On this episode of Eclectic Soundtrax, hosts Skunk Manhattan and Victor Ramos chat with Karate Zaaló (aka, Squiggly Finesse) — keyboardist, vocalist and mastermind of the Bourgeois Mystics. This fantastically eclectic group of intergalactic eccentrics currently reside at their 38-acre Austin-based commune (definitely, not a cult) and make outer-worldly music to inspire (or conquer?) us mere mortals here on Earth. With names like Countess Von Boopenstein, Tonto Luigi, Oochie Galluccio and Mathilda Bilderberg, you can expect the unexpected from this Zappa-esque orchestra that ranges from a five to 12 piece ensemble.
But, here’s the kicker, be ready to dance!
For, as progressive as the band gets, they always keep your feet moving. Founded in 2014, the Bourgeois Mystics released their debut, self-produced album Eureka! in 2017. Their cover of Bollywood classic, “Jaan Pehechan Ho” won the ‘Keepin’ It Weird Award’ at the 2018 Austin Music Video Fest and ‘Best Music Video’ at the Austin Music Video Festival. They have since released a string of singles, including “The Most Spiritual” and “Biomimicry”; they are also currently in post-production on a new full-length album. Zaaló (a name that will be endlessly mispronounced throughout the podcast) tells us about the core band members, their unique names and roles at the commune (definitely, not a cult). He discusses his love of dance and hip hop, citing some lyrical and phonetic influences, like MF Doom. However, the band incorporates just about every genre under the sun. Picture Eminem hiring Mr. Bungle as a backing band and that’s a start. From prog rock, hip hop, surf, Afro-Beat, dance, disco, funk, fusion and everything in between, the Mystics leave practically no sonic stone unturned. Well, maybe pop punk and bro country.
The band’s idiosyncratic sound and local popularity have led to national tours, performing over 150 shows and sharing bills with a wide variety of underground bands (Zaaló cites Trap Rabbit as personal favorite), as well as musical giants like George Clinton. This podcast was particularly fun (and juvenile), ridden with dick jokes, tentacle porn talk and a bizarre strip show. Listeners learn of an adult site called Fuck for Forests (we’ve yet to Google) and what life is like in a commune (definitely, not a cult). We talk veganism and the art of herbivorous overindulgence, Skunk’s under-indulgent poverty stricken Vegas trip, Zaaló’s reasons for moving to Austin, a biomimetic chicken labor force, investments in oat milk, guns, Sacha Baran Cohen, Curb Your Enthusiasm, nerdy sci-fi shows and, God forbid, Nickelback.
This podcast may not be for the faint of heart or easily offended, but if you want to have a laugh along with some musicians embracing their eternal adolescence, then it just might be for you. And, seriously, do yourself a favor and check out the Bourgeois Mystics! They are “a genre-defying dance party waiting to explode” and a band who “display the tongue-in-cheek humor of a psychedelic Monty Python and an absurdist splatter of funk-rock, hip hop and jazz.”
Zarate Zaaló links: Instagram
About the podcasters
Skunk is a musician, primarily known as the frontman and guitarist for eclectic heavy-rock band A Good Rogering. Since moving to Austin in 2004, he has recorded and performed with a wide variety of bands and solo artists over a career spanning more than 20 years and has shared the stage with notable acts, such as Skid Row, Marty Friedman, Uli Jon Roth, George Lynch and Metal Church among others. Skunk not only works as a performing musician and recording artist, but also as a producer and music teacher. With two decades of insight into what it means to be a professional musician and a passion for not only music, but comedy and general chatter, Skunk was quick to jump at the opportunity to co-host a podcast with longtime friend, Victor Ramos.
A Texas native, Victor’s early musical influences are a mixture of classic rock albums played by his Vietnam vet father and a whole lot of ‘the Fab Four’ via his Beatles-loving mother. Sprinkle in some classic country and Motown, and you have a man that would say “¿que?” when other Tejanos would ask what his favorite cumbia was. After a stint in the Marines, Victor moved to Austin in 2000 and began working in the tech industry. He met Skunk in a Spanish class in 2005 and the two discovered a shared passion for not only beer, but music. After years of collectively attending concerts and talking music, the idea to start a podcast centering around such topics seemed like a logical endeavor.