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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Warp 11

Boldly Go Down On Me

Review by Rick Damigella

Star Trek as a franchise celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2006. Hardcore Star Trek fans, commonly known as Trekkies, have likely seen the two documentaries on their fandom which share their name. The second of these, Trekkies 2, featured a look at the Northern California Star Trek tribute band scene. Of these bands, one that stands out with its look and sound is Warp 11. This four piece consists of Captain Karl Miller on vocals and bass, Chief Medical Officer Jeff Hewitt, drums, Chief Engineer Brian Moore, guitars and Kiki Stockhammer (Yes, the Kiki Stockhammer who was well known on the technology evangelist circuit during the dot com 90’s) on keys, with all members joining in on background vocals.

The band plays a clever mix of rock-meets-punk-meets-Star Trek that focuses solely on the characters, locations and mythos of Star Trek, with a heavy dose of pent up adolescent sexual energy and innuendo. OK, that isn’t fair. It isn’t innuendo. They wear the naughty underbelly of Trekology and its legendary alien womanizing captain proudly on their sleeveless on-stage Trek uniforms.

Their music and lyrics will instantly appeal to any hardcore Trek fans who aren’t already members of the converted. For the casual Trek fan, or even a non-Trek fan, their music is tight. They can (and do) play with style. If you have a sense of humor and enjoy a band with boundless energy, solid if familiar rock arrangements and aren’t easily offended at the seemingly limitless Star Trek sexual references they weave throughout their very cleverly written lyrics, then by all means, make it so and engage your engines to Warp 11.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
She Make It So
If a band writes what they know to be a hit single they should always lead a new album with it. This is the hit single for the album. It’s a bouncy pop-punk number with a memorable chorus all about the ultimate Trek-nerd fantasy of a relationship with a Trek fan-girl hotter than a thousand suns. There is no shortage of Trek sex innuendo here. That’s what pretty much the whole song is, which is what makes it so fun! The band put together an absolutely priceless music video for the tune which you can find on their website. If you have ever been to a Star Trek convention, seen Galaxy Quest or even fantasized about a close encounter with someone dressed in a Star Trek costume, you will be unable to not crack a smile and bang your head along with this one.
Rage Against the Federation
You see, in the future, there really isn’t much in the way of political strife or human inequality which Zach de la Rocha could rail against. Except for the Red Shirts. In this blatant-copy/loving-tribute to Rage Against the Machine’s style, the band takes up the cause of the poor mistreated Red Shirted security guards of Classic Star Trek and how they are always dying in the most horrible ways and huge numbers. (Excuse me while I put on my Writers for Red Shirts militia armband). This is lots of fun and has lots of swearing, earning the album its well deserved Parental Advisory label.
Kill Kill Kill Kill Kill Kill Klingons
Um, I’m not really sure what this one is about. OK, seriously, this is what it would sound like if Skid Row wrote a number about a pre-Next Generation crew whose sole mission is to seek out and destroy the much-maligned Klingons. Thankfully the Federation made peace with them, because frankly, in my opinion, Klingons are the new pirates. Oh come on! Keep reading, the rest of the review will not be as geeky.
Give It Up For the Captain
So if the Beastie Boys run out of rhymes or want to really change their lyrical approach, this should be the song the look to for inspiration. A full-impulse speed rocker sung like the NY-trio all about, well, the song title says it all. Again, sensitive ears be warned. Sense of humor ears prepare to laugh.
A Song For People Who Never Watch Star Trek
You see! I told you to keep reading, because if you have never watched Star Trek before, the band was nice enough to record a song just for you! A Green Day inspired riff with a Blink-182 vocal delivery takes the listener through a Trek-101 course designed to give you enough info to enjoy the rest of the album. Ok, maybe not, but it is still really funny.
Welcome to Our Cube
We are Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ears. We will add your listening and musicological distinctiveness to our own. Ok, so I fibbed about no more geek moments. If you know the Borg then you know this song. It’s a palm-muted, mid-tempo guitar rocker sung with a slight flanger effect on the vocals to give it that cybernetic quality. Resistance is futile.
Man on A Mission
Get your lighters out and hold them aloft. Imagine a Poison-circa 1986 acoustic guitar led power ballad about a legendary Captain wearing a gold shirt on a five-year mission who manages to “engage” every hot alien female he chances upon in his travels, but decides to get off the intergalactic tour bus and heed the call of the sirens of Orion. If you are at all familiar with Trek-lore than you know about the “Orion Animal Women” and their appetites. This isn’t the first mention of the green-skinned women on the album. Actually, I lost count of how many there are!
Yeah Brother 3.0
If you suffered through the “space hippies” episode of classic Star Trek, then you know that one of the songs the barefoot musicians in search of Eden was called “Yeah Brother.” Warp 11 twist this idea into a cowpunk jam that the Reverend Horton Heat would get a kick out of.
My Electric Man
The ridiculously hot Kiki Stockhammer gets out in front on this one, singing about the joys of sex with a “fully functional” android. I should at this point state for the four-stringer fans out there, that Warp 11’s mixer did an admirable about of knob twiddling to give the oft-under appreciated instrument a lot of face time on the album. This number is a classic example of this.
Boldly Go Down On Me
Well, what really is there left to say about a song with a title like that? The Red Shirt character central to this song got his orders to beam down on an away mission from which he knows he won’t return from. So what else would be his last request of a comely yeoman?
Auto Destruct
How many times have starship captains used this trick to get out of a sticky situation with hostile aliens? Oh wait? That isn’t what this song is about? Sex again? Well ok then.
Set Your Phaser For ****
Well who knew phasers could be set to that. And that is all I have to say about that.
Invasion
A pleasantly crunchy guitar riff and wicked bass line lead into a classic 80’s metal chord progression in what is the only song on the disc without an overt Star Trek mention, though it is about an alien invasion. So when the aliens finally do come to take over our planet, let’s hope they play electric guitars and play hairmetal as good as this. Seriously, this would not sound out of place on the Sirius Metal radio show.
Captain Caught Me On a Holodeck
While the band plays with much seriousness yet with tongue planted firmly in cheek the majority of their songs are portrayed as straight up rockers. This is the one time they venture into the realm of comedy music. Acoustic guitar and vocals only, this is filled with more euphemisms than you can wave a phaser at.
 
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