Errata Literary Magazine

Bucks County Writers Workshop

Music Review for National Public Radio

Rotten Mock Turtle Eggs

by Rock Critic Don Swaim

Thanks, Terry. Like, something humongous is happening in the suburban tract community of Schechterberg, Pennsylvania, and its awesome musical reverberations in the Northwest indie scene may soon be felt as far away as Camden, New Jersey. Schechterberg is ripening into the capital of the heretofore little known musical rage known as itchno crud, a post punk, post sludge, post grunge, post surf, post psychedelic, post ambient, post techno, post ska, post sports metal form of rock now churning Schechterberg like a whirlwind. Like, the unmatched practitioner of itchno crud is the eccentric but vital Rotten Mock Turtle Eggs, an unprecedented aggregate that developed from its previous carnation, Filthy Muck Sewage, and whose even earlier origins can be traced to the band Pink Leech (about which more later).

National Public Radio sent this reporter to Schechterberg to see and hear for himself the itchno crud phenomenon and to interview its creators. I did not return to Philadelphia from this unlikely music capital unscathed and unmoved following my appraisal of the trio, excellent innovative geniuses each: Eddy (Rabbit) Coyner on electric guitar, washboard, and jew's harp; Benny Drozd on bass, timpani, and gong; and Shawn Felucca on drums, ukulele, and pennywhistle. The group frequently instrument swapped, with Benny Drozd on bass, guitar, and drums; Eddy (Rabbit) Coyner on timpani, gong, and ukulele; and Shawn Felucca on pennywhistle, washboard, and jew's harp. Occasionally Benny Drozd would play ukulele, jew's harp, and washboard; Eddy (Rabbit) Coyner bass, pennywhistle, and drums; and Shawn Felucca timpani, gong, and electric guitar.

Terry, your NPR reporter found himself dazzled and in awe while witnessing a personal concert by Rotten Mock Turtle Eggs in the garage of the father of Benny Drozd, a venue that also serves as the trio's rehearsal hall, despite the oil on the cement and the scattered spare auto parts. The blend of electric, acoustic, percussion, and wind was, like, awesome, although Drozd occasionally forgot the C chord fingering on his guitar, Eddy (Rabbit) Coyner's gong solo somehow lacked spirit, while Shawn Felucca would occasionally lose the beat on his snare drum.

Quibbling aside, the group's repertoire is a peerless representation of the itchno crud wonder. The band's original work--primarily by Eddy (Rabbit) Coyner, the band's guiding spirit and creator--includes such material as "Seventh Grade Shame," "Ugly Fizz Dregs," "Four Genital Waarts," and "Discharge Dullards Red Part One," all classics of the genre. Rabbit's funkified guitar rifts offer a healthy serving of angst. Like, the band's angular, staccato metallic breaks bring to mind the work of the recent hard-rock chart-toppers Urethra. Rotten Mock Turtle Eggs also cleverly evolves a crucial metal/hip-hop connection in the heavily syncopated breast-thumper "Unclean Lice." Shawn Felucca, the primary vocalist, blends Bruce Springtseenesque melody, a Mills Brothers smile, and a Pearl Jam scowl on the classic, "Waste Drum Angel," despite an occasional pubertal voice deviation. The lyrics, all composed by Rabbit, vacillate between cliquish rants and plainspoken vituperation, with Schechterberg High School and its teachers the predominate focus.

Rotten Mock Turtle Eggs eclipes the artful decadence of the elders David Bowie, Lou Reed, Pat Boone, and Iggy Pop and surmounts the genre, a billion times more erotic than any net porn detected by Yahoo! Indeed, one many find lush and melancholy, yes, opiated suggestions of, like, Nietzsche, Baudelair, Spiderman, and Flaubert. Imagine, on a microcosmic scale, the explosion of a billion suns, transcending the universe, and carrying one to new and unmet horizons. Itchno crud displays the dreamless possibilities of a never tomorrow, a millennially tuned expression of a brave prehistory that eclipses the obsolete. The band's alt-metal numbers may be a trifle slow, fundamental, and melodramatic for my taste, but I cheer the punky momentum of the idiosyncratic but vibrant "Caged Hamster Balls."

Terry, unlike many of the band's craven confreres, Rotten Mock Turtle Eggs has delved below the sound and fury without sacrificing rock 'n' roll passion for punk intellect. The Eggs are an inspired homage to the bands that have influenced them: significantly the Offal Kings--and more than a trace of the Psychotics, M4P, Raw, Compos Mentis, Van Glint, Number Two, Sludge Vomit, Splotch, and particularly the ground-breaking work of Gangrene. It is clear that the Eggs are attempting to, like, you know, rewrite rock music history with their unflagging mix of melodic madness, mad melody, anguished harmony, harmonious anguish, tormented joy, and joyful torment. Not since the pioneering chef-oeuvre of the now departed, ill-fated Blemished Cheeks has this been accomplished.

Eggs' founding spirit and elder, Eddy (Rabbit) Coyner, formed his first group with his sister, Corrine, calling their band The Bow Wows, with Rabbit at the acoustic guitar, his sister on trombone. Rabbit was eight, Corrine six. But personality problems between the siblings forced the band's premature demise and Rabbit struck out as a solo act until he formed Pink Leech, along with the next door Metucci brothers. Pink Leech survived a mere two weeks, when the Metucci brothers' father moved the family to Pittsburgh. Rabbit then joined the band Filthy Muck Sewage, a regrettable experience he now views as a way stop. Filthy Muck Sewage broke up when its two primary members flunked from high school and relocated to Atlantic City to work as casino kitchen employees. Briefly, Rabbit revived the Bow Woos, with his then girlfriend Patti on trombone, but the band faltered when Patti was grounded by her mother. It was then that Rabbit formed Rotten Mock Turtle Eggs, and actively sought to recruit Benny Drozd and Shawn Felucca. Benny's musical background is slightly less extensive than his mentor's, Drozd picking up the bass for the first time six months ago. Shawn Felucca, the youngest member of the Eggs, learned the pennywhistle after he received the instrument as a birthday gift from his Aunt Nada four years ago when he was ten. He later graduated to the snare drum, but pennywhistle is his instrument of choice.

Rabbit admits that his selection of a name for the band was whimsical, Rotten being a tribute to his late idol, Johnny; Mock Turtle stemming from a reference in some book (he doesn't recall the title) he'd been forced to read when he was eight; and Eggs from a dictionary term meaning to provoke, as in "egg on."

Currently Rotten Mock Turtle Eggs is playing, like, gigs in and around Schechterberg, the band's last public performance following the juggler during the Downtown Sales Day street fair. The Eggs are hampered by Shawn Felucca's curfew (he must be in by eight), and by the fact that both Coyner and Drozd work part time drying cars at the carwash in Quakertown after school and on Saturdays.

Rabbit tells NPR that the goal of his music is as much to make a statement as it is to achieve a musical luminescence. To what heights he'll lead the band once he graduates from high school is anybody's guess. For now, however, the members of the Rotten Mock Turtle Eggs are content to stand their ground, explore new Terrytory with phosphorescent virtuosity, defy convention, and enchant the unenchanted. The group is also considering any number of recording offers (Rabbit refused to say how many) but is not willing to compromise as it perfects its mastery of itchno crud. "We ain't going to rush into nothing," Rabbit tells this reporter.

In some far flung future too distant for mortal projections, itchno crud may be written off as a nostalgic antiquity, prehistoric, and passe, but to this reporter it is of watershed significance. Indeed, something is happening in Schechterberg, where a one car garage on Vine Street may one day stand as a divine monument to the musical movement of the millennium. National Public Radio will continue to stay abreast, not only of this dynamic musical phenomenon but of the virtuoso musicians behind it. Back to you, Terry.

Bucks County Writers Workshop