Wednesday, 11 July 2007

The Sound of Driddle

Driddle Snode takes a test drive on a recent shopping trip.

By Ned Balloons.

The popular music and novelty act of Driddle Snode and his band TDM, currently on their Crude and Boorish Tour, were once the darlings of the alternative, underground, mezzanine and lobby scene. That was before success spoiled their hard won status of anonymity and failure.

Driddle and his band have since found some solace in vast amounts of cash, real estate and other massive investments. "We were always an alternative to music and a big influence on so many. Listen to most things today, and there’s a lot of TDM in there", said Driddle in my recent interview with him.

Their album Boiled Tripe includes both the singles No, Not With The Pastry, and a cover of the old Cook and Moore standard You fill me with inertia. To many music fans, any appearance of TDM can mean scenes of hysteria not seen since the fad of Global Warming.

Before their Manager Louie Bunce discovered Driddle at a Taxidermy Expo, Snode and his band had been struggling for success for over a week. "As soon as I saw them I could tell they had something, but I wasn't sure what it was until I got closer" said Mr Bunce from his cell.

Whatever it was, it soon spread. Their first single, Let's Morris Dance, took TDM to local then world wide debt to their record company. The follow up single Perfect Teeth, while having no real presence in the UK, was what made them real stars in America.

I recently went to Japan to profile Snode where he was in spiritual retreat at an exotic dancing academy in the Ginza. During the long flight, I thought about Driddle and of that part of him that has so filled his fans, often repeatedly, around the world.

Arriving in Tokyo, I checked into the All Western Style Let’s Fun and Taste me Hotel, and was taken to the William Conrad Memorial Penthouse Suite, where I found a young man wearing flippers and goggles, a straw boater, a false beard and covered in whipped cream and wood shavings.

I immediately recognised Driddle Snode.

Often controversial, with his constant swearing and non-conformity to "stupid and passé" ideas of personal hygiene, Snode is one of tune-towns rebels. Born into a lower-middle, upper, working class derelict but proudly violent home, Snode spoke of his childhood memories.

Of his mother doing the ironing while enjoying a cigar as she relaxed in her favourite combat boots, or of her making sausages and beans and playing the piano accordion, sometimes all at once. “We used to have sausages and beans every weeknight. I think that’s what influenced me in a big way musically" said Driddle.

"As an artist, I need to express things, such as the constant pressures of making a hundred million dollars a year. I want to be real but not real poor" he said. One of the things that make Driddle so real, is his refusal to be limited by irrelevant ideas of style, entertainment and charm. And what of the unknown Driddle, the one we don’t know? When not working on music, what fills the space of his mind?

"I've always been interested in newts" he said, sharing a personal moment. Would he ever feature newts in any future project? "No, I've got to keep something for myself, or you could go mad in this business" he assured me, while admiring a handsome newt on the mantle piece.

What other influences may have formed the music that has become such a sound check for a generation? "Well my father was a fruiterer, and he always said he got a lot of his best ideas just looking at fruit.

I am the Banana King was influenced mostly by bananas. And like everyone else, we’ve been influenced by hundreds of bands that sound exactly like each other”. What would Snode like to be remembered for?

"A simple message really. Why can't people be nice to each other?" Yes, and why not indeed.

With his girlfriend the model and philosopher Joan Drabb, Driddle has championed causes such as Save the Australian Bull Ant, Rub the Appealing Seal and the Let’s All Focus On Peripherals campaign. "I feel deeply about seals" adds Snode. “Because who really cares about ugly animals, eh?” Despite his arrest for allegedly stepping on then beating a man with a baseball bat, Snode still finds time to perform for charity.

TDM was a major part of the Direct Donor Deposit into African Cannibal Dictators Swiss Bank Accounts Concert.

“We wanted to cut out the middle man” explained Driddle.

Recently, Snode gained much selfless media attention after posing one of his trademark insights on The Reg Zimbabwe Hour. “Why don’t rich countries give all their money to the poor countries? I just don’t understand anything at all, Reg” he said, via telephone from the National Bank and Laundry of Barbados.

Are there any special plans in the works for Driddle and TDM?

"Well Ned, I’ve been writing a musical about the life, loves and heartbreak of a sewage worker. I want to expose the evils of capitalism, and with the right investors backing the show, I know I can. It’ll have a light touch and all the elements that make a great musical.

Singing, dancing, laughter, romance and political diatribes. It’s called A Tragic Life of Human Waste, he said with an eager flourish. Even though my time of TDM was coming to an end, I felt that the sound of Driddle was much like his new musical: an endless flow of talent that could not be stopped.

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