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Awesome Men Throughout History: Rev. Nørb

Men like Andrew WK and Nardhuar the Human Serviette have made careers from their boundless, somewhat childish enthusiasm for life, but there was one before them. He might not be as famous as either of them—in fact, he’s not even close—but he was and still is a breath of fresh air in the punk rock scene, which sometimes feels like a competition for who can be the most cynical or joylessly political.

Yes, the one and only Rev. Nørb is this week’s Awesome Man Throughout History.

norb1 biggest impact on punk rock was through his band, Boris the Sprinkler; as their singer and front man, Nørb was the center of attention and took full advantage of it, wearing gold lamé body suits and zebra-print tights that somehow, no matter how small they were, sagged on his scrawny chicken legs. He looked like a third-rate children’s TV show host at the best of times, which was perfect because his band was every bit as goofy and overexcited as he was.

No doubt about it, Boris the Sprinkler was a dumb punk rock band. They reveled in their own stupidity, with albums named 8-Testicled Pogo Machine, Mega Anal, and my favorite, Drugs & Masturbation. Juvenalia at its lowest-brow, sure, but their Ramones-influenced songs—all penned by Nørb—were some of the catchiest earworms of their era, with surprisingly inventive melodies and hilarious lyrics.

Nørb was also a writer for MaximumRockNRoll, a no-frills punk rock magazine that allowed him ample page space to rant about whatever he wanted, often to the chagrin of the magazine’s notoriously stodgy and humorless editorial board. As with his lyrics, Nørb’s column was a stream of hyperactive gibberish, a weird blend of pop culture literacy and schizophrenic word salad that was as fun to read as it was hard to read.

HYPERLINK “http://www.diehippiedie.com/maximum/norboct97.html”This 1997 column about the concept of guitars as phallic symbols, for example, defines the term “unsatisfyingly skirted area” as “the parts of a girl drummer’s undies you’re unable to see when she’s behind the kit, regardless of how you position yourself relative to the rack tom,” before going off on a crazy tangent about how long a band’s set should be under ideal circumstances.

Nørb still makes music and still writes, albeit for Razorcake these days, and is still the archetypal symbol for brainless fun, even if he never got his own show on Cartoon Network where he blew stuff up for no reason.

He has been on TV, though.

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About Dave Kiefaber Dave Kiefaber is a Baltimore-based writer who regularly contributes to Adfreak and the Gettysburg Times. His personal website is at www.beeohdee.blogspot.com.

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