Eddie Argos on ‘Spoiler Alert!’ and the Challenge of Writing Songs about the Justice League [Interview]
It’s no secret that here at ComicsAlliance, we’re pretty big fans of good comic book-related music that caters to our geeky tastes, whether it’s the rock ‘n’ roll of Kirby Krackle, the hip-hop of Adam Warrock, or even an entire concept album devoted to Spider-Man. We can’t get enough of it, and that’s why we were particularly interested in “Spoiler Alert!” and their new self-titled EP, which transforms the origins of Batman, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold into catchy pop tunes.
The secret identities of the three members of Spoiler Alert! have yet to be revealed to the public, but their lead singer sounds an awful lot like Eddie Argos, noted comic fan and the frontman for indie bands Art Brut and Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now!. I decided to put on my Lois Lane hat and see if I couldn’t get a few answers from him about the songs of “Spoiler Alert!” and the challenge of working the events of “Infinite Crisis” into a pop song.
ComicsAlliance: You’re a pretty busy guy with Art Brut and Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now!, so what was it that made you want to take the time to write songs about super-heroes?
Eddie Argos: I just wish a band like Spoiler Alert! had existed before. You’d think there would be loads of bands singing about the complicated and ever shifting continuity of the DC Universe, as it’s such a rich mine for song writing. I think its also useful if, say, you wanted to read a Booster Gold or Blue Beetle comic and didn’t know much about the character. Its like musical Cliff’s Notes so you can catch up quickly and then jump straight in.
CA: Were the other members of the band fans as well, or did they take some convincing to get them playing songs about Batman?
EA: People seem to think Spoiler Alert! is me, Dyan Valdes and Keith TOTP. If that were the case (and I’m not saying it is) Keith is a massive comic book fan and we share a pretty extensive library of DC Comics. Dyan has been going out with me for nearly 4 years now, so has by default had to become a bit of a comic book fan.
CA: You’ve done a few songs about comics before. What was the reaction to those? Was there a big overlap between Art Brut fans and comics fans already?
EA: I didn’t realize that there was a big crossover until after we released “DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake” and people started talking to me about comics at shows. But when you think about it, it makes sense. DC Comics and chocolate milkshakes are awesome, everybody likes them. Any band could have released that song and found an overlap.
CA: How did Batman, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold end up on the Spoiler Alert EP? Was it kicking off an alphabetical list, or did a copy of Who’s Who #2 crash through your window one night?
EA: Spoiler Alert!’s original plan was to write a song for every member of the [Justice League International] and release it as an album. I think that’s still their plan, but instead of a full album they are going to release them as separate EPs.
CA: In Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now!, you did songs that were direct responses to other pop songs, like “G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N.,” which was told from perspective of Avril Lavigne’s object of affection in “Girlfriend,” and basically called her out for being completely insane in that song. Have you ever considered doing response songs for comic book stories?
EA: Ha Ha. Everybody Was In The French Resistance…Now! and Spoiler Alert! are already pretty niche markets. I think if the two were combined we’d end up selling just one copy of whatever fruits it bore. Although saying that, it might be an interesting way to make one new really intense friend.
CA: Your song about Blue Beetle has to go through three generations of legacy characters and involves the Rock of Eternity, but for complexity, your Booster Gold song blows it away. I’m pretty sure it’s the only pop song I’ve ever heard that involves time travel, “Armageddon 2001,” “Extreme Justice” and the 52-world multiverse. Was it hard to work that all into a song, or was it part of the fun?
EA: Who hasn’t dreamed of one day writing a song that references all those things? Like I said before, I’m surprised there haven’t been more songs written about DC Continuity. I think it should be an established genre of music. Spoiler Alert! had a lot of fun writing those lyrics I’m sure, even if it was a lot of hard work.
CA: Is there any character that’s too complex to work in a song? I imagine Hawkman, for instance, would probably require an entire rock opera.
EA: Spoiler Alert! are already talking about writing a Hawkman song. I think the chorus would just be “Hawkman or Hawkmen? Hawkman Or Hawkmen?” over and over again.
CA: The EP’s still pretty new, but have you heard from anyone at DC? I can’t imagine guys like Keith Giffen or Geoff Johns not liking the Booster Gold song.
EA: I’d love to hear what Geoff Johns, Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens think of the song. I’ve heard from Jeff Katz, who wrote Booster Gold with Geoff Johns, who said and I quote “Dude, that Booster Gold song is incredible” Jeff Lemire sent me a message too that just said “Amazing.”
If Spoiler Alert! were ever going to release a CD those are the quotes they’d have on a sticker on the cover.
CA: Are there any plans for more Spoiler Alert songs, or was this just a one-shot?
EA: If Spoiler Alert! can get some more studio time they’d definitely like to make another EP. Ideally they’d release one a month but I don’t think that’s possible.
CA: Aside from your own, do you have any particular favorite songs about super-heroes?
EA: I like the Weird Al Yankovich song about Spider-Man that’s set to the tune of “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. Although I think Weird Al is joking about with his song and it’s about a Marvel character, so in my eyes he loses points for that.
The three-song Spoiler Alert! EP is available as a download now on a pay-what-you-want model with a suggested price of £2, which according to PayPal’s currency converter works out to a little over $3.00. And I totally think it’s worth it, if only for the awesomely out-of-nowhere last line of the Batman track.