Berrien band performs at opening of SMC museum exhibit on music

Published 1:53 am Thursday, January 8, 2004

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Had Berrien County's Deep Fried Pickle Project debuted Wednesday at the opening of the "Good Vibrations: the Nature of Music" exhibit at the Museum at Southwestern Michigan College, their name might be Skeleton Can-Can Dancers.
But at their first performance a year and a half ago in Riverside, the sign behind the bar advertised deep-fried pickles, three for $1.25.
And they needed a name.
This started as a hobby for the Coloma art teachers.
At a staff meeting they realized they seemed to be the only long-haired instructors in the district.
The duo that personified the theme that vibrations make music at the exhibit's opening reception are often a quartet when joined by their lead guitarist and drummer.
What would be the washtub bass in a jug band is a miked plastic bucket from "the cafeteria ladies," a stick and tent rope.
In a bind he's substituted a shoelace and even a "weed-whacker cord," rejected because its sound was too "tinny."
Of course, you don't have to appreciate mountain music if you're tuning in for the irreverent lyrics in the stories they sing.
Central to their "pretty song" about losing and finding love is the decapitation of a woman thrown under a train.
Anyone with a Ph.D. is likely to have earned it in "post hole digging." Another song yearns for the ability to make a living from going fishing.
Audience participation includes choruses for dogs and mosquitoes.
Daniel even offers during a tune about "white trash" that he lives in a trailer, which is also played up on their Web site,
They have a recording, "Attack of the Pickles," featuring "Pickle Juice," "Lemonade Stand," "Sgt. Safety" and eight other songs.
They belt out "Ghost Chickens in the Sky" about black-beaked KFC casualties with red eyes bent on revenge who cook a farmer to a crisp and consume him with cole slaw.
They cover Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues." And they sing a cautionary tale warning against drinking pickle juice, or risk turning green and bumpy.
Pour it on your sister, use it to treat a blister, but don't quaff from the bottom of the barrel.
Like a deep-fried pickle, "They love it or they hate it."
Daniel loved SMC's exhibit.