Music: Unextraordinary Gentlemen
The band, with a couple of "friends"...
Unextraordinary Gentlemen (UXG) is a musical project formed in Los Angeles in 2005 by bassist/keyboardist Richard Pilawski & vocalist/lyricist Eric Schreeck to "...explore our love for post-punk, synth-pop, industrial & experimental music combined with the literary genre of Victorian fantasy." The project went public in early 2007, joined by Jennifer Pomerantz on violin. The band's name is a tongue-in-cheek nod to Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
. UXG has been called one of the "foremost of the musical assets of steampunk".
The band has created a back-story set in a fictional area based on a mixture of Victorian England
and the American Old West
, with the band members taking on alternate identities that relate to that back-story. In character, the band members are time travellers who have come from that past using one of Professor Mangrove's amazing inventions. Most of their songs are set in and tell stories about this fictional 19th century place, sung from the points-of-view of characters like "Clive the Barker", "Dread Penny" and "Elwood Lovekraken". A page on their website
contains "The Unextraordinary Encyclopedia", a list of names, places and events in this fictional world that are referred to in their music.
Current band members:
- Eric "Malcom" Schreeck - vocals, lyrics
- Richard "Professor Mangrove" Pilawski - bass
- Jennifer "J. Frances" Pomerantz - violin
- The Indifference Engine - their rhythm/sequencer machine
UXG provides examples of:
- The Barker: Their song, "Clive The Barker." Schreeck often plays the role of a barker in their stage performances, especially during their song, "Mr. Soot's Black Book."
- The Big Guy: Prof. Mangrove stands a good head taller than the rest. According to quite a few sources, he's fully seven feet.
- Crossdresser: Jennifer Pomerantz dresses in male attire in the group, as she is one of the "gentlemen". Or is she? According to their backstory, "This enigmatic gentleman’s public appearance ... coincided with the disappearance of Jennifer Devlin, a wealthy photographer’s daughter.")
- Dark Wave
- Goth Rock
- Lyrical Dissonance: If you listen to the words, they're actually rather depressing, despite being set to very danceable music. Subjects set to often-upbeat synthpop include a traveling brothel, an undead assassin, a suicidal airship pilot contemplating his fate, a gang of bar patrons drowning their sorrows, and a disease-ridden gutter town.
- Mad Science: In their backstory, Prof. Mangrove built a Time Machine, which explains the bands presence in the present day.
- Nice Hat: Prof. Mangrove and J. Frances Pomerantz wear top hats, Malcom Schreeck sports a Dashingly Dapper Derby. (Or a Dastardly Derby, one can never really tell...)
- Spoken Word in Music: The end of their song, "Mr Soot's Little Black Book:"
"Come on, boys—and girls—enjoy! Mr. Soot's Traveling Parade of Pulchritude! You will see such delights as you have never witnessed before. Come on, now, form a proper queue, that's right...if you have the money, we have the honey! Behind these curtains you will see a frolicsome view that will leave your toes a-tingling and you brain aflame with desire!"
- Time Machine: See Mad Science.