Recently we released the first video from our new EP Telescope & Satellite, for the song “He’s A Bat.” We love the song, and so far it seems like everyone else does too—especially kids. I’ve had several friends share with me how much their kids enjoy rocking out to “the bat song,” which is a great compliment. One buddy of mine even sent me a short video of his son dancing along with the bat, which I found both hysterical and really touching.
When I wrote it I was thinking specifically of the “Flash Gordon” theme song by Queen, from their soundtrack to the much-maligned 1980 film. When I was a kid I LOVED this movie, and I wore out my VHS copy of it. Looking at it now, I find this childhood obsession a little hard to explain, as the movie itself has lost the magic for me. But the soundtrack most definitely has not. This was Queen’s ninth studio album, and they delivered some pretty amazing music for it, most notably the theme song with its pulsing intro and explosive, screaming harmonies. This was the feel I was trying to emulate with “He’s A Bat,” and I cribbed it as closely as I could. I hope Freddie would be proud. I hope Freddie’s lawyers wouldn’t want to drag my ass into court.
I think what we ended up with sounds a little closer to Cheap Trick, probably just because our band sounds more like Cheap Trick. Also because it’s impossible for anyone else to really sound like Queen; that shit just ain’t happening. I mean, have you ever noticed the dearth of bands out there that draw Queen comparisons? Seriously, we’ve had everyone else: “the new Deep Purple” (Wolf Mother), “the new Led Zeppelin” (Black Mountain), “the new Joy Division” (Interpol)…blah blah blah. No new Queen though, and here’s why: no one else can do it. There was only one Freddie Mercury, and one was all we needed. Anyway, I digress.
Getting back to our tune, clearly it’s a lighthearted song, and is obviously not intended to be realistic, scientifically accurate, or in any way a fair portrayal of the current state of American bats. That being said, bats in North America are in some deep shit, and they really need our help.
In 2006, researchers first detected a new disease that was killing bats. This disease, called White Nose Syndrome, is a fungal infection that attacks entire colonies of bats while they hibernate in their winter homes, usually caves. First observed in New York, White Nose Syndrome has now spread across the eastern US and into Canada. With a mortality rate of around 90%, WNS has already killed more than 5 million bats, and actually threatens some species with total extinction unless we figure out some way to stop it.
Why is this a big deal? Mostly because bats play a HUGE role in the ecosystem of these regions. If the bats go away, all of us will feel the impact, starting with farmers and food producers. Bats eat insects, literally billions of bugs every year. A lot of these bugs will see a population explosion without their natural bat predators around to thin them out. And since a lot of these bugs eat plants and food crops, the agricultural industry will be hit hard by the absence of bats. It stands to reason that this will eventually hit the rest of us, as prices go up and other measures like chemical pesticides are used more heavily on the stuff we eat.
Now, you might think bats are creepy, bloodsucking, airborne rodents that only appear in your nightmares. Or (like me) you might think they’re the cutest little guys prowling the night. But either way, they are an important part of our planetary ecosystem and they could use our help. Fortunately there are some good organizations that try to help bats (and help people understand these often-misunderstood creatures). So my appeal to anyone reading this is to take a moment and check out Bat Conservation International, the Organization for Bat Conservation, or just read a little bit about them and learn how cool they are.
Quick note that our CD Release Show is October 4th at the Sunset. We’ll be playing with two great bands: Boxcar Rebellion and Spanish for 100, and we are stoked to bring these songs to the stage. Hope to see you then, and be cool.
EXPLONE is a Seattle-based rock band that refuses to acknowledge the irrelevancy of electric guitar in modern music. We won't stop believing. We still love Cheap Trick, Queen, Hüsker Dü, Nada Surf and the Pixies. Conservative Christians can have our Judas Priest records when they pry them from our cold, dead fingers.