From The Desk Of Bird Streets’ John Brodeur: Bill Hicks

Omnivore just released the self-titled debut album from Brooklyn’s Bird Streets (a.k.a. John Brodeur). In addition to self-releasing records over the past two decades, Brodeur also worked as a music journalist (poor guy). For Bird Streets’ debut, Brodeur enlisted Jason Falkner (Beck, Air, Paul McCartney, Jellyfish, etc.) as co-writer, co-player and producer, while Miranda Lee Richards and Luther Russell contribute to a few tracks as well. Brodeur will be guest editing all week. Check out the Bird Streets track we premiered in June.

Brodeur: The government murdered Bill Hicks!

Wait, let me back up.

When I first heard of Bill Hicks, he was on an MTV comedy clip-show in 1989 or ’90. Even in such controlled doses, I thought he was hilarious—I’m pretty sure that, to this day, anytime I do what I think is an English accent, I’m really doing Bill Hicks’ Keith Richards from that early bit about cockroaches and nuclear war. (“I saw a bright light and thought we were on!”) He turned up on TV periodically after that, but certainly not often. In 1994 he died of pancreatic cancer, which still seems like some kind of twisted cosmic retelling of one of his most famous early bits. Where was Denis Leary’s helicopter?

Then, in 1997, Rykodisc issued his two posthumous discs, Arizona Bay and Rant In E-Minor, and finally being able to hear his work at length, I became a full-on convert. He questioned everything: the government, religion, mass media, even reality itself. He called out hypocrisy at every turn. His skepticism and anti-establishment leanings fit perfectly with my developing political point of view—having written a lengthy school report on the conspiracy theories surrounding the JFK assassination some years prior, I found a kinship in hearing him challenge the veracity of the official record in such a humorous way (“coup! coup!”). And as a recovering Catholic, I, too, wondered why we celebrate Easter by “telling our children a giant bunny rabbit left chocolate eggs in the night.” (A bit I share yearly on my social pages.)

Also he told killer dick jokes.

Hicks work still informs the way I think in some major ways. I can even appreciate the youthful ignorance in some of his early work, which serves to show how someone can evolve their thinking over a relatively short period of time. Bill Hicks showed me that it’s OK to not believe what “they” are telling you. Take a heroic dose, squeegee your third eye, and listen to the man: Bill Hicks is the truth.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get to the meeting at the docks.