Accidents happen, but great work is thoughtfully, artfully executed.
To hear Ben Ness tell it, Waffles’ given name, the album’s title comes from a combination of two events: 1.) while living in Southwest Detroit at the time he looked outside and noticed his apartment was surrounded, in 360 degrees, by billboards for personal injury attorneys & 2.) his friend suffered a dog bite and had a story to tell after going through a personal injury lawsuit.
Hip-Hop with a Novelist’s Approach
“Ambulance Chasers” opens with a sample from “The Aviator” of dialogue between Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchet) and Howard Hughes (Leonard DiCaprio) talking about golf. This continues several themes & references in Waffles’ work including golf and the pair in question. Mr. Ness is proud to tell you that he was the captain of his golf team in high school, loves the sport and that there is no finer piece of attire than a “Golf Shirt”. The dialogue between the Hollywood legends reference back to the pair’s starring role in a track on Waffles recent EP, “Seizure Suit Farms”.
The record is put together with the concept of a novelist. It’s not surprising considering Waffles’ day job as a rare book dealer. “Ambulance Chasers” extends his previous references from “Golf View Drive” through “How to Shoot Quail” to expand on his themes of misconnection, removal and self-reflection. Waffles’ appears to be looking at aging, at times, and asking new questions about the durability of the heart and the ideas of permanence.
The lead track “Hockey Fights” finds allegories to the flying fists of the Detroit Red Wings of yore, like Bob Probert, the physicality of relationships and the durability of out-of-date formats such as the trusty, dusty VHS tape.
A big highlight on the album, “Groucho Masks”, is a tale of longing, grasping for connection and trying to create a new paradigm from the latest shocks that is heartbreaking due to the use of multi-layered symbolic references to previous songs and themes that rewards faithful listeners to the Doc Waffles catalogue.
That’s one of the rare and risky things about Doc Waffles’ work. He doesn’t create a self-contained piece that lives in its own bubble. His albums are like Venn diagrams that stack upon each other at skewed angles and offer more with each connection to past work and each additional listen. This is something most artists are not willing to consider from song-to-song let alone album-to-album in our “just download the best tracks, forget listening to the record all the way though” world. Single tracks or albums do not begin to tell the untold riches that await the listener to Doc Waffles. A broad, inclusive approach is needed in order to wring out nuance, humor and, ultimately, understanding from Mr. Ness’s novelistic approach. His concepts take time to develop within the ear and the mind.
To celebrate the release, Doc Waffles and friends are hosting an “Ambulance Chasers” release party on Saturday August 25th. The details are below:
1440 Service St.
All Ages. BYOB.
$5 cover includes copy of “Ambulance Chasers” and coupon for “accidental nap” or “strip-the-bride bear-trap” of your choosing.