The Mormons

So I’m watching “Dog, the Bounty Hunter” and my wife walks in with a punk magazine, Razorcake #33, which her brother had lent her. (Anyone interested in the magazine can check out their website.) And she shows me this interview with a band called The Mormons. The interview is by Gus Straub and Amy Adoyzie, and the band mates are Patrick (vocals), Vince (guitars and vocals) and Louie (guitars). In an apparent effort to avoid the rock “fashion show,” they dress up on stage like Mormon missionaries, complete with short-sleeved white shirts, ties, back packs and bike helmets. The interview is a little fuzzy on where they are located, but I think it is Los Angeles. Their website, which includes lots of pictures, is located here. I will type in here part of the introduction and brief excerpts from portions of the interview (having to do with Mormonism).

The idea of dressing like Church of Latter Day Saints missinaries serves two purpses for the Mormons, the band. For one, it’s retty damn funny to see Mormon missionaries rocking their asses off. And two, it’s a big f— you to the idea of rock stars dressing or looking a certain way: the “fashion show.” It can have its drawbacks, like how everybody assumes they really are Mormons, or when they’re accused of religious intolerance. But beyond their use of certain imagery and the analogy of rock bands also being on a mission, the Mormons, the band, aren’t about religion at all. Well, not directly.

****

The Mormons (the band)

Gus: How many of you are current or former members of the Church of Latter Day Saints?
Vince: None of us.
Patrick: Zero.
Gus: So why “The Mormons?”
Patrick: It started out as just an image, just kind of a funny idea that grew into a concept. Basically, we’re just trying to rock out corrrectly, and so we try to break down barriers of playing on stage, that sort of image, all that kind of stuff. We’re not really focusing on anything in particular.
Gus: What exactly is “rocking out correctly”?
Patrick: We don’t know exactly. But we try to do it every night. We try to rock out correctly, because that’s our mission. As Mormons, that’s our mission.

****

The Mormons in action

Gus: Polygamy: sexy? Not sexy?
Vince: You know what? It’s a hassle. Because ijt’s hard enough to be with one woman. I’ve seen this TV show that’s on HBO now and this poor guy has to deal with three female personalities.
Louie: Three wives.
Vince: Yeah. It’s hard enough being with one broad and now you gotta deal with three.
Amy: Why’re you looking at me? What the f—? I ain’t married to you!

****

The Mormons on the move

Vince: So we’re not trying to cap on anybody. We’re just trying to play music and it’s a surreal kinda thing to see Mormons playing rock music. It contradicts itself because the Mormon religion is known as being straight-laced and conservative. In fact, we ran into one guy who was Mormon who said he got kicked out of the church because he listened to Slayer.

****

Gus: In your experience, have you known real Mormons?
Patrick: Most of them that come up to us are real positive.
Gus: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. Are Mormon girls kinda slutty?
Patrick: I don’t think we’ve met too many Mormon girls, or too many girls in general.
Vince: No, you don’t want to say that. We meet a lot of girls. The girls are just crazy about us. We don’t know why.
Amy: It must be the uniform.
Vince: Must be the uniform, which is another reason why we wear it.

Comments

  1. This is a total gimmick, but I think it works. It’s certainly got my interest.

    “In fact, we ran into one guy who was Mormon who said he got kicked out of the church because he listened to Slayer.”

    This is a sign from heaven that it is time for Bob and Logan to bring their blog back.

  2. More importantly, “Dog the Bounty Hunter” is a TIVO favorite in our home. Everyone in our family enjoys it from my seven year old to my fourteen year old. We especially dig Dog’s sermons and prayers. At any given time we have 4-5 episodes available thanks to the miracle of TIVO. Dog is 22 minutes of pure entertainment.

  3. Kevin, you just made my day. These guys are great. A Mormon version of Devo.

    The band and their producer talk more about the name and analogies to Mormonism in this video —

    (As you might expect, their language, is salty in spots, so fair warning.)

  4. They seem harmless enough.

    As long as the real Mormons don’t overreact in an embarassing display of outrage, we should all get along swimmingly.

  5. This is just excellent. The sort of thing that makes me say, wow, I wish I’d thought of that.

  6. It’s a shame they aren’t real mormons and know nothing about real mormons…

    For a real mormon punk band, try foolish pete

    The Lead Singer was my missionary when I joined the church.

  7. It’s hilarious. Though you can tell that these guys are not really Mormons: too many black ties.

  8. I heard about these guys a year or two ago and thought it was kinda lame. Gimmicks wear out quick. I’d check them out live if I had chance, though. Actually, I have had chances and never went, so maybe that’s not true.

    The bit about Slayer is pretty funny. I guess my husband’s gonna be ex-communicated then.

  9. You know why I think they’re trying to buck against the fashion show that is punk/rock music: they’re fat.

    If they were skinny and good-looking they’d nurse at the teats of the skinny legged straight pant.

    They should get a Mormon to advise them. You know, the nuances ties, Doc Martins etc. They did get those short sleeves right though.

    Thanks Kevin, this is so funny.

  10. MikeInWeHo says:

    I was thinking the same thing: Some kindly real Mormon should give them just a little bit of help to make the look perfect. Also, name badges would be really cool.

    This reminds me of how every time I’ve been out and about on Halloween in L.A. or S.F. (each holds a huge street festival), I always see people in Mormon missionary costume. Often they’re quite well done. The name badge always seems to be the hardest part to duplicate.

  11. Kevin Barney says:

    Here’s a BYU News Net article about The Mormons.

  12. There’s also a video you can watch here, if you want to know what they sound like:

    http://ldsfilm.blogspot.com/2006/10/ever-heard-of-mormons.html

  13. This sort of reminds me of a time I was in a record store back in the early 90’s and came across an album of the Utah Saints.

  14. a random John says:

    Vince: No, you don’t want to say that. We meet a lot of girls. The girls are just crazy about us. We don’t know why.
    Amy: It must be the uniform.
    Vince: Must be the uniform, which is another reason why we wear it.

    It was a well known fact in my mission that Playboy Brazil had published a survey in which LDS Missionaries were ranked as the second sexiest profession, with F1 drivers being first (this was the era of Senna), soccer players third, and hollywood actors fourth. I’m telling you that it is the uniform. In fact, I’m surprised that more people haven’t picked up on this fact and used it to their advantage.

    I do wish they had name tags. Elder Guitar, Elder Drums… Elder R. Correctly.

  15. I think they look like limo drivers more than ‘mormons’. Retarded limo drivers, in black ties and helmets. Without a black name-tag clipped to the pocket, you aren’t even an imitation of a mormon missionary, just a wannabe. I like punk music and am not at all interested in hearing this band.

  16. Yeah, if Slayer = getting tossed out, we’ll be seeing you all. Too funny.

  17. Jon in Austin says:

    arj,

    I’d heard vauge references to that survey while in Fortaleza. What is an urban legend or the real deal (and no, I don’t need links :)

  18. Wait a minute, aRJ. Why would missionaries rank #2 in a PlayBOY survey? Playgirl, maybe!

    There’s a heavy metal band called Early Man w/two main members, and there’s a story going around about them being raised in a religious cult. Apparently they discovered some Black Sabbath records in a garbage can, became metalheads, and got kicked out of the cult. It’s brilliant.

    I think The Mormons need a made up backstory like this. You know, like Meg and Jack White being brother and sister. Or are they a divorced couple?

    Too bad they blew it already by admitting they aren’t Mormons.

  19. a random John says:

    Susan M,

    I assume that they conducted a survey of women. I’m unwilling to google to try to find the issue. Several missionaries had xerox copies of the article, and only the article…

    In any case I can assure you that missionaries were well aware of the power of the “uniform” and it was a distraction.

  20. I would be remiss not to point out that the homoerotic undertones of the missionary look (and lifestyle) have been widely discussed for a long time. Many of you may recall a photo exhibit on that theme in SLC that caused a near riot. It wasn’t pornographic at all, but many members found it shocking and blasphemous. This post also reminds me of that. (Can’t find a link to those images at work without risking inappropriate googling though.)

  21. And of course, there is always the movie Orgazmo.

  22. Steve Evans says:

    Mike, there’s nothing inherently homoerotic about dark pants and white shirts. Now, if there is a subculture that has taken this most conservative of dress codes, identified with the most conservative of American religions, and made a homosexual twist on that theme, that doesn’t surprise me. But let’s not confuse the superimposition of these themes with the dress code itself or its original and primary intent.

  23. Right on Steve, and let’s not dredge up anymore pejorative lambastes of missionary life.

  24. MikeInWeHo says:

    My intent was not to be pejorative by mentioning that (think about it). The uniformity and visibility of missionary dress pretty much ensure parody. Personally, I think ya’ll should take it as a compliment. It’s not an attack.

  25. I was thinking the comment after yours was pejorative, but Steve’s comment is still valid.

  26. Steve Evans says:

    Mike, I wasn’t taking it as an attack (even in the case of Orgazmo, really). But your phrasing made it sound like there was something inherent to missionary attire that renders it susceptible to homoerotic interpretation, and I just don’t believe that is correct at all. I don’t get upset at Orgazmo or the SLC homosexual missionary photoshoot or the punk band The Mormons in the least — but I do believe that it is vital for us to remember that these are cultural twists and contrasting superimpositions on the model, and not an essential part of them.

  27. Mike,

    You’ll never convince Steve that the missionary uniform looks anything other than retarded.

    I assure you, he’s quite set in his ways on this point.

  28. Steve Evans says:

    Damn straight, seth.

  29. Blimey.

  30. MikeInWeHo says:

    You know, this thread starting me thinking about brand identity as applied to religion. Really, the Church has created what is probably the most-recognized global religious “brand” in the world. I can’t think of anything else that compares. It’s hard to imagine anybody forming a band called the Seventh-Day Adventists or dressing up like Jehovah’s Witnesses on Halloween (although I do find them a little scary). And goodness knows there’s nothing even vaguely sexy about the Southern Baptists.

  31. Contributing to MikeinWeHo’s threadjack: I recently heard that Boyd K. Packer doesn’t like the word branding, but that the Church has a new market strategy that is going to replace the homefront series titled Truth Restored, with blurbs like:

    “God has a body. If this is true, what else is true?”

  32. By the way, it should be “Latter-day Saints”

  33. MikeInWeHo:

    What about the hijab, kippah, habit, priest’s collar?

  34. Steve Evans says:

    Jacob, you stickler. Just be happy we aren’t saying Mormons all the time.

  35. MikeInWeHo says:

    Maria,

    None of those are as clearly and universally recognized as the missionaries. A white band collar likely signifies a Roman Catholic priest, but this is easily confused with an Episcopal priest, Lutheran minister, etc. Let’s not even start on hijab vs burqa, etc. Nobody mistakes an LDS missionary for anything else, and that’s good.

    At least the LDS generally take it in good humor when people parody their brand. Imagine the reaction if an all-female band desided to wear full burqas and call themselves The Muslims !

  36. Mike,

    That’s because we understand that “keeping a low profile” is the best way to subvert and infiltrate all positions of influence and power in society and government.

    Our time shall come. Just you wait.

  37. “Nobody mistakes an LDS missionary for anything else…”

    This may be true in the US, but in my mission (Portugal, mid 90s), we were frequently mistaken for the CIA.

  38. hardlyperfect says:

    Yeah, right…no homo undertones with the missionary dress code. Those of us who have served can vouch that NEVER were there any homosexual tendencies expressed by any Elder at any time. Especially the companion that replaced our shower curtain with a clear one, in our one bath apartment we shared with four other Elders. Or the one who I would awaken to find staring at me at odd hours of the night. Or the district that preferred to meet in the buff on P-days for breakfast or pose in the full moon district shot in the MTC showers. No, definitely not .

  39. hardlyperfect, there is a world of difference between saying there are homosexual undertones indelibly linked with missionary attire, and saying that there are occasional homosexual tendencies among missionaries. I am surprised that you don’t make that distinction.

  40. I’m thinking “missionary uniform? what missionary uniform?” In some of the anti-Yanqui parts of South America, during the gulf war, we were told to wear civvies while proselyting. And our teaching numbers went up.

  41. hardlyperfect says:

    To clarify for you, Steve, I was only stating that if nonmembers have any reason to suspect the occasional fruit in the nut can….there is some credible grounds for that assumption. And yes, I think that two guys dressing alike, spending night and day together, kinda looks gay. I would probably make the same assumption, based on their knowledge.

  42. They’re Fat and Ugly

  43. MikeInWeHo , Can you imagine??? A female band dressed in burqas! I think that is HILARIOUS.
    The “mormons” are funny, if they have talent then their gimmick will help them if not they’ll disapear pretty soon.

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