Pleaseeasaur :: Craziest show ever
It's safe to say that without the abominable-snowman suit, we'd care little about J.P. Hasson's beef-flavored island. Or the transparency projections lauding its existence.
Or the mock-infomercial jingles about pizza guys, the impromptu appearance of a grownup "Voltron" character on his stage, or anything else that springs from the cranium of the Seattle musician, aka Pleaseeasaur.
Pleaseeasaur, Sunset Riders
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3
Viking Union, room 350
Western Washington University
"If that helps people enjoy themselves, so be it," Hasson says. "The more we seem to add, the more it seems to work. Pleaseeasaur is Pleaseeasaur."
If you're unacquainted, its performance at 8 p.m. Friday at Western Washington University's Underground Coffeehouse will be the most lasting image you'll encounter all week.
For the better part of a decade, the Poulsbo native has spazzed around in said Bigfoot garb half-singing material that makes Weird Al's shtick look absolutely logical. Pleaseeasaur is but one of a species of quirky white dudes who play up the lamest of na´ve novelties well past normal bounds of self-deprecation for the enjoyment of some of the nation's more cynical youth. See Har Mar Superstar, Quintron and Elton John 1973-1984; late-2004.
For Hasson, it started at age 16, when his dad - an artist himself, seen at www.peterhasson.com - gave young John-Peter a sequencer. Hasson improvised tapes, passed them around school and eventually landed in the loving arms of Philadelphia jokester-punks The Dead Milkmen, which counted Hasson a fan.
After forming a group with Milkman Joe Talcum, Hasson ended up returning to Seattle, where he tried his hand at his old, '80s-reverent DAT songs - influenced by the infomercials he caught late at night growing up and, at times, an island that tastes like beef.
He toured, sans costume.
"It was really bad," Hasson says.
Then he performed in an Evil Knievel jumpsuit.
"That was pretty bad, too," he says. "By not getting what you want, you sit down and say, 'Why is this not interesting?'"
Enter friend Thomas Hurley, a costume designer. One day Hasson blurted "I want an abominable-snowman costume," and he got one. Add hand-drawn transparency projections, often related to Pleaseeasaur's wide-eyed narratives and shown during his songs like filmstrips back in The Day, and voila.
"It was brilliant," Hasson says. "The abominable snowman has no correlation to any song or anything, so we're free to do whatever we want. Costumes don't have to represent the songs or anything."
And so Pleaseeasaur has fought off extinction, releasing a number of CDs and EPs, most recently 2003's "The Yellow Pages." He's touring Japan and Australia early next year and has drawn mates from ex-Guns-'n' Roses guitarist Buckethead to slowcore band Black Heart Procession, with whom Pleaseeasaur trades cover songs on an upcoming single.
If it all seems absurdly juvenile, well, yeah, that's sorta the point. It's also fitting: Hasson was voted class clown of his North Kitsap High School graduating class.
"I was just one of the 'weird' guys," he says. "But it's such a weird community anyway, being so small.
"There's something about growing up over there that makes people either sink or swim. It's a matter of being crazy and surviving, or being crazy and going to prison."