Daring Danny and Bhad Bhabie
Return to Dannyland Last week, Arts DEVO received an out-of-the-blue email from Danny Cohen, one of Butte County’s most enigmatic performers, to let me know that he had quietly released a new album—Cabaret Forest Lawn—this past summer. Even though the longstanding local musician is one of my all-time favorite songwriters, I feel I’ve never been able to satisfyingly describe his music. Tom Waits is the most obvious touchstone, but Cohen’s sideshow character is much weirder, and the latest album bears this out. It’s a home-recorded collection of typically twisted lounge tunes filled with gnarled guitar sounds, creepy organ, a variety of musical and other samples and Cohen’s distinct warped vocal delivery. It gets perhaps the best compliment I can give a piece of art: It’s truly unique, and if you’re already a Cohen fan like me—or if all of those descriptors add up to something intriguing—Cabaret Forest Lawn will not disappoint in offering an oddly tuneful escape.
So far, it’s an online-only release (iTunes, CD Baby, Spotify), and for a more detailed and more interesting explanation of the recording, I turn it over to the artist himself (from the album notes):
It was done in a month during the opening of a creative portal (like that Twilight Zone where the child entered another dimension under the bed), which subsequently closed. … The theme of death pervades as [I] almost died during recording. My stomach bloated, hair and nails grew rapidly and [I] was basically a zombie for 7 years after surgery from a bike wreck. Crank it!
How ’bout dah? If you want to make an adult lose their shit and blame all the problems of the world on the kids these days, search YouTube and play them a video of the Cash Me Outside girl (aka Danielle Bregoli). It doesn’t matter which video—it can be the Dr. Phil segment where her mom throws then “out-of-control” 13-year-old Danielle to the wolves in the studio audience. It can be DJ Suede the Remix God’s “Cash Me Outside,” which samples the Florida teen’s best one-liners from that Dr. Phil battle—“Cash me outside! How ’bout dah?”—and the millions upon millions of listens/views it and various remixes garnered in the months that followed. Or it can be the videos for the solo songs she released over the next couple of years under her new rap moniker, Bhad Bhabie—“These Heaux,” “Hi Bich” or “Gucci Flip Flops” (with Lil Yachty)—all of which charted on the Billboard 100.
That’s right, a girl with no performing experience steals her mom’s car, then thanks to one salty Dr. Phil exchange, goes from poor-white-trash petty criminal to internet star to charting recording artist in less than two years. How ’bout dah? Indeed.
Don’t get me wrong, even though she’s still only 15, Bhad Bhabie seems like kind of an asshole, but it’s likely mostly an act, and the parts that aren’t were born of a broken home. It is hilarious that in taking on youth culture, the massive tool Dr. Phil got spanked hard while trying to exploit it. And, actually, her music is pretty fun—dumb, but still fun. To mark her latest birthday, she released her debut album/mixtape, 15, last month, and JMax Productions just announced that it is bringing her to Chico on Nov. 17. Say it with me: “Cash me outside” the Senator Theatre before the show.
Sell your art Inspire School of Arts & Sciences is hosting a pop-up market on Nov. 3, at Chico Country Day School, and it’s still looking for a few craft, art and food vendors. Visit bit.ly/InspiredShopping for more info on how to take part.