Thursday, September 24, 2009

Corn Mo: when Freddie Mercury and Tiny Tim collide

By Meredith Deliso

If you ever see Corn Mo (he of the white suit, baby face and long, dirty blonde hair) walking down Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick talking on his cell phone, you might actually be seeing the musician recording the seeds of his next song.

“I like to walk up Knickerbocker, up to Ridgewood, Queens, so I can think out loud and make up songs while I walk,” says the lead singer of the band .357 Lover, who’s lived in the neighborhood for the past three years. “My phone has a recorder on it. I’ll pretend I’m talking on the phone.”

One such song is the vaudvilley, jovial “Thank You,” out on his band’s new album “Diorama of the Golden Lion,” which primarily gives thanks for the good times. These quiet moments of solitude have led to raucous, energetic live shows, thanks to Corn Mo’s Queen-esque anthems, vaudeville style and irreverent humor. And when the band celebrate the release of their new album, October 2 at Brooklyn Bowl, you can expect much of the same.

Out on September 29, “Lion” demonstrates well the band’s style, which Corn Mo himself as described as “Guns ‘N Roses meets Queen meets show tunes meets Tiny Tim,” with a 70s rock aesthetic, soaring vocals and sweaty, impassioned delivery.

Formed band in 1996 in Texas, the band has changed a bit as expected over the years (Corn Mo originally rocked it on the accordion; now it’s the piano). As of late, he’s been performing with bassist Dave Wallin, guitarists Brad Williams and Bob Lanzetti, and drummer Ron Salvo, releasing the EP “Your Favorite Hamburger is a Cheeseburger in 2007, writing rock operas, and now self-releasing “Lion.”

“Solo’s fine, but it’s more fun playing with a five-piece,” says Corn Mo, who’s toured extensively as a solo act, sharing the stage with They Might Be Giants, Ben Folds, Andrew W.K. and Polyphonic Spree. “It’s more powerful.”

The same could be said of Corn Mo’s voice, which sings about making out at the mall and a Hava Nagila monster with a passion and range reminiscent of David Lee Roth and Freddy Mercury, all over the pounding of the keys (evidence below).

A former ringmaster for the Bindlestiff Circus, that showmanship comes through, too, though Corn Mo tones it down only a bit for the stage. At the Brooklyn Bowl show, he will bring along a friend to add some high-flying thrills – Brooklyn-based trapeze artist Fabulous Miss Una, a friend from the circus.

Beyond that, “It will be a straight up rock show,” promises Corn Mo. “With bowling.”

And of course, some good times.

.357 Lover play Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Ave.) October 2 at 9 p.m. with Tragedy (an all-metal tribute to the Bee Gees) and Johnny Headband. Tickets are $5. For more information, go to or call 718-963-3369.

Video of Corn No on Jimmy Kimmel:


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