Stand back N.W.A., and make way for This Bike is A Pipe Bomb, America’s newest terrorist conspirators. This folk-punk outfit is Straight Outta Pensacola, pissed as hell, and destined to terrorize a bike rack near you. They are, after all, reportedly “concerned with the civil rights movement,” an antagonistic sentiment if we’ve ever heard one. Thanks to the collective and eternal vigilance to which our great nation was summoned after the 9/11 attacks, however, it appears that we will all be spared the vicious tactics of these “musicians.” (The current terror-alert color, by the way, is a light shade of fuschia today–just in case you were wondering. “Light Fuschia,” the Department of Homeland Security advises, means that you must evaluate your supply of duct tape immediately and make sure you know where your children are. Godspeed to all!)
The good people of Ohio University, for instance, had their conscientious fellow-citizens to include in their traumatized prayers when, after a student’s bicycle was spotted ouside the Oasis restaurant “bearing a promotional sticker for the band,” emergency responders closed off large parts of the campus, classes were canceled, the Athens, Ohio bomb squad moved in to apprehend, detain, and eventually destroy the bike, the student was charged with a “misdemeanor”–for what, we’re not exactly sure, but we suspect the student was rightfully charged with the offense of “parking bike while liking music,” an increasingly visible threat to national security–and accused of “inducing panic.”
Bafflingly, though, all charges were later dropped and the student was awarded money for the loss of his bicycle. Not to worry–we here at Culturespill pledge to follow-up on this story to assure ourselves and our readers that the “student”–A.K.A. “terrorist”–was only absolved of wrongdoing after a thorough water-boarding that squeezed out the names of various accomplices believed to be roughing it in the hills of Tajikistan. “The university updated its emergency response procedures after Sept. 11,” Dean of Students Terry Hogan, who “encouraged student fans of the punk rock band to think carefully about the ways they show their support,” assured concerned parties, adding that those procedures were followed. We ARE able to assure you at this time that the student was indeed “charged criminally,” as University Spokesman Jack Jeffrey put it.
Culturespill promises to push for a more thorough explanation, but we must also confess to being equally puzzled after learning that “the team found no explosives.” There were, however, “short, explosion-like sounds heard in the area” that caused a stir (Junior Lisa Ball reported hearing a “boom”), though these were “created not by a detonation but by a water device used to assess if the bike contained a bomb.” Right–we know you guys just have to pretend it was nothing to protect the confidential security secrets you harvested from your assessment of the bicycle of evil. It’s OK.
But this band of evildoers and scare-ifiers collectively known as “This Bike is a Pipe Bomb” continued their reign of terror following this initial strike. At a so-called “peace rally” (read “terrorist training camp”) in Austin, Texas, an officer spotted a woman whose bicycle also sported the band’s promotional sticker. She too was quickly detained, but released after “the band’s existence was confirmed.” (I would have loved to be a fly on THAT wall. Seriously. What the hell do you say to a cop who looks you in the eye and demands that you please “confirm your existence” at once?)
Yet another bicycle with the offending sticker was discovered on the second floor of Bellarmine Hall at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Culturespill is heartened to learn that “security officers” took such appropriate measures as evacuating the entire hall, sounding the fire alarms, and demanding that students “back farther away from the building” in full anticipation that the whole thing would be blown halfway to the moon any second. Powerful devices, these “bicycles.” Philly cops were then called in “to secure the situation” while security officers “monitored the scene and blocked every exit.”
Be at ease, America–these are just a few of many anecdotes available to confirm that we have indeed become a safer nation since September 11th, 2001. But we’re equally grateful to the many fine officers and officials who, through their hard work in these chilling instances of bicycle terror, also brought to our attention a band that is most worthy of greater notice. The endearingly misspelled “The Arguement,” one of four tunes found on the band’s MySpace page, evokes the analog aggression of true punk greats like Cock Sparrer, Dead Kennedys, or Lou Reed’s Blue Mask album-an appealingly straightforward rock that’s raw enough to pass as a De Stijl-era White Stripes demo or an alternate take of Electric Six’s “Germans in Mexico.”
Cock Sparrer: We Love You
Replete with rhetoric that’s guaranteed to send them packing to Gitmo in no time, their songs hilariously anticipate exactly the kind of ignorance they’ve exposed at bike racks from coast to coast. ” You think things are bad now,” they sing on “Body Count” from 2002’s Front Seat Solidarity, “well they’ve always been scared that kids have guns.” But it’s on “A Hundred Dollars,” a track from the same album, that they summarize their credo with the sneering directness of authentic punk:
When I walk downtown you know I gotta walk with my head held high,
because those stupid southern yuppies they don’t like
to see a punk rock kid with his head held high.
They like the way that their money feels.
They got bank accounts and boob jobs and a fast set of wheels.
They fear a smile on the young, they fear the actions of the young.
Indeed they do. Especially those among “the young” who ride bikes, listen to music, and go to college–otherwise known as “enemy combatants.” Be on the lookout, everyone, and report any suspicious behavior–such as the riding of bikes with headphones on–to the authorities at once!