When it comes to nibbling away at politcal institutions, this 30-strong musical troupe is right at the coalface. The self-proclaimed “only group in America that attempts to be funnier than Congress”, the Capitol Steps are formed entirely from current and former members of its staff, five of whom are pianists.
Since 1984 they have been in the business of lampooning everyone in a position of power in the US and beyond, and now you can get their 24th album, aptly named Papa’s Got a Brand New Baghdad. It forms part of a parody-studded legacy that has included songs such as On the Sunny Side of Tikrit, Son of a Bush, Osama Come Out Tomorrow and, harking back to the heady days of the Clinton administration, Our Love is Here to Stain.
As if world affairs don’t provide enough comedic value alone, several songs also make extensive use of the common spoonerism to pull humour out of the most unlikely places. For, as their website solemnly acknowledges, “something comes over a person when they learn to whip their flurds, or spew up their screech.” Sometimes, of course, senior officials don’t need any assistance to wrap themselves in verbal silly-string. capsteps.com
This article was published in The Guardian (G2 section), Friday 6th August 2004