The Inactivists explain the War on Jazz Hands
Depending on what you think the proper role of a real musician might be or what a real musician is or looks like, the Inactivists (due at the Walnut Room tonight) might either be the ultimate novelty act or an inspired conspiracy of talented artists with a shared love of warped humor.
Whichever the case, the outfit has a knack for penning incredibly catchy songs that creep back up on you in unguarded moments, not just because they're funny, but because the music is genuinely inventive and well-crafted. Curiously operating on the fringe of the local underground scene, the Inactivists have garnered high praise for bringing together musical virtuosity and a keen sense of the absurd.
As one of the founding bands of the Denver Art Rock Collective, the Inactivists have carved out a niche for themselves among people who appreciate smart, challenging yet accessible music that doesn't dumb itself down to the expectations of people who have to have their art spoonfed to them. The group's latest release, The War on Jazz Hands, is a looser affair than previous efforts, but it also represents the sound of a band having fun and not stressing so much on the end product.
Before the album was recorded, primary songwriter Scot Livingston shopped out his demos to several different companies that take songs sent to them to interpret and record. This resulted in some hilarious versions of each song on the record, and it comes as a free download with the purchase of the album.
In advance of their CD-release show tonight at the Walnut Room, we spoke with the bandmembers about their musical backgrounds and the story behind the vanity recordings that make up Volume Two of The War on Jazz Hands.