For socks, they’ve got a lot of sole…
Leave it to bunch of Metalheads, and a woman who made the mistake of telling them she knew how to sew, to create an empire where fist-banging is not only acceptable, but extremely cool, so long as there’s an undergarment on it. SPP You Tube channel
In the world of Sock Puppet Parody, cotton is Metal, fleece is brutal.
“There’s a sock multiverse,” director Brady Tulk said. “Everything that happens in the human world, happens in the sock puppet world.”
But, the troupe that brought us “Let the Laundry Hit the Floor” and an Immortal Christmas didn’t spawn the concept from the fruit of their loom. It started with a gimmick.
Brady explained, “Socks originate from the first video we made, which was a Rivethead Indiegogo campaign. And it didn’t really have any new donations coming in for this local band, so we needed to find a new way to market it, and the band actually had someone who made them sock puppets. They didn’t have arms or anything to them. Eventually, me and Puppet Master (Caroline Govea) decided that we would make a video with the band performing. At the end we had some sock puppets jamming out to some Metal and then it said, ‘Don’t let this happen. Help Rivethead.’ And that night, we brought a lot of donations and we learned that sock puppets really work.”
It took six months for it to sink in that Metal and socks are naturally paired. Inspired after a Static X show, the Muse was too much for them. So, they rang up their “Grammified” friend, J.T., otherwise known as “Kitty Violet,” to work on the musical arrangement for “Push It” at one in the morning, expected to get laughed off the phone. But, to their surprise, he loved it. Producer Johnny Zero-Forever said, “So that night we had our first song. Kitty is just as crazy as we are.”
Static X’s “Push It” was transformed into Static Cling’s “Sew It,” and Sock Puppet Parody came together.
Of course, the natural question would be “Why socks?” Very simple: “Because thumbs weren’t enough.”
However, there was no question about the Metal. Brady said, “I knew that something Metal with sock puppets just works. It’s something magical, some kind of energy. Metal is the most fun to film.”
Johnny Z concurred, “Yeah, the energy is what’s really important because that’s what makes it funny.”
And the public agrees; their You Tube channel has over 60,000 subscribers with some videos, such as their “Master of Puppets” and Slayer’s “Raining Blood” have nearly or over a half-million hits each with “Wait in Bleach” (Slipknot’s “Wait and Bleed”) with over a million. At this time, music producers are hitting them up for professional work with even a talk of a possible full-length feature. The probability of the Puppet Master/God finally being able to quit her day job could become reality, if they are able to bring in enough income to be self-sustaining.
She said, “We talk about this all the time.”
Johnny Zero stated, “We want our Sock God to be available to us at all times. She is not available to us at all times now.”
And the bonus, of course, is that Metal is not saturated in parody, so they are “not in any major competition and the bands really appreciate the new content.” The content being homemade crafts professionally produced by an award winning musician, fronted by anybody who can do the target band’s uncanny impressions.
And cardboard…lots and lots of cardboard, which can be most problematic. Johnny Z explains, “The first problem is finding the right cardboard. There are different qualities of cardboard by and large. Finding the right quality is hard.”
Brady continued, “So, all of the set could fall apart.”
To which Johnny Z finished, “Or the whole set could go on fire.”
Another major obstacle the Sock Puppets have to cross is the performance, itself, to pull it off. “Singing the notes and moving the mouths at the same time can be a challenge for some of the puppeteers. To bring them to life, they have to act like the human. So, like, the human Tom Morello had to have the guitar up to his chin during his solo thing and we had to make sure our sock puppet can do it the same way. So, we spend a lot of time practicing in the bathroom mirror.”
There can be other issues, as well, just like in any band. Do Metalhead socks risk having their bandmates show up to rehearsals high on fabric softener? Of course not, that would be silly. Johnny Z said, “It’s the detergent that can be a terrible problem.”
Brady added, “Especially the powder form of Borax.” But, then he said, “Some people would say that socks are expendable and that it’s really easy to replace them. So, if we have a problem with a certain sock, let’s just say that may be credence for the sock puppet.”
Not that it would be too surprising for a sock to be “bounced” – this is Metal, after all. “I think we live in a mismatched world,” Brady philosophizes. “Conforming to the belief that ‘socks must be matched’ is just an old notion. We need to have total anarchy.”
And apparently, a nice launder now and then, which overall seems to be their favorite, except Johnny Z who said, “I like the dryer cycle, especially when there’s a tennis shoe in it because then you get a nice rhythm.”
The Puppet Master said, “The one that goes like this…(Editor’s note: interview was conducted over the phone, so whatever gesture she made was unfortunately lost in translation).”
Johnny Z, “Soaked in suds.”
Puppet Master chimed in, “The one that goes back and forth really quick!”
But, for Brady? “I like the hand wash.”