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Prestridge has been with the band ever since. Over the past few years, the group has added horn player/multi-instrumentalist Alekzandr Palesh and vibraphone player Cody Schlueter, and with five albums under its belt — six, if you count the Christmas album a band like this was bound to do — the Inactivists are set to unleash their latest set of songs on the double-entendre-titled platter, You're So Kingin' It.
"Someone blurted it out at practice, and we couldn't let it go," says Livingston of the album's title. "That was Alekzandr's idea. But that wasn't stupid enough, so we had to make it stupider. You'd be surprised at how much that's a consideration for our titles."
The inspired stupidity, as it were, suits this band because the music itself takes a great degree of skill to execute, and the lyrics likewise require a high degree of intelligence to put together. While most truly smart people appreciate a great dumb joke, the Inactivists take it a step further and include conceptual musical humor in their songwriting, on tunes like the samba/bossa nova-driven "8 1/2 Bar Blues" or ditties like "Tom's Microdance," which was inspired by Lundy's mathematician husband, Dr. Thomas Lundy.
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"It's trying to dance as small as possible, so you just sort of hold your hands to your side and shake almost imperceptibly," Livingston explains. "He would always do that at gigs, particularly when there was something completely appropriate to do that to."
There are even more oblique examples of the band's wit to be found on cuts like the truly bizarre but superficially straight-ahead "Be Careful About Falling in Love." Livingston says, "It was tough to do because it's country, but it's 7/8."
"It's about accidentally on purpose marrying a transsexual in Trinidad," adds Lundy.
The band also seems to have a knack for writing unexpected ranchero-style songs that drop into a set like Marty Robbins appearing in a Twilight Zone episode. "It's just so wrong," enthuses Lundy about why the band perpetrates such things. "We like to challenge ourselves and say, 'Hey, here's something we don't know how to do. Let's do that!'" Livingston adds.
In contrast to The War on Jazz Hands, the Inactivists made the songs on the new album more complex, as a challenge to themselves as talented musicians. "Well, yeah, you have to be really good to goof off as well as we do," Livingston allows. "The whole album is an inside joke to ourselves. I wonder why we don't have more fans? If it were easy, I think we probably would have quit by now."