By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
San Franciscan Noah Brill is 3 years old and famous. In a way. Last year, British Bach-obsessed and dirty-minded pop auteur Momus released his third album, The Little Red Songbook, which featured a song titled "Walter Carlos," meant as a tribute to the '60s Switched on Bach pioneer. Carlos, who now goes by Wendy Carlos after a sex-change operation, was unhappy with a song dredging up her past, and sued Momus' label, Le Grand Magistry. They settled out of court, and the song was deleted from future pressings of Songbook, but Momus came up with a unique method of defraying legal costs. On January 1, he announced that each of the first 30 people to pay him $1,000 would get a song written about him for a project titled Stars Forever. (An idea that has since been hijacked by John Freeman and Jon Cunningham, albeit at the nice price of $500.)
The final two-CD album, released in August, showcases an entertaining array of applicants, mostly fans, but also vanity tributes to bands ("The Minus 5"), record stores ("Reckless Records," "Other Music"), record labels ("Minty Fresh"), and "Girlie Action," which just happens to be the PR firm representing Momus. As testament to just how much of a vanity project Stars Forever was for all involved, the collection ends with eight songs contributed by winners of a Momus karaoke parody contest and a 21-minute interview with Momus. Apparently, ego has two ms in it.
Sandwiched between "Jeff Koons" (the infamous pop artist) and the PR firm "Team Clermont" is "Noah Brill." As Momus explains over an electro-funk beat:
Well there's a kid in San Francisco
Who has really got the moves
And when he dresses up as Batman
He can fly across the roofs
"[Noah] is really psyched to have a CD commercial for himself," says Noah's spokesperson (and father), Michael Brill. Brill ran into Momus when he played his first show in San Francisco last year; Brill and his wife, Jenny Doll, invited him for dinner ("because I was looking so miserable," says Momus in a statement about the record). Noah and Momus, according to Brill, got along well. "They played the same video games," he notes. After the $1,000 check cleared, Brill and Momus went over the pertinent details of Noah's life: He likes hanging out in Golden Gate Park hunting for tarantulas, has six Buzz Lightyear dolls, and enjoys sushi. "He wolfs down a tremendous amount of sushi," says Brill.
ó Mark Athitakis