Jumpin' the Gunne

Jumpin’ the Gunne

I really want to hate this thing. I want to claim that it’s the worst of the worst. 1973 gave us so much that was so wrong. Hyperbolic bombast - Brain Salad Surgery. Early senility rock - Goat’s Head Soup. Opiated suicidal sump-diver sludge - Lou Reed’s Berlin. And Uriah Heep Live. Against such festering slabs of musical offal, how could a one-hit wonder band achieve such singular status?

JoJo Gunne were not incompetent. That might have provided some amusement, like watching a drunken toddler drive an ambulance full of burn victims. The band was in fact cursed by competence. They can make a passable boozed-up yahoo boogie sound with pseudo-funky slide guitar and LA-rock piano stylings.

What makes Jumpin the Gunne so bafflingly awful is the balance it strikes between minimal ability and drug-addled idiocy. I think this album contains third-rate white boy shoogity-boogity, but I’m not sure. I want to claim it’s the worst, but I don’t think I’ll ever truly know. With song titles such as “Monkey Music” and “High School Drool,” it promises something that will at least be offensive. No such luck. My ear drums register the sound, but a nanosecond later, nothing remains.

No matter how I approach it - headphones in a dark room or as party-noise - I literally can’t listen to this album. I don’t mean I run screaming to yank it off the turntable. I mean my brain truly cannot process the sound. JoJo Gunne manages the amazing feat of creating something so profoundly mediocre that almost nothing sticks in my mind.

Then I gaze at the cover and my hopes rise again. Jumpin’ the Gunne should be truly horrible. Some coke-headed cretin decided that showing a hugely obese buck-naked chick magically flying out of bed (where the four Gunne boy are sitting under the covers) would make for solid sales. Better (or worse) yet is the inside of the fold-out sleeve, where again Ms. Corpulence is displayed, on her belly, making kissy faces to a small happy piglet.

All the album credits are written on her naked pink flesh - including the requisite “Made to be played loud” claim and the mysterious acknowledgment “Cowboy pig courtesy Warren Archer.”

The band ‘s only real hit - “Run Run Run” - was the first single I ever bought. It’s tuneful, rollicking and still tickles the tiny bones in my middle ear. But that’s all. Beyond “Run Run Run” JoJo Gunne’s legacy is just vapor and haze, a ghost that floats in the interzone reaches of popcult nowhereland.

Best? Worst? They’re meaningless words. Aesthetic terms are like bits of crusty burnt food and this album is coated with Super-Teflon. It’s beyond, above, outside any categories of judgment. I’m not even positive that the thing actually exists. I can hold the cover in my hands and put the disc on the turntable. I can gaze at the flying porcine bimbo with the inexplicable white ankle-strap platform shoes. I can try to listen and remember, but it’s like light passing through clear glass, or gamma rays passing through my body: no trace is left behind.