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Freaky Friday: Billy and the Boingers

Posted by purplemary54 on February 28, 2014

I saw this on Dangerous Minds today, about Keith Moon guesting on a recording by Doonesbury‘s Rock star character Jimmy Thudpucker, and it got me thinking about my favorite comic strip.  (Although, to be fair, it was already on my mind thanks to today’s Lio.)

Back in the 80s, Bloom County was the funniest, sweetest, most subversive comic strip out there (here’s a sampling).  And no, none of those things are mutually exclusive.  Berke Breathed skewered everybody, including himself.  (He was forced to take several months off when he broke his back skydiving, and he wrote a broken back story into the strip for jerk lawyer Steve Dallas.)  So it made perfect sense when he decided to make fun of the music business by creating a band comprised of several regular characters.

Billy and the Boingers was led by bizarre Garfield spoof Bill the Cat.  They were ostensibly a Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band, but the jokes drew on just about every popular style and artist from the late 80s.  They even recorded a couple of songs.  Opus played tuba.

Well, actually the songs were recorded by a band called Mucky Pup.  This tune, along with “I’m a Boinger”, was available as a flexi disc in the compilation book  Billy and the Boingers Bootleg.  (For the younger readers, a flexi disc was a paper-thin sheet of vinyl that was used as a promotional extra.  They were given away in all sorts of odd places, but usually inserted into books and magazines.)  It was great fun, and really, by hiring an actual band of actual musicians to play the songs, it wasn’t the worst music ever.  It wasn’t going to make the Top Forty, but it was listenable.

I hope you enjoy this little trip down my memory lane.  And look up more Bloom County for yourself.  It’s a bit dated these days, but it’s still one of the best comic strips ever.



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