Crash Test Dummies Blog

Written by Brad Roberts

28 Apr

Album release May 11th

Hey friends family and fans –

How about this new web page, huh? Let’s give webmaster Jerry

Brace a hand for doing such a fine job. You’ll see some of the artwork

from the CD appear on this site, which was done by the beloved Juni Moon.

Thanks Juni!

I’m getting really excited about the new record. I’ve done lots of great press, and have plenty more coming up. For you Canucks, we’ll be playing on TV – Canada AM on May 6th.

Aside from the shows in the US that are posted on this site (“TOUR”), we may possibly do some shows in the South: check out Atalanta, perhaps Austin – but that’s all TBA at this point. We also plan to play in Canada come October. I’ll keep you


I’ve finished three literary biographies – Virginia Woolf, TS Eliot, Ezra Pound –

and am now starting a small one on James Joyce. It feels so great to be reading again.

My wife Michele has finished designing CTD t-shirts, panties, tank-tops, children’s t’shirts…the whole 9 yards. They are pretty sassy and pretty beautiful. I hope

we can sell ‘em, because, ironically, they are what fund the tour! So we made

sure we have good stuff.

All for now.



23 Mar

A reason to blog again…

hey folks – i haven’t gone over the many comments and posts that have come inthe last few weeks. will get on it soon. in the meantime, we have dates! hope to see you there. i don’t tour much!

love-beads and incense, brad


May 11 – Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live

May 13 – Foxboro, MA – Showcase Live
May 14 – Northhamption, MA – Iron Horse Music Hall
May 15 – New York, NY – City Winery
May 16 – Vienna, VA – Jammin Java

May 18 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
May 19 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark

May 21 – Madison, WI – The Majestic
May 22 – Chicago, IL – Martyr’s
May 23 – Milwaukee, WI – Shank Hall

04 Mar

things are movin’ along

howdy folks

even though i am a literature snob, i’m going to dispense with capital letters.

mid-may remains our target date for release of Ooh La La. i just got advance copies and they look and sound great. also, some dates in mid-may are getting closer to confirmation, here in new york city and some of the other major north eastern cities.

i’m famous for hating touring – except the show, i always love that – but this time i’m looking forward to it. i’ll have my good friends stuart cameron and ellen reid, and wayne o’connor to do sound and tour manage. wayne has toured with us for many years, and he’s just about the best guy to have on your side i can think of.

the van drives will be the same old stuff – holding one’s pee, leg cramps, crappy truck stop food. but i also plan to bring some reading. i’ve had my father send me my books from college years, and i’m rereading a lot of stuff. it sure looks different 20 years later. and i’m finally reading biographies of the people whose work i studied. i just finished ts eliot and ezra pound. what a couple of awful lives they led. i’m looking forward to going back to people like milton. i already know a fair amount about samuel johnson through his acolyte boswell. so much out there to read.

i’m going to buy a video camera soon, that i might do “live” blogs from the road. they are making them pencil thin these days. if i can figure out the technology, i should be able to shoot vid’s off to the website.

i’m also thinking of getting skype or something so that i can do yoga classes in my hotel room with my teacher. it’s way easier to do when someone is kicking your ass. i can do yoga alone, but like anything, a trainer never hurts.

keep yankin’ yer own chains, folks….



22 Feb

sunday night insomnia

well folks, it’s sunday at 6:50AM and i haven’t slept all night. had kind of a fun one, though. puttered around, read, watched old movies.

crash test dummmies are still aiming for a may release and some tour dates on the NE seabord (May) and the Southwest (June). none of the dates are set, it’s just something we’re shooting for. the album art continues to evolve and we’re talking about doing some animated video with it. i did a photo shoot which turned out very well. there are a few blogs about me, and i should get a write up in at some point. (they interviewed me.)

so things are finally moving along. in the meantime, i’m still baking bread every day, and yoga is an obsession. i chant (in sanskrit and ancient hebrew and greek and english) every day – fck off if you don’t like it. i have found new resonances and nuances in my voice as a result.

i’ve discovered only recently that for me, singing is a great way to wake up my body. i’ve always felt like shite in the morning.

and i think that’s part of why people sing in the shower. it’s a great place for acoustics, and the hot water and steam opens the lungs and sinuses and ear canals and moisturizes the whole nasal and throat passageways. turns on your body and your brain.

i’ve also noticed that if i MAKE MYSELF SING, i feel better. weird but true. i guess it’s like the old saw – they’re not singing ’cause they’re happy, their happy because they’re singing.

can’t think of anything else. thanks for hanging in there with me. it’s been quite a few years since i’ve put out anything. this stuff takes the cake. a lot of completely new directions. and great lyrics. among my best. if i do say so myself, and i do.

have a good week, folks

16 Jan

can’t sleep

more insomnia. oh well. gives me time to blog.

my mom sent a batch of my favorite homemade oatmeal cookies. i just got the recipe from her, in case she dies! she also makes a mean roast beef with yorkshire pudding. i can’t make the pudding like she can, but i’m working on it.

you meet the strangest people in new york. today a guy asked me if i was homeless, and offered me a ride. no thanks! i didn’t think i looked that grubby. i should have got the sicko’s license plate.

i hate my landlord. i extend olive branches all the time, and he just won’t take them. thats right folks, i don’t own an nyc apartment. or a car. or a country home. i don’t even have a stereo! i’m just not interested in spending money on crap like cars and real estate. i can walk, and i don’t need to buy a money pit. i’d rather fight with my landlord.

none of this is very interesting, so i’m signing off…



08 Jan

Happy New Year 2010

howdy folks,

I don’t know about you but I’m glad that the new year is here and we can get on with our lives after the so-called “holidays”.  Actually, my Xmas day was great, spent at home with my wife and a friend. No relatives, no gifts, just a good home cooked dinner. I’m also lucky to have fantastic in-laws, so when we do visit them in Michigan, it’s not a problem. They have an old 3 story house in downtown Detroit – and yes, it is crime-ridden – but the house is gorgeous and Michele and I get an entire floor – the 3rd – to ourselves, complete with bathroom! I crawled into that womb on Jan 27th, and came out profoundly rested.

I wish I could say I knew when this next record is coming out, but we’re having some problems assembling a team to do it. Press, Radio, Marketing, Distribution, Digital Downloads – all these things have to happen in tandem. The only thing that I can promise you is that the cover art is the best yet by a long shot. Juni Moon is working on it now, and it’s a great collaboration. I highly recommend her.

My birthday is on Sunday January 10th, and I’m teaching a class in chanting mantra that day. If you live in or around Manhattan, it is being held from 12:45-3:45 at Virayoga, 580 Broadway, between Prince and Houston in Soho.

Hope to have a release date to announce sooner than later!

Happy Happy Everyone


12 Dec


Hey Folks

Well, my wife and I threw a helluva party thursday night. Haven’t thrown a party in 2 years. Some rock star I am, huh?

I always enjoy watching people get drunk. When they are good and snoggered, one can pump them for information.

Michele garlanded the whole house with pine needles and put white lights in them. She also bought and lit about 100 tea

candles, and the place looked fabulous. she made roast lamb, and set out cheeze and grapes and breads. It was a very festive


I have the best wife in the world.


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06 Dec


If I were more conscientious, I’d do a once-a-week-blog. A Sunday op ed piece,

If you like. Too bad my editorial opinion isn’t worth much.

I listened to David Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs” this morning, and I have to say, it really holds up to the test of time. The first side of the record is one continuous piece, as though the band doesn’t stop playing for 30 minutes live in the studio. I wonder if they pieced it together by cutting tape, or if the tracks were recorded live in one pass, all in a row. Knowing what a stickler Bowie is, I suppose the latter is likely.

This is a record that I can warmly recommend, all these years later.

I’ve been trying to read books again, and picked up the biography of Katherine Mansfield, an early 20th century short storywriter. She died young, and left us with some uneven work, the best of which is genius and helped define the short story as a modernist genre. Though often isolated by virtue of her having contracted tuberculosis, she nevertheless travelled in circles with people like Virginia Woolf, Bertrand Russell, and many others of the so-called Bloomsbury Group.  She wrote volumes of letters whose pitch reaches an intensity that she never quite achieves even in her best fiction.  These letters were published by her husband, after her death, and he made quite a tidy sum, despite her having told him to “burn everything.” I’m glad he didn’t listen to her, but he was a bit of a bastard.

The history of literature provides us a few examples of this sort of posthumous publishing dilemmas. One  famous example is the case of Franz Kafka’s close friend, Max Brod, was instructed by Franz to burn all of his work when he died, and which was as yet unpublished.  Kafka died, and Max published anyhow, claiming that Kafka’s knew Brod, who loved his friends work, could never do this, and that Kafka was therefore tacitly telling Brod to publish.  Pretty flimsy rationalization.  But without, Brod, we wouldn’t Kafka.

I have lost all my papers that went toward the writing of my first 3 records. Notes, rewrites, etc. I wouldn’t want anyone looking at them.  But what if I did have those notes, and told my wife to dispose of it at the end of her death. What would you have her do? Dishonor my wishes, or put it out there?

There. My first Sunday op ed. (And hey, buy my Xmas record!)


Brad Roberts

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28 Nov

Long time no write!

Dear Friends, Fans, Family , and Comrades –

I have been most remiss in not blogging sooner than now. The truth is, I have not had much to report. I dropped out of the picture generally several years ago, and took a break from doing music altogether. Now things are moving again, and I can share a some of it with you.

I’ve finally mastered the new CTD’s record, entitled “Ooh La La.” And my other new recording project, Satsang Circus’s “Chanting Under the Big Top” is mastered as well. I’m very happy with both, which are very different from each other.

On the CTD record, I am working with Stewart Lerman, who happens to be Suzzy Roche’s partner of 17 years. If you know anything about me at all, you’ll know I became a life-long freak for The Roches when I saw them at age 16 at the Winnipeg Folk festival. Later I had the chance to meet them, as CTD’s opened for them doing an Xmas show at the Bottom Line some years back.  It was through Suzzy Roche, then,  that I met Stewart Lerman.

Stewart and I have the best working relationship I’ve had in my life as a professional singer/songwriter. He gets great vocal takes out of me. And although I write all of the lyrics, Stewart occasionally suggests a different line at crucial moments. He also can put down chord changes for, and hum a melody to, any lyric he sees.  Moreover, his arrangement skills are amazing, and he is an artist as a mixer. He has a lot to bring to the table as a musical collaborator:  he’s worked with literally 100’s of bands, and right now is working on the soundtrack for the upcoming Martin Scorcesse film. He is also one of the gentlest souls I know.

Although this record was inspired and composed on amateur hobbyist instruments, we took these songs and overdubbed real players, creating a very luxurious and almost cinematic feel. I plan to do a video, which will illustrate how these toys work, how they inspired the songs, and what the songs sounded like before the overdubs.

Satsang Circus, on the other hand, was produced by Terry Derkach.  Terry used to live in Winnipeg (I’m from there ) many, many years ago, and we were in a band for about 15 seconds. Then one day I was walking down the street here in NYC, and there he was! We’ve been working together ever since.

The Satsang Circus record is composed of Sanskrit mantras, so there are no lyrics. I invented the melodies and chord changes, and Terry sculpted many beautiful tracks

to flesh them out. He also mixed the record and did a spectacular job. I think that even those CTD fans who have doubts about this record will find themselves pleasantly surprised.

The release of these albums is slated for spring. I am working with MRI records, and have taken on a new manager. I’ll be touring in mid 2010. The rest of the Dummies all have children or serious relationships, and likely won’t come out with me.  But the songs are all mine, and it’s my voice singin’ them, so I hope you’ll all cut me some slack! I’ll likely do a mini-set of Satsang Circus material in the middle of the CTD’s set.

We will have some fabulous merch for both projects. Good design, quality materials, and a source of fond memories. T-shirts pay our bills, so if you want to see me on the road more often, buy our t-shirts!

That’s all for now, folks.

All the best, and happy holidays,


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17 Aug

The Scoop

Hey Guys and DollsI

I know this is getting tiresome, but I just can’t seem to help myself. i resang the entire new CTD record, “Ooh-La-La”, and considered it mixed and ready to master to the digital file which is what we used to call the record. Then it occurred to me and my inveterate co-writer, audio engineer, mixer and producer, Mr Stewart Lerman, that, surprise surprise, we needed MORE STUFF! So, we are getting a violin/violist/pedal-steel player to come in one day, and a trumpet player another day.

This record is becoming symphonic. It’s a thrill to dive into this new approach. And we couldn’t have done it without the optigan, on which we composed. Anyone who gets the chance to play an optigan, do so! All you have to do is press buttons and it plays music in a variety of genres. Made in the 1970’s by Mattell Toys, the omnichord was originally a hobbyist instrument. It has been used more recently by the odd out-there band. Few have explored it’s depths to date, aside from the efforts of Stewart and I, I daresay! Go to and check them out.

So, what started with a toy instrument has evolved into symphonic proportions. No wonder it has taken us over three years to make the thing. But I think you’re gonna love it! The artwork looks freakin’ fantastic already! And Ellen and I have never sounded so good together.

Still no release date, but hey, the last record I made was in 2004, so if I’ve waited this long, so can you! Stand by me, soldiers of great courage and strength<p>All for now.


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