It has taken 50 long years for the Electric Mayhem Band to record their first studio album, a process that’s being chronicled in the new Disney+ series The Muppets Mayhem. The veteran felt rockers have been late bloomers in general: It wasn’t until 2016 that Dr. Teeth, Animal, Floyd Pepper, Janice, Zoot, and Lips even made their live concert debut, at San Francisco’s Outside Lands festival. And the timing of their new LP is interesting, considering that pop and hip-hop currently dominate the charts and streaming services, and many pundits claim that “rock is dead.”
However, speaking ahead of The Muppets Mayhem’s premiere, bandleader/keyboardist/vocalist Dr. Teeth assures Yahoo Entertainment, “Rumors of rock’s demise are greatly exaggerated. There ain’t no way rock could’ve bought the farm, since we’ve been keeping it kicking consistently for decades!”
“I don’t think rock can ever die. It’s timeless genre that keeps evolving and keeps attracting new fans,” adds bassist Floyd.
“Oh, fer sure,” says Janice. “And I, like, totally think our album will give rock an amazing new lease on life.” The record features originals written by super-producer Linda Perry, of 4 Non Blondes fame, as well as covers of Beach Boys, Cyndi Lauper, KISS, Simon & Garfunkel, and John Hiatt classics.
“Rock rock rock ROCK!” shouts drummer Animal, summing up the long-running band’s philosophy, while Teeth points out, “Animal is never gonna stop rawkin’.”
Animal shoots down decades-old rumors that he based his ferocious drumming style on the Who’s Keith Moon, Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, or maybe Cream’s Ginger Baker, answering, “Ham? Bon? Drum style? No, no! Drum style [is] Animal style!”
“Animal is the original, you know what I’m saying?” Floyd clarifies, to which Teeth adds, “Yeah, indeed. You know, in fact, I believe that inspirational order is flipped: Have you ever laid eyes on a drummer that hasn’t been influenced by our beloved beast of burden?”
“Yeah! Animal good influence!” yells the hairy red rhythm-keeper.
Janice, as a woman in rock who started out in the ‘70s and played lead guitar, didn’t have many female peers back in the day. But she cites “like, totally amazing, really groovy role models,” including Tina Turner, Debbie Harry, Linda Ronstadt, Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, “and oh, Ladybird Johnson, fer sure!” (When Floyd points out that Ladybird Johnson wasn’t a musician, Janice explains, “Like totally, but she was, like, such a role model, you know?”)
There’s no doubt that, like Animal, Janice inspired an entire generation, especially a generation of young girls, to pursue music (and maybe even pick up a guitar after watching her shred on The Muppet Show). But when Yahoo Entertainment asks her to share stories of female artists who’ve name-checked her as an influence, Janice humbly answers, “Well, like, most recently I saw an artist who made a totally amazing design in the foam of my vegan half-caff double soy latte this morning. She’s, like, a real trailblazer.”
Over the years, Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem have worked with everyone from Alice Cooper and Janice’s aforementioned heroine Debbie Harry to Miley Cyrus and Weezer, and The Muppets Mayhem series will feature wide-ranging musical cameos that demonstrate the band’s universal appeal, including Chris Stapleton, Kesha, Lil Nas X, the Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, the Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs, Ziggy Marley, Zedd, Paula Abdul, Steve Aoki, the puppet-headed deadmau5, and certainly one drummer who would cite Animal as a major influence, Tommy Lee. But Floyd says he and his bandmates have “a list of dream collaborators 15 miles long,” so it seems like they’re already making up for lost time, looking ahead to recording their all-star follow-up album and avoiding that dreaded sophomore slump.
“Oh, for sure,” says Janice, revealing that she’d love to work with Olivia Rodrigo, Harry Styles, Lizzo, Taylor Swift, and Bruno Mars, while Teeth’s wish list includes Bono, the Weeknd, Stevie Wonder, and even Sir Paul McCartney. Can you picture that? It’s time to play the music and light the lights, indeed.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
Follow Lyndsey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon