The Monsters of Schlock are self described as “The World’s Most Extreme Two Man Circus Sideshow Comedy Magic Extravaganza”. These Guelph natives have truly made a name for themselves taking on some of the craziest record breaking attempts for a chance to get in the Guinness Book of World Records and performing their legendary sideshow act for fans all over the world. Burnaby Q. Orbax and Sweet Pepper Klopek perform at the eBar along side some other freakshow friends. We got in touch with Orbax to learn a bit more about The Monsters of Schlock.
Music Lives: How do you decide which Guinness Records to break? Do you research things, make up your own, etc?
Burnaby Q. Orbax: It took six years of submitting proposals to GWR before they finally accepted an attempt of ours, which was the brand new record for mousetraps on the tongue. Guinness has a strict policy of safety first for their records, and it took quite a long time until they decided that we weren’t just crazy, but that we were professional crazies. That record was set by Sweet Pepper in Vancouver (27), broken in Milan Italy (40), and decimated in Hollywood (47) where it stands today.
Since then, and after our multiple appearances on different GWR TV shows, they’ve become very open to our ideas. Still, the guidelines are very strict. Guinness World Records are all about measuring something. The fastest, the heaviest, the most in a minute, so coming up with ideas for new records often takes a LONG time of batting about ideas.
ML: What kind of training do you do for certain stunts? How does one practice getting hit in the head over sixty times? Do you test, for example, cookie sheets, or is that something that is regulated by Guinness?
BQO: Most of our records are somehow tied into stunts that we currently or in the past have performed in our show. That at least gives us an idea as to what is actually a feasible record attempt. In terms of the actual records however we have a strict ‘no practice’ policy in effect. We either commit to the task or don’t do it at all. There’s no room for failure when the TV crews are filming, and it adds to the excitement of the event. We are literally testing ourselves to see if we can do it or not.
note: we will be attempting to break our current record for the heaviest weight lifted from hooks in the arms by lifting a Wellington keg on Thursday!
ML: You had your own group of Guelphites performing with you at one point and Pepper was in the bands before and/or between performances, is that how you met?
BQO: From 2004 – 2009 we played Guelph pretty regularly with a whole troupe of freaks as the Great Orbax Sideshow, at times with Pepper in the freakshow or with his band The Legendary Klopeks playing with us. Over time it’s changed and transformed into the show we do now, which is the Monsters of Schlock. As a two man comedy show it makes way more sense for us, both onstage and off. My brother Pepper and I met face to face over a decade ago at a body modification event after being adopted into separate families as kids, and have been performing together ever since.
This show in Guelph will be a bit of a throwback to the old shows, however, as we’ll be bringing up two fellow freaks from the US. It should give this event a real cabaret/vaudeville feel.
Our good friend Donny Vomit comes from the immortal home of sideshow, Coney Island, where he carved a name out for himself there. Sword swallowing, juggling, whip cracking and hammering nails into his face are only a few of his skills. As well we’re bringing up the great deceiver, the man with the best abs in all of burlesque, Albert Cadabra. Albert’s the front man at Ripley’s: Believe It or Not! museum in Times Square NY and is not only a strip teaser and sideshow freak, but a master magician.
ML: Your show has evolved over time, when did you feel you guys had it polished to a point where you could travel (last summer in Vancouver, European tour) as much as you do?
BQO: Our first cross Canada tour was in 2006 and this coming summer will mark the fifth year that we’ve toured Europe. Last year alone we toured both the East and West coasts of Canada, traveled the UK extensively, played Helsinki for the first time, and opened for the Rolling Stones at the world’s largest music festival in Glastonbury. When do you know you’re polished enough to tour? You don’t, really. Performing is a constantly changing thing, and your show is always changing depending on the venue, the country, and the people in attendance. They key is to create something you’re confident in and get it out there. With the internet and social media the way it is today it’s easy to find an audience, just sometimes you need to travel to get to them!
ML: I’ve seen you perform with several musical guests over the years, do you have a favourite? Is there a band you’d like to share the stage with? Pepper is in a few bands and always has been, lets give them all a shout out!
BQO: We’ve performed with quite a few bands over the years. Sons of Butcher, the Matadors, Caution Inc and the Blue Demons are specific favourites. But when it comes to the greatest band of all time I would have to say it’s The Legendary Klopeks. 20 years strong the greatest punk band of all time has the greatest front man of all time my brother, Sweet Pepper Klopek. Pepper has also fronted the thrash band Skullkrusher, as well as his latest project Church Pussy. You can find them ALL online!
Visit The Monsters of Schlock on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/themonstersofschlock. You can also buy tickets to their upcoming show on Thursday, January 9th from Music Lives!