I got a few minutes this week to talk with Cam Flenor, lead singer of the Velcro Pygmies, who I mentioned in my column this week. They’re playing at the Chow Wagon on Tuesday, May 3, at 8 p.m. See you down there!
Bar Belle: After 20 years, why are the Pygmies still around?
Cam: It’s a number of things. Work ethic for one. We aren’t afraid to work and go above and beyond. We try to reinvent without destroying what we’ve already got. The new horn section is a perfect example of that — it’s a reinvention of The Pygmies, but in no way have we lost what we already are. The horns bring a new element that no matter what level of Pygmie fan you are, you will enjoy. The “Entertainment Factor” is ultimately The Pygmies’ secret. One of my favorite compliments is when someone comes up and says, “I’ve never been a fan of this kind of music, but I’m a fan of The Pygmies.” Recently we were able to put this to the test in Jackson, Miss., when we opened for Snoop Dogg. It was a packed house of people who loved The Pygmies but just didn’t know it yet. Virtually no one in the crowd had seen us before. When it was all over, we’d made a 1,000 new fans.
BB: What is it about the ’80s that people can’t let go of?
Cam: The ’80s rock scene was the end of “Super Hero Rock.” In the ’80s, entertainers were larger than life, and the ’90s stripped all that away. People still like things to be larger than life, and today’s scene isn’t offering up much in that respect. The world needs rock stars, and the ’80s seem to be the place to find them.
BB: Favorite ’80s band to cover?
: Personally love Poison simply because they were crushed by the critics, but they are still out there packing houses, while all the “critically” acclaimed bands of their era are washing cars somewhere.
BB: What’s your favorite place to play a gig?
Cam: Depends on the night. Obviously playing PHT on Derby Eve is the best gig in the world. Overall, Auburn, Ala., has been about the most enduring Pygmie audience of all.
BB: Craziest thing that’s happened onstage … besides me taking off my bra at Phoenix Hill?
Cam: Two girls got on stage and played hide the Blow Pop. Use your imagination to figure out where it was hidden. And then they played find the Blow Pop using only their mouths. That happened in Houston at a place called The Outback.
BB: Is it weird that I’m still one of your biggest fans?
Cam: Not at all, and we are honored you are. Being in the Louisville journalism scene and being a fan of The Pygmies took/takes guts. We love you for it. As a side note, it’s interesting that now that we’ve added the Bad Ass Brass to the show, we are getting lots and lots of new PygHeads popping up. These are people who would NEVER have been fans before, but because the horn section interacts with a different cross-section of the Louisville music scene, fresh faces are being introduced to “Cheese Rock.”