Even without Deerhoof‘s quirky, experimental music, the lyrics to the band’s 2004 song “Milk Man,” hardly seem like perfect kids’ fare:
Milk Man sleeps on the roof in the noon
Bana-na-na stabbed to the arms, weird man
Milk Man sneaks in the house under moon
Miracle words come to a mouth you may hear
…Milk Man smiles to you “Hi” in a nude
This banana stuck in my arms, oh my love
Stabbed to the arms, ooh-la-la
But as an elementary school drama and music teacher told “Weekend America,” when she heard the song “Milkman” she had to use it for a project at North Haven Community School in Maine. Courtney Nalibof saw the connection immediately: both the band and her kids are extremely experimental with music. “When you listen to Deerhoof’s music and you teach an elementary music class, you hear a lot of the same things,” she said. “You hear a lot of really creative imagery. You hear a lot of non-sequiturs. And you hear a lot of sounds being made in ways you didn’t know they could be made. I think there’s a lot of crossover there.”
The result was Milk Man — “part ballet, part surreal performance art, and part rock show” — performed to sold-out crowds at the school in October 2006. (According to the project’s website, Deerhoof’s members made it to North Haven to offer pointers at rehearsals and see the shows: “They loved it!“)
But isn’t the story of a masked milkman who kidnaps kids and hides them in a clouds — and has bananas sticking out of his armpits — a bit… weird?
“They’re a little creepy, Naliboff admits, but adds, “Maurice Sendak books are pretty creepy too, but kids like those too.”
Here’s a videoclip from the North Haven school’s production, followed by a look at “Milk Man” performed by Deerhoof, who visit the Walker October 2 for a concert.
[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=jQ-_OKSDhmA[/youtube]Listen to Weekend America’s report on The Deerhoof Ballet (RealAudio).