Phil discusses the challenges and rewards of being different and proud of it. Though sometimes people misplace their self-worth into meaningless objects like in “Truck Nuts”.

But we also have to be concerned with how we relate to the thoughts and feelings of others around us. From dealing with new social issues (“Robots” and “Gay Children’s Books”) to keeping the relationship fire alive (“Bad Porno Sex” and “Geeks Don’t Care”).

 

"Afrodizzyac" is the band’s take on Blaxploitation film themes. This one about an international super spy (Afrodizzyac) saving the women of the world from his arch enemy, Left Nut. "Brown Ring Around The Collar" is a happy tirade about the stupid people we meet every day. And "Hella Good Day" is Phil Johnson's own musing on what would make his perfect day. "I wrote it during a really bad day and it helped cheer me up. I don't expect people to personally relate to each lyric. But I hope it will make them think about what would make them happier."

Phil Johnson, like everyone else, sometimes gets it and sometimes wonders what the heck people are thinking. On stage his playful humor and likeable, endearing manner allow him to shake things up without antagonizing the audience. In the end we can only be who we are, try to understand others, and hope they understand us.

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