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Prozzäk: Who the Heck are They?

Res Publica

July 2001

by Dan Tierney

When I try to comprehend Prozzäk, my brain hurts.

Why?

Prozzäk is one of the hottest acts among teenagers in Canada, rivaling the Backstreet Boys, N’SYNC, and Limp Bizkit in popularity. However, while all those groups consist of real people, Prozzäk does not.

Instead, Prozzäk is an animated duo playing euro-pop-style hits. In real life, the musicians are three former Canadian musicians who couldn’t find commercial success.

It is the most absurd thing I have ever heard of. At the same time, the idea is pure genius.

The Prozzäk story starts in 1994 with the success of the Philosopher Kings. They won a Juno award (i.e. Canadian Grammy) for best new artist, and many critics proclaimed them as "the next big thing." The band specialized in acid jazz, a genre as equally influenced by Pink Floyd as it is by Duke Ellington.

However, the visionary for the Philosopher Kings’ unique sound, leadman Gerald Eaton, alienated his fellow bandmates by refusing to expand the band’s boundaries and sticking to a strict jazz regimen. As a result, the group disbanded after another album that wasn’t even released in the U.S.

As the various members of the Philosopher Kings went, bassist Jason Levine and guitarist James McCollum noticed that the teen pop wave that hit the U.S. was starting to become big in Canada. Being bigger fans of pop music than they were the jazz of their former group, Levine and McCollum wanted to capitalize somehow on the expanding teen market.

They formed Prozzäk, and the formula they created is nothing short of remarkable. Being that 30-year-old guitarists don’t really tug at teenage heartstrings, the duo hired a popular Canadian cartoonist to create animated alter egos. Levine became Simon, an undersized, wide-eyed boy in trendy clothes. McCollum became Milo, a blonde, muscular stud never seen without his guitar.

The duo released their debut, Hot Show, in 1999 to rave reviews. The album was a tale of how Simon tries as hard as he can to find love and favor with the ladies, but fails miserably. The single "Sucks To Be You" became a sensation in Canada, with its humorous lyrics and suave dance-ability.

The latest release, Saturday People, available in Canada and is soon to be released in the States, is a continuing tale of Simon and Milo trying to find love. The first single was the annoyingly catchy "www.nevergetoveryou." The song tells of Simon trying to win a girl over online. The song is intriguing at first, and then gets stuck in your head as if to torture you.

There are a few other gems on Saturday People. "Be As" is an ode to tolerance among teenagers, telling of high school outcasts and their struggles to find love.

"Feed The Night," however, is the true gem of the album. The song is reminiscent of "Sucks to Be You," although this time, with Milo’s help, Simon is getting the ladies. However, "Feed the Night" has an infectious dance beat with seductive vocals that would heat up any dance floor.

The main drawback to Saturday People, though, is Prozzäk’s target audience. Lyrically, Prozzäk has talent, writing probably the most intelligent lyrics fans of teenage pop will ever see. However, the music is obviously suited for fourteen-year-olds. While there are a few songs that appeal to an older audience, Saturday People is better suited for a more childish audience.

While their albums may not be the best in the world, Prozzäk has gained my respect. They are probably the only teenage pop band that have intelligent, creative lyrics, and who also perform the instrumentation on their music. While they may never be a popular band in the U.S., at least Prozzäk is offering Canadians a fresh change of pace.

Dan Tierney is a junior from Cortland, Ohio, majoring in political science and minoring in journalism and electronic media production. He is a music critic for AU’s student newspaper, The Collegian.

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