By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
It was close to midnight and Toby Pipes' cell phone was blowing up with people trying to get hold of him. Just another Saturday night? Not really.
"I got a lot of phone calls," he says.
It was overwhelming. So Pipes didn't answer any of them—not until later on in the night, when his old bandmate and drummer from Deep Blue Something, John Kirtland, also called.
"I finally answered for him," Pipes says. And, in turn, he finally found out what was up.
Turns out their band, Deep Blue Something—which hasn't really been in the news since its early '90s heyday, when its song "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was pretty much unavoidable on Top 40 radio—was back in the spotlight.
Well, sort of.
The song had been used in a sketch during last Saturday's SNL broadcast—and fairly prominently, too. It was the centerpiece for an entire skit featuring cast members Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader and Will Forte, as well as episode host Ryan Phillippe. In what essentially amounted to a longwinded Tea Party joke, the foursome sat on folding chairs on a park lawn, sharing beers and stories—all spurred by the fact that Sudeikis' character brought a stereo along for the get-together and had popped in a mixtape that included Deep Blue Something's biggest hit. As the group listened to the song, each member took turns during the verses to share increasingly bizarre and embarrassing stories the song recalled. Like clockwork, they each culminated in punch-lines that came just before the chorus, and, just as the crowd tried to process the audacity of each claim, the group would out in song, singing along to the hook.
It's a classic, perhaps overused, SNL bit: guys drinking beer and telling long-winded soliloquies they probably shouldn't. But for Pipes and Kirtland, it was a nice little reminder of what once was, as the SNL players launched into their stories with introductions like "This song reminds me of this one time in college..." or "This song always reminds me of my job."
"Hey, it's always cool when people use the song," Pipes says.
But, most times when that happens, there's a warning of sorts. Interscope Records, which still owns the rights to the song, will usually give the band a heads-up.
The fact that they didn't in this case, Pipes assumes, is because it was probably a spur-of-the-moment inclusion on SNL's part. That assumption probably explains why the skit, although uploaded to YouTube for a few brief hours on Sunday afternoon, has not been uploaded to the show's Hulu page and why re-postings of the sketch have been taken off of YouTube. More than likely, SNL never requested permission to use the song.
"Yeah," Pipes says, "I'm guessing Interscope did that."
Pipes doesn't mind, though. If anything, he says he's flattered by the attention.
"It was impressive that those guys knew all the words," he says with a laugh. "And, man, they were really singing their asses off!"
Recognition aside, Pipes doesn't expect much to come from the band's return-to-the-spotlight—even if YouTube's comment section below the band's music video has been inundated with fans chatting up their love for the song in the wake of the SNL bit. He's busy enough these days in his new band, the shoegazey Little Black Dress, and with his work alongside his brother Todd, Deep Blue Something's frontman, at the area studio they own and run, Bass Propulsion Laboratories. There, the two just finished up work on new records from area acts Menkena and Calhoun—both of which Pipes is understandably excited about.
These days, Todd Pipes is also working at an area high school, teaching college-credit English classes. As for Kirtland, he's plenty busy running the Dallas-based record label that bears his name, Kirtland Records, which in the next few weeks will add area folk favorite Sarah Jaffe's debut full-length to a catalog that also includes recent releases from indie-pop duo Smile Smile, area hard-rock legends the Toadies and the back catalog for '90s mainstream rock icons Bush. And what about the band's other members? Pipes says that founding guitarist Clay Bergus just started work managing a new restaurant after leaving his gig as the manager at Perry's Steakhouse in Uptown, while Bergus' replacement, Kirk Tatom, is also still in town, working in real estate.
You've gotta figure: With all the guys still around, maybe a one-off reunion would be up for discussion after earning a little attention like this.
"Oh, I don't know," Pipes says, brushing off the notion. "We do tours every now and then, just for fun. But it's never anything more than that. There's not gonna be a new record or anything. At least, I don't think."
Well, they'll always have "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Surely, if nothing else, that's the one thing they've got.