Track Premiere: Flummox – ‘Custodian Ralph’

Ahead of their new album, Rephlummoxed, “genre-fluid” band Flummox are sharing their new track “Custodian Ralph,” premiering exclusively at New Noise.

The band, formed in a rundown trailer near the garbage dump off an old Tennessean highway, Flummox combines twisted musical-theatre tactics with avant-garde fusion, extreme metal stylings, and strange hooks that are sure to stick with listeners well past their welcome.

Flummox made a stir last year with their trans-rights anthem “Trans Girls Need Guns,” which rallies against anti-trans violence, released on the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

The band’s newest LP features reimagined and rerecorded tracks from some of their previous albums, and they are also on the lineup for Maryland Doom Fest, coming in June.

Bassist and lead vocalist Alyson Blake Dellinger chats more about the origins of “Custodian Ralph”:

“I used to be a janitor at a college in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and my girlfriend was also working there at the time. We had a manager named Ralph. I worked with the guy a few times, and the dude, bless him, but he definitely took his job way too seriously. Like, if you said you were a janitor, he’d be like, ‘No, a custodian.’ He was always a well-meaning guy, and he was really good at his job; he was just very eccentric. There’s a part in the song where we talk about ‘Watch him do the Elmo dance,’ and the reason that’s in there is because one time, he told my girlfriend that he couldn’t wait to get back home to his wife and put on that Elmo costume for her. It was like, ‘What?!’

“So one day, while we were still working there—this would have been the summer of 2013 when I wrote the song—me and (guitarist) Drew (Jones) were fucking around with these bouncy little eight-string riffs, and my ex-girlfriend was there, and she was like, ‘I bet you can’t write a song about Ralph.’ She was wrong.

“I actually ran into Ralph about six months ago at a convenience store. He didn’t recognize me—it was great. I said, ‘Hey, Ralph!’ And he’s like, ‘Who are you?’ I said, ‘Remember that bastard who wrote a song about you?’ He was not excited to see me. From what I understand, though, he’s still there, still working the same job, and he’s happy. I’m pretty sure he’s a lot more cleaned up now than the song suggests.”

Guitarist Max Mobarry expands on how far the song has come today, compared to where it used to be.

“I think (guitarist and producer) Chase (McCutcheon) did a number on making the eight strings on the song really slap where they needed to. And this is definitely one of the first tracks on the record where you really see what Jesse Peck brought to the record. Jesse contributes a really tasteful keyboard solo on ‘Custodian Ralph’ and a couple other tracks on the record. It’s definitely one of those songs where, if you go and listen to the original, you can see, wow, it’s really come a long way. Especially for a stupid song about a janitor wearing an Elmo outfit.”

Check out the new track “Custodian Ralph” here:

For more from Flummox, find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Flummox and Keith McQuarrie

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