Although a couple of spins through Bofa Deez, the debut CD from Chick Pimp, Coke Dealer at a Bar, will inspire a good many questions, one look at the cover generates the logical first one: What the hell is up with the name?
"We started jamming as a three piece improv, and people were like, 'You should play our party or this bar,' and we started playing out before we even had a name," says Chick Pimp keyboardist Nick Mitchell over beers at Arlin's outdoor patio in Clifton. "It was one of those things where you're sitting at a bar and anything else doesn't make sense. We say one thing and it leads to this and next thing you know, our buddy Davey says, 'You should be called Chick Pimp comma Coke Dealer at a Bar.' And we were like, 'Sure, whatever.' "
"It was kind of a joke the first week, then we ended up making a MySpace page," says drummer/turntablist Cole Brokamp, known also as DJ Stump. "We were like, 'It's legit now, we're in.' We just stuck with it."
"It's good to have a name that you know nobody else has," says Mitchell. "It's truly distinguished.
It's like having a 24-letter password — you know nobody's going to crack that."
Chick Pimp has actually been around for some time, side gigging while Mitchell and bassist Shane Wingert were still active as The Terrors four years ago. With the dissolution of The Terrors at the end of 2005, Chick Pimp became the viable alternative.
"It really started to accelerate when the Terrors broke up and I still wanted to play shows," says Mitchell.
Chick Pimp's core trio, along with saxophonist/flautist Dave Frank (who the band has only corresponded with electronically and who has been replaced with the one-named and intensely talented Bruce) and a host of other musical guests, have been working on Bofa Deez since the band became official more than two years ago. The lineup shifted when Wingert abruptly moved to Hawaii and Brokamp called longtime friend Dave Sweitzer to fill the bass void.
"We did the basic tracks for the album over a year ago and Shane had cut the tracks, and then he up and moved," says Brokamp. "I called David, because I've been playing with him since seventh grade. The first thing we did was the seventh grade talent show."
"We did 'Smells Like Teen Spirit,' " says Sweitzer with a laugh. "I played bass on that, then switched to guitar."
"David can play anything," says Brokamp. "We've played in Ska bands, Punk bands, crazy Rock bands."
Bofa Deez took awhile to finish because, by their own admission, there wasn't a huge motivation for them to complete it. And the two creative paths that Chick Pimp was following — Brokamp's home laptop recordings and Mitchell's electronic methodology — were originally envisioned as separate entities until being combined into one concept.
"That's why it's called Bofa Deez," says Brokamp. "Because it's like two different discs incorporated into one."
"Like two testicles," says Mitchell with a wry smile. "It's just another one of those things that doesn't make any sense, just a bunch of ideas that flow into each other."
Although the band is just now distributing Bofa Deez, Chick Pimp has already largely moved beyond the material on the album, including their Electronic/Gypsy Jazz reading of the Mars Volta's "Miranda, That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore."
"It's to the point where we spent so much time on that album that we're already halfway through the next two albums," says Mitchell. "The next album is almost finished. We don't even play a lot of the songs on the first album live anymore."
In that regard, Bofa Deez has become an odd artifact for Chick Pimp's fans, who miss hearing the album's songs live. And it's easy to see why. Bofa Deez is a mad sonic collage comprised of any number of disparate sources, resulting in a style that could be described as Middle European Hillbilly Hip Hop Electronic Jazz Prog Fusion. And that may only be scratching the surface.
"I like that," says Brokamp. "It's so weird when people ask us what kind of music we play, we're like, 'Uh ...' Maybe Folk, but as soon as you say it, no, that's not it."
"We have no idea what to tell people," concurs Mitchell. "We all have a lot of Hip Hop influences. It's not like Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash. It's Jazz but it's not like Thelonius Monk. I think the strength of our band is that none of us really knows what our sound is, so if anybody comes to the group and says, 'We should call this Jazz traditional' or 'Let's do this funky twist,' everyone else is like, 'Sure, why not?' There are really no lines to draw."
CHICK PIMP, COKE DEALER AT A BAR (myspace.com/chickpimpcokedealeratabar) plays the MidPoint Music Festival Sept. 26 at Arnold's.