By Jerstin Crosby
David Wightman and Jacob Ciocci are EXTREME ANIMALS!!! I recently saw them perform at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill with Secret Boyfriend and Fortress of Amplitude, which is David’s hermitic solo jam session. As an opening act to his other band, Wightman entered the stage dressed in monk attire, “played” a distorted-talking-toy-goat as an instrument and then proceeded into finger-picking riffs on the electric guitar over a pre-recorded beat and drone, hence the name, Fortress of Amplitude. The toy goat was a new addition (new to me) to the line-up, and personally, I think David should let him stay in the band. He’s easy to tour with, and fits perfectly into the suitcase with the other props. If any of you happened to read Chris Toenes’ article about the Extreme Animals in last week’s Independent Weekly then you may already know that the duo is actually from this area of North Carolina. Nowadays, Jacob lives in Pittsburgh, and David in San Diego. Don’t worry; they’re probably in each other’s fave five. That’s how extreme they are.
Shockingly, and maybe not so shockingly, the Indy write up did not mention that Jacob Ciocci is arguably one of the most prolific and widely exhibited young artists to hail from our region. In 2005, he received his MFA from Carnegie-Melon in Pittsburgh, and along with his sister, Jessica Ciocci, and friend Ben Jones, Jacob makes up one-third of the oft-mimicked art collective, Paper Rad. You may have come across their work while looking through every magazine published last year. (Deservingly) Pick up a copy of their sick book they produced with Picture Box publishing called, BJ and da dogs, and their exhaustive animations released on DVD include titles like, P-Unit, and Trash Talking. The animations are smart, seizure inducing, and AKWARD!! They tend to embrace and reinvent childhood obsessions with characters like Garfield, Gumby, Pokey, and inspirations from Saturday morning cartoons (commercials included). Somehow this history leaks out into teenage sarcasm, rave culture, psychedelia, and feels like a genuine attempt at reclaiming or claiming ownership of the past. On the new Extreme Animals release, Let The Music Take You There, track six is titled “Kid Forever”, a phrase also written on the t-shirt worn by a giant, stuffed Gizmo (from the Gremlins) who is surrounded by boo-koodles of stuffed animals, troll dolls, and kids’ keyboards on the inside sleeve of the album. You can find more info on Extreme Animals, Fortress of Amplitude, Jacob Ciocci, and Paper Rad at www.paperrad.org. (I think)