Gather ’round, children, and I’ll tell you how we got here, to this time of peace, prosperity, universal human respect, and free bacon for everyone who wants it. It wasn’t always like this, you know. In fact, it hasn’t been like this for very long. When did things change, you ask? Why, I’ll tell you when things changed…
It all started back in 1986, a time of great turmoil around the world. Hair metal was sweeping the globe and leaving a toxic trail of hair products in its wake. America was ruled by a senile actor President who saw Star Wars and thought a Death Star would be just an okey-dokey thing to build to shoot down Russian missiles. Due mostly to the exchange rate, things were less awful in Montreal, a city built on cocaine lasers (though nobody knew this at the time). This was why Montreal was chosen to host Expo 86, which is Canadian for “The 1986 World’s Fair.” People from around the world had gathered in Montreal to discuss transportation and communication; I know that sounds dull, but you have to remember that this was back before World’s Fairs were the orgies of music and, well, orgies that they are today. Things were so bleak in 1986 that, in order to break the monotony, people had to gather and talk about cars and phones. Sure, there was entertainment – Miles Davis even played the Expo. But Miles was aging fast – it was hard work being cool in the 80s and the effort would lead to Davis’s death in 1991, at the tender age of 64.
The Expo was going about how those things went when there was a sudden explosion at the Labatt’s Expo Theatre. The good news was that the explosion instantly killed Loverboy. The better news was that two men in new tuxedos emerged from the fire and smoke, one carrying a synthesizer and the other wielding an electric guitar. They led a pack of wild dogs, one of whom was a particularly badass drummer.
“People of 1986,” said the synthesizer guy, “I am Spencer Krug. My friend Dan Boeckner and I have come from the future to save the earth from shitty music. Do not be sad that Loverboy has perished in the conflagration that heralded our coming – Loverboy is not how the 1980s should sound. This is how the 1980s should sound.” With that, Krug and the band set up and launched immediately into a song called “Cave-O-Sapien,” a musical breath of fresh air that blew the blouses right off the young women in the crowd. Upon hearing Krug sing, “Bow your head into the wind/ my Cave-o-sapien,” Amy Grant renounced Christianity, stripped down to the buff and began grinding furiously against Princess Diana. Vice President George Bush tried to call in an air strike to stop the madness, but Johnny Cash garroted him with a guitar string, muttering, “Now I have killed a man just to watch him die.”
Next, it was Dan Boeckner’s turn to lead the band in a song called “Pobody’s Nerfect.” When Bockner sang, “I just don’t know how to stop it all,” the people realized that they didn’t know how to stop it at all. And hey, if “it” was “rock ‘n’ roll”, they didn’t really want to stop it. After Boeckner finished, a timid Bryan Adams approached, holding a Fender Stratocaster upside down. “I play guitar too,” Adams offered hopefully. Dan Boeckner punched him in the face and launched into “Yulia,” a tale of a cosmonaut left to rot in space – a “Space Oddity” with a twist of late Cold War alienation.
The crowd was in a frenzy. Miles Davis and Jacques Cousteau built a bonfire out of reefer and the smell of good weed permeated the air. A man who had, of his own volition, tattooed “This Heart’s On Fire” on his chest with blood from Bryan Adams’s broken nose yelled out between songs, “Who are you?”
Krug and Boeckner shouted, in unison, “We are Wolf Parade. We have traveled back in time to correct the mistakes of the early 1980s and usher in an era of musical bliss, world peace, and – perhaps most importantly – free bacon for anybody who wants it.” The crowd liked the sound of this and were quite impressed that two men could say so much and stay so perfectly in unison.
Wolf Parade began to play again. When Krug sang, “Oh You, Old Thing,” the crowd remembered Young Americans-era David Bowie, which led them to think of the many people who gained magical powers from sleeping with David Bowie – namely Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. And that led them to remember that this rock ‘n’ roll stuff wasn’t new and that no amount of hair product and gimmickry can replace good, old-fashioned rocking out until you break yourself. When Krug sang, “I can see into the future,” people had spontaneous visions of bands like the Hold Steady, the Screaming Females, and the Thermals and swore blood oaths to destroy their Motley Crue and Bon Jovi albums when they got home. The more Wolf Parade played, the more people realized that synthesizers don’t have to be used for evil.
The spirit of good will and raw sexual energy of the Wolf Parade Incident at Expo 86 spread out across the North American continent and then, unrestrained by borders of land or sea, it spread across the world. In England, Andrew Lloyd Webber was jailed until he promised to stop composing inane musicals. After 12 years in jail, Webber agreed and went on to a successful career as a certified public accountant. The Chinese government freed Tibet, the Berlin Wall came down, and Ronald Reagan stopped ignoring AIDS and poor people. The Chicago Cubs, fueled by the awesome power of improved 80s music, won an unprecedented five straight World Series, from 1986 to 1991. Upon his death in that same year, Miles Davis’s face was carved into Mt. Rushmore by order of America’s greatest president, Kurt Vonnegut. A rather obscure novelist at the time of his election, Mr. Vonnegut went on to negotiate a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine (in a trilateral agreement with Canada, President Vonnegut was able to promise both nations first crack at new Wolf Parade albums, a full week before the street date in the rest of the world) before signing the “What the Fuck Were We Thinking” Treaty of 1992 that led to the nuclear free world that your generation now takes for granted.
And all that because Wolf Parade recognized that the 80s could’ve sounded a lot better and had the balls to go back in time and do something about it. What’s that? You don’t believe me? If none of the stuff I just said happened, then why is there a Wolf Parade album called Expo 86 that documents the whole thing? Answer me that, you little smartasses! And get me some fucking bacon!