Questions (Last Updated July 2006)

Who are the Crash Test Dummies?
What is the history of the Crash Test Dummies?
Where did the band get its name?
Is (band member X) married/dating/gay/whatever?
What all is currently available in the way of CTD recordings?
Which songs have the Dummies recorded videos for?
What can you tell me about their non-album songs?
What styles of instruments do the Dummies play?
Where did the lead singer get his deep voice?
So does Brad Roberts REALLY have a third testicle?
Did Brad Roberts have health issues while writing God Shuffled His Feet?
Who is Solomon Grundy from Superman's Song?
What are ben-wah balls, as referred to in An Old Scab?
Does Brad Roberts sometimes change the words to Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm?
Is it true "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded a parody of one of CTD's songs?
Who are the extra musicians who have toured with the Dummies?
Are Crash Test Dummies Satanists?
Are there any Crash Test Dummies sites on the World Wide Web?
Are there any Crash Test Dummies mailing lists out there?
Was there was a book written about the Dummies?
What's the most popular CTD song?
When are the Dummies coming out with a new album?
When are the Dummies going to perform in my area?


Who are the Crash Test Dummies?
Crash Test Dummies are a musical group, originally from Winnipeg, Canada. In alphabetical order, the most well-known line up of Crash Test Dummies:

Benjamin Darvill (01/04/67):
harmonica, mandolin, acoustic and electric guitar, and more...
Michel Dorge (09/15/60):
drums
Ellen Reid (07/14/66):
back-up vocals, piano, keyboards, accordion
Brad Roberts (01/10/64):
lead vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, songwriting
Dan Roberts (05/22/67):
bass

The lineup of Crash Test Dummies has changed through the years, though the above five are often thought of as being the "official" lineup of Crash Test Dummies. These days, though, not all of them play on each album or join each tour, and the band is often joined by supplemental musicians. This seemed to start with the release of I Don't Care That You Don't Mind, which had originally been planned as a Brad Roberts solo CD. Three of the five Dummies - Dan, Mitch, and Benjamin - did not appear on this album, and Benjamin did not tour to support it.

With the band members actively pursuing personal projects while numerous other musicians perform on Crash Test Dummies albums and at live shows, it becomes much more difficult to say who "officially" is a member of Crash Test Dummies. Lead singer Brad Roberts owns the rights to the Crash Test Dummies name, and so there can't be a Dummies album or tour without him. The other band members and musicians participate (or not) in each CTD project based on their own schedules, interest, and any number of other intangibles. The band has NOT broken up, nobody has officially left the band, and there are no hard feelings between bandmates.

Having said all this, it seems unlikely that either Mitch or Benjamin will perform with the band again, being both focused on their solo projects and being far from Brad Roberts' home of New York City.

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What is the history of the Crash Test Dummies?
In many ways, the origin of Crash Test Dummies is tied to the history of two Winnipeg nightspots, the Spectrum Cabaret and the Blue Note Cafe. These were owned by Curtis Riddell, a next-door neighbour to the Roberts family.

In the mid-1980s, Riddell joined with Brad to form the decidedly less-than-serious bar band, Bad Brad Roberts and the St. James Rhythm Pigs. Their material, according to Brad, consisted largely of "ridiculous cover tunes - everything from cheesy Irish traditionals to TV theme songs to acoustic versions of Alice Cooper hits." Over time, the band evolved into the Crash Test Dummies that we all know and love. Ellen Reid and Benjamin Darvill became permanent additions. George West, the original bass player, quit and was replaced by Dan Roberts, Brad's brother. Riddell was replaced by Vince Lambert, who later quit/was fired (depending on who you listen to), and was replaced by Mitch Dorge around the time that The Ghosts That Haunt Me was released.

Crash Test Dummies first began to achieve commercial success in Canada with the release of The Ghosts That Haunt Me in 1991. The album eventually reached quadruple platinum sales (400,000) in Canada, largely due to the overwhelming popularity of the smash hit single Superman's Song, which earned the Dummies the 1991 Juno Award for Group of the Year.

However, the Dummies did not receive much international recognition until the 1993 release of their second album, God Shuffled His Feet. Particularly instrumental in increasing CTD's exposure in the U.S. market was the appearance of a new type of radio format: adult album-oriented alternative rock (AAA). These stations put the single Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm in high rotation. The result was that by mid-1994, the album had passed the platinum sales mark in the U.S. (one million), and had also earned the Dummies three Grammy nominations and three more Juno nominations. To date, GSHF has sold more than five and a half million copies worldwide.

In 1996, the Dummies' third album, A Worm's Life, was released to mixed critical and moderate commercial success. The guitar-heavy singles were warmly received in some markets, but nothing matched the runaway success of either Superman's Song or Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm. Still, the album went platinum in Canada in less than one month.

Give Yourself A Hand, the Dummies' fourth album, was released March 23, 1999. The album showcased a new sound for the Dummies, as it featured Ellen Reid singing lead vocals on three tracks, and Brad Roberts singing in a falsetto on several others. The whole sound of the album was much more electronic than the previous recordings.

During a hiatus between albums, Benjamin Darvill became the first Dummy to release solo material. Under the name Son Of Dave, Darvill first brought out the album 01, followed with B. Darvill's Wild West Show. Released on Benjamin's own label, Husky Records, the eclectic CDs received widespread critical acclaim. You can pick them up through Ben's website at www.huskyrecords.com or Canadian online retailer www.maplemusic.com. As of this writing, Benjamin has released a second album (02, of course) under the Son Of Dave name, and is continuing his solo career. He hasn't performed with the Dummies since the Give Yourself A Hand tour.

The Crash Test Dummies parted ways with their record label, BMG, after the end of the GYAH tour. Free from major-label restrictions, the Dummies surprised fans in 2001 by putting their solo projects on hold for a fifth studio album and tour. After suffering a near-fatal car accident in the fall of 2000, Brad found himself recuperating in the town of Argyle, Nova Scotia. It was there that he met some local "lobster fishermen" who happened to be quite musically inclined - Kent Greene, Dave Morton, and Danny MacKenzie. Together, they recorded the bulk of I Don't Care That You Don't Mind, which was to be Brad's first solo album. Later on, Ellen was brought in to record backing vocals for a few tunes, and Dan agreed to tour with Brad. When Ellen and Mitch agreed to tour as well, the Crash Test Dummies name was put on the record. This album saw the Dummies returning to their acoustic roots. Brad compared this album to the Dummies' first, The Ghosts That Haunt Me, though he calls it more atmospheric and polished.

Near the end of 2001, some new Dummies solo albums were released. First, Ellen Reid launched her debut solo effort, Cinderellen. This album showcases both Ellen's unique vocal style and her clever (yet touching) lyrics. Ellen's web site, MsEllenReid.com, has the album for sale.

Soon after, Brad Roberts' long-awaited double-live CD and rockumentary entitled Crash Test Dude were made available through MapleMusic.

2002 opened with the surprise of Mitch Dorge's debut album, As Trees Walking. The release of this album coincided with the release of Mitch Dorge: Down Sampling Perception, a video covering Mitch's live presentations. On the CD, Mitch played almost all of the instruments, took some of the photos for the liner notes, and won a Prairie Music Award for Best Instrumental Recording. The album and video can be ordered from Mitch's Web site, MitchDorge.com.

Brad, Dan, and Ellen returned as Crash Test Dummies at the end of 2002 with Jingle All The Way, a long-rumoured Christmas album. Due to distribution issues, the album proved very difficult to find (though online retailers like Amazon.com carried the album). This is the only Crash Test Dummies album which features no original lyrics from Brad, though the Dummies' spin on some holiday favourites is indeed original.

2003 saw the release of Puss 'n' Boots. Much like I Don't Care, the album began life as a Brad Roberts solo project. Co-written by Stuart Cameron, 13 songs were selected from a pool of 30. Ellen sang backing vocals and Dan played bass, though much of the music - funky grooves that would not have seemed out of place on Give Yourself A Hand - was performed by other musicians.

Songs of the Unforgiven, the eighth album under the Crash Test Dummies name, was recorded not long after Puss 'n' Boots.

The future promises both more group projects and solo efforts from the Dummies. Brad Roberts has recorded enough material for at least one new Crash Test Dummies album. Ellen Reid has also expressed her desire to record another album, and Mitch Dorge could surprise us with a new project at any time.

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Where did the band get its name?
Crash Test Dummies was adopted initially as a joke, at the suggestion of a friend in medical school. Apparently through constant use, the name stuck. Among other monikers considered were Skin Graft and the Chemotherapists.

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Is (band member X) married/dating/gay/whatever?
The short answer: this FAQ and this web site try to avoid discussing the personal lives of band members. They can release whatever information they please - it's not our place to do so here.

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What all is currently available in the way of CTD recordings?
Coming up with a complete list of Crash Test Dummies recordings is near impossible, when you take into account all singles (commercial, promotional, radio, and otherwise), contributions to compilation albums, and all sorts of merchandise. We've tried to document every instance here, but surely some of the more obscure albums will be missed.

There are separate pages on CrashTestDummies.com for each of the studio albums and solo albums.

Demo Tapes:
Original Recipe (1988)
This is what started it all, the original Crash Test Dummies demo cassette. It includes four songs that eventually made their way to the first studio album (Superman's Song, Androgynous, The Bereft's Man's Song, and Here On Earth), along with Fundies Never Have Fun On Sundays, which is only available on this cassette. Copies of this demo tape are extremely rare and valuable).

Demo Tape #2 (1989)
The second (and most cleverly named) CTD demo tape featured only two songs. The Ghosts That Haunt Me became the title track of their first CD, but Row Bullies Row has never been released on CD. This demo tape is even harder to find than the first one.

Studio Albums:
The Ghosts That Haunt Me (1991) Arista/BMG ARCD-8677
In addition to the standard jewel box configuration, this album was also released in a limited edition 10" picture sleeve. The CD is identical to the standard issue, but it is tucked in a slot of the two-layered cardboard sleeve that is visible after the hinged cover photo of Superman's torso is opened.

God Shuffled His Feet (1993) Arista/BMG 74321-16531

A Worm's Life (1996) Arista/BMG 74321-39779-2/4
The advance copy of the CD (1996, Arista/BMG ARCD-9779) features a black-and-white close-up of the AWL bird on the front, and several slightly different song titles (Over Achiever, He Likes To Feel It, Drivers' Gestures, Many Dangers, All This Ugly, Old Scab).

Give Yourself A Hand (1999) Arista/BMG 74321-63822-2/4

I Don't Care That You Don't Mind (2001) Cha-Ching Records, 80291-16801-2

Jingle All The Way (2002) Cha-Ching Records, KOC-CD-8439

Puss 'n' Boots (2003) Cha-Ching Records, HUN 10004

Songs of the Unforgiven (2004) Deep Fried Records, SPV 10005

Solo Albums:
Benjamin Darvill/Son Of Dave: 01 (1999) Husky Records, HR 0052)
Benjamin Darvill: B. Darvill's Wild West Show (2001) Husky Records, HR 0053
Benjamin Darvill/Son of Dave: 02 (2003) Husky Records, HR 0069
Mitch Dorge: As Trees Walking (2002) Severed Head Publishing, ATW2787337
Ellen Reid: Cinderellen (2001) Mr. Friendly Productions, ER 101
Brad Roberts: Crash Test Dude (2001) Cha-Ching Records, 80291-10001-2

Promotional Albums:
A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Dummy (1991) Arista/BMG (Can) ASCD-2131
This was a promotional CD that included four songs (each repeated twice) and 32 minutes of interview clips from Brad (the majority of these are repeated as well).

The Early Bird: Selected Songs From A Worm's Life (1996)
This was a promo-only collection of songs (He Liked To Feel It, My Enemies, I'm Outlived By That Thing?, Overachievers, My Own Sunrise, and A Worm's Life) shortly before the official release of the album.

EP Singles (most of these are CD-only):
Afternoons & Coffeespoons (1994) Arista/BMG (Can) ASCD-2706
contains only the studio version of A & C

Afternoons & Coffeespoons (1994) Arista/BMG (Can) 74321-21688-2
also includes Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, God Shuffled His Feet, and In The Days
Of The Caveman, all live versions

Afternoons & Coffeespoons (1994) Arista (US) 07822-12708
also includes Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, God Shuffled His Feet, and In The Days Of The Caveman (same as above)

Afternoons & Coffeespoons (1994) RCA (UK) 74321-21962/3-2
the first disc also includes studio The Ghosts That Haunt Me, and live versions of In The Days Of The Caveman (same as above) and Androgynous
the second disc also includes live versions of Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm and God

Shuffled His Feet (same as above)

Androgynous (1991) BMG CCD 086
also includes Winter Song

Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead, The (1995) RCA/BMG 07863-64262-2
also includes Hurdy Gurdy Man by Butthole Surfers

Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead, The (1995) RCA 74321-27677
also includes Afternoons & Coffeespoons, When I Go Out With Artists, and a live version of Swimming In Your Ocean

Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead, The (1995) RCA 74321-27676
also includes God Shuffled His Feet, Swimming In Your Ocean, and a live
Afternoons & Coffeespoons

Every Morning (2001) Cha-Ching CCDJ-17800-2
includes only the album version

First Noel, The (1991) First Warning/BMG Canada/Arista 0-6192-17258-4
also includes Winter Song

Get You In The Morning (1999) Arista/BMG/ViK. ASCD-3677
includes only the album version

Get You In The Morning (1999) Arista/BMG/ViK. 74321 68117 2
also includes the radio and extended GYITM remixes and Party's Over

Give Yourself A Hand (1999) Arista/BMG/ViK. ASCD-3694
includes only the Give Yourself A Guitar remix

God Shuffled His Feet (1994) Arista/BMG ASCD-2766
includes an edited version of GSHF and the studio Two Knights And Maidens

God Shuffled His Feet (1994) Arista/BMG (Holland) 74321-16531
includes an edited version of GSHF and the studio Two Knights And Maidens

God Shuffled His Feet (1994) RCA (UK) 74321-23808
includes an edited version of GSHF and the studio Two Knights And Maidens

God Shuffled His Feet (1994) Arista/BMG (Aus) 74321-25006
also includes.... ????

He Liked To Feel It (1996) Arista/BMG ASCD-3231
includes only the radio edit version of HLTFI

He Liked To Feel It (1996) Arista/BMG KCDP 51386
includes both album and radio edit versions of HLTFI

He Liked To Feel It (1996) Arista/BMG (Can) 74321-41369-2
also includes the Omnichord version of HLTFI

Keep A Lid On Things (1999) BMG (Can) 74321-65163-2
also includes Filter Queen and Handy Candyman

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm (1993) Arista/BMG 07822-12666
also includes studio How Does a Duck Know? and Superman's Song

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm (1993) Arista/BMG (UK) 74321-20151
also includes studio Here I Stand Before Me and live Superman's Song, the same version as the Mountain Stage discs

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm (1993) Arista/BMG (Aus) 74321-18973
also includes.... ????

My Own Sunrise (1997) Arista/BMG Canada ASCD-3302
includes only the studio version of MOS

My Own Sunrise (1997) Arista KCDP-51434
includes the studio version of MOS and interactive CD-rom stuff

My Own Sunrise (1997) Arista 74321-45675-2
also includes All You Pretty Girls, the "Scott Bell" version of Mmm Mmm
Mmm Mmm, and interactive CD-rom stuff

Swimming In Your Ocean (1993) Arista/BMG (Aus) 74321-25006
includes both album and edit versions of Swimming In Your Ocean, Here I Stand Before Me, and a live Superman's Song

Songs From Compilation Albums:
Afternoons & Coffeespoons
from Eddie Bauer Global Releaf Tree Project (1994) Sony Music Special Products A 26510

Afternoons & Coffeespoons
from Q: Really Free (1994)

All You Pretty Girls
from A Testimonal Dinner: The Songs of XTC (1995) Thirsty Ear thi 57019.2

The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead
from Dumb And Dumber: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1995) BMG 07863 66523-2

The Bereft Man's Song
from IndieCan '89 (1989 - believed to be the Dummies' first appearance on CD)

The First Noel
from A Lump Of Coal (1991) First Warning 72705-75702-2

God Shuffled His Feet
from Juno Awards Sampler 1995 (1995) KCDP-51288

He Liked To Feel It
from Hit Zone 3 (1997) Sony Music TVK 24032

In The Days Of The Caveman
from The Flintstones: Music From Bedrock (1994) MCA CMCAD 11045

In The Days Of The Caveman
from Hollywood Soundtracks (1994) Sony Music Special Products A 25360

Keep A Lid On Things
from Chris Sheppard's Groove Station 5 (disc info needed)

Keep A Lid On Things
from The Mod Squad Soundtrack (disc info needed)

Keep A Lid On Things
from Open Borders Vol. 3 (1999) BMG Direct D128251

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
from Live At The World Cafe, Volume 2 (1995) World Cafe WC-9502

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
from 100% Hits (1994) Telstar

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
from The Ultimate Hits '94, Vol. 2 (1994) Telstar

Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
from Simply the Best Radio Hits Timeless Collection (1999) World Cafe Wea
International

Passacaglia/A Bud And A Slice (a Brad Roberts/Joe Jackson duet)
from Joe Jackson & Friends: Heaven & Hell (1997) Sony Classical SK 60273

Superman's Song
from Oh What A Feeling (1996) MCA Juno 25

Superman's Song
from Picked To Click: Arista's Spring/Summer Sampler (1992) Arista ASCD-2234

Superman's Song (live)
from The Best of Mountain Stage, Vol.3 (1992) Blue Plate Music D108724

Superman's Song (live)
from Upfront! Canadians Live From Mountain Stage (1994) BMG/Blue Plate Music BPM 302 CD

Superman's Song (live)
from On The Mountain (1994) KMTT CD 0194

Swimming In Your Ocean
from Earth Day 1996 (1996) HMV Canada Earth1996

Swimming In Your Ocean
from Every Day Is Earth Day (1997) HMV Canada Earth1997 (the whole CD is the same as the Earth Day '96 CD)

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Which songs have the Dummies recorded videos for?
The Dummies have recorded videos for the following songs:

Superman's Song
Androgynous
The Ghosts That Haunt Me
The First Noel
Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm
Afternoons & Coffeespoons
God Shuffled His Feet
Swimming In Your Ocean
The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead
He Liked To Feel It
My Own Sunrise
Keep A Lid On Things
Get You In The Morning
Every Morning
The Day We Never Met
Send Me Home (Ellen Reid solo)

Before the release of The Ghosts That Haunt Me, a promotional video entitled Crash Test Dummies: A Bumper Car Named Desire was produced. The total running time is something like six minutes, and it features brief snippets of videos and an interview with Brad Roberts.

More well known is Symptomology of a Rock Band: The Case of Crash Test Dummies (1994, Arista/BMG, 74321-23424-3). This 45 minute video, done in the style of a medically-oriented rockumentary, was directed by Kris Lefcoe, a friend of the band. It contains the videos for Superman's Song, Afternoons & Coffeespoons, Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, God Shuffled His Feet, and Swimming In Your Ocean interspersed with footage of the band and commentary by various pseudo-professionals.

Brad Roberts released Crash Test Dude, a videography of his solo tour, to complement the two-disc live album release. Currently available only on VHS, there are plans to re-release this on the first-ever Crash Test Dummies-related DVD. In the meantime, the VHS tape is available from MapleMusic.com.

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What can you tell me about their non-album songs?

All You Pretty Girls was recorded in in 1995, and can be found on the XTC tribute album A Testimonial Dinner: The Songs Of XTC, which was released in late 1995. The original can be found on XTC's The Big Express. There are no singles and no video for this one - the only way to get it is to buy the disc. The Dummies' covers of both TBOPP and AYPG (which were written by XTC's Andy Partridge) can be largely attributed to Brad's tremendous admiration for the band, and for Andy Partridge in particular.

The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead was recorded in 1994 for inclusion on the soundtrack to Dumb and Dumber. This song is rather unique in that it is the first CTD song released where Ellen sings lead vocals. The original was recorded by the English group XTC, and it can be found on their album Nonsvch. The original version features a verse that was cut from the Dummies' version in order to save a little time:

Peter Pumpkinhead pulled them all
Emptied churches and shopping malls
When he spoke it would raise the roof
Peter Pumpkinhead told the truth

The video was filmed in Toronto and featured Jeff Daniels, one of Dumb and Dumber's stars.

The original version of The First Noel was included on an alternative Christmas compilation called A Lump Of Coal. It's unknown whether or not this album is still in production, but it was spotted in a few Canadian record stores during the 1998 Christmas season. Other artists featured on the album include The Odds and Henry Rollins. A video exists for this song, as does a very rare cassette single.

Filter Queen and Handy Candyman are two songs available on the CD single for Keep A Lid On Things. Along with Party's Over, which is on the CD single for Get You In The Morning, these songs join with the Give Yourself A Hand album to comprise the 15 tracks that Brad kept after recording something like 40 songs for that album. The missing songs are locked away, sayeth Brad, never to see the light of day.

Fundies Never Have Fun On Sundays is featured on Original Recipe, the Dummies' five-track demo tape. So far, this song has yet to be recorded for a studio album. This song features Ellen Reid on lead vocals, and it's an early testament (hah! a pun) to Roberts' fascination with religion. No singles, no video, nothing. The only way to hear this song is to track down a copy of the original demo tape.

One Of Us is best known as a Joan Osborne hit. However, the song's writer, Eric Bazilian, had written the song with Brad Roberts' bass baritone in mind. When the two met, Brad recorded the song just by himself with an acoustic guitar. When news of the song first broke, it was expected to appear on the Armageddon soundtrack. It did not, and so far, the song has only been made available to the public in a leaked MP3 that found its way onto file-sharing networks.

Passacaglia/A Bud And A Slice is a duet featuring Joe Jackson and Brad Roberts, and it's found on Joe Jackson's CD Heaven & Hell. The eight tracks on the album include a prologue and seven songs representing the seven deadly sins; Brad & Joe's song represents sloth. The entire CD consists of Joe Jackson teaming up with various other artists; among others, Suzanne Vega and Jane Siberry.

Row Bullies Row is a traditional Celtic song, available on the ultra-rare (and wonderfully titled) Demo Tape #2. It hasn't been included on any other CTD recording, and your chances of finding the demo tape anywhere are slim to none.

Samson and Delilah was performed only during live concerts. For most Dummies fans, this was their first chance to hear Ellen sing lead vocals. The only way to hear this song involves tracking down a bootleg recording. The song is often refered to as If I Had My Way, and it has been recorded by The Grateful Dead and Peter, Paul and Mary, among others.

As well, the Dummies used to perform many traditional Celtic songs, including The Rocky Road To Dublin, Liverpool Lullabye, and others. They have covered songs by Johnny Cash, Alice Cooper, The Pogues, and Britney Spears, among others. Brad Roberts also wrote a song for his now ex-girlfriend, a song he performed in concert once, but said he will never record. In short, there are quite a few songs that the Dummies have no intention of recording, so be sure to see them in concert to hear these tracks.

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What styles of instruments do the Dummies play?

The following information is taken directly from Canadian Musician Magazine, Volume XVIII, Number 6. It's from late 1996, so I'm sure this is dated by now. If you're not a musician yourself, feel free to skip to the next question - I don't have a clue about what any of this means and I'd like to think I'm not the only one.

Brad Roberts
Guitars: Custom-made Lowden acoustic guitars, Fender Stratocasters, Jerry Jones Baritone Guitar
Amplifier: Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier, with two Mesa Boogie 2x12 cabinets
Pedals: Voodoo Vibe tremolo pedal, Carl Martin compressor pedals, a Fender reverb unit (used in effects loop on the Triple Rectifier)

Dan Roberts
Basses: Dan Roberts uses Warwick basses exclusively - Streamer 5-string bass, Corvette 5-string bass, Thumb fretlass bass
Amplifiers: Ampeg SVT II with an Ampeg SVT cabinet
Pedals: Boss OC 2 octave pedal

Ellen Reid
Kurzweil PC88 piano/controller and Kurzweil K2000 sampler keyboard
King MG20 accordion
Quik Lok two-tier accordion stand

Benjamin Darvill
Harmonicas: Various Lee Oscar harmonicas, Hohner Bass harmonica and harmonetta
Percussion: Assorted Rhythm Tech and LP percussion
Amplifier: Fender Super for "dirty harmonica sound"
Guitar: Gibson JT 45 acoustic
Mandolin: Aida mandolin
Pedals: Fishman Pro EQ, DOD FX 10 pre-amp. DOD 270 pedals, Ibanez VL 10 volume pedal, Korg DT 2 tuners

Mitch Dorge
Drums: Pearl Masters series Maple Custom kit - 24x18 bass drum, 12x10 tenor tom, 14x14 floor tom, 8x12 snare drum. Kit mounted in Pearl DR 110 rack
Cymbals: various Sabians

Tour guitarist Murray Pulver
Guitars: Fender Elite Series Stratocaster, Larrivee acoustic
Amplifier: Mesa Boogie DC 5 with Marshall 1922 2x12 extension cabinet
Pedals: Nobles tremolo, DOD Octo plus, Ibanez Tube Screamer, Boss compressor/sustainer, Boss Chromatic Tuner

Brad Roberts' God Of Thunder studio
Mackie 32x8 console
(2) Alesis ADAT Multitrack recorders
4-channel Pro Tools system and Macintosh 7100 running logic sequencing program
Outboard Gear:
Lexicon PCM 80, Yamaha SPX 900,Drawmer 1960 Compressor, Amek 9198 preamp, dbx 172 Supergate, dbx 266 compressors
Microphones:
a selection of Shure and AKG mic
Monitors:
Yamaha NS 10s

Each component of Brad's studio has its own road case and can be shipped wherever he wants.

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Where did the lead singer get his deep voice?
Depending on Brad's mood, he'll usually give one of two answers - either he inherited his bass baritone from his paternal grandfather, or... he possesses a third testicle.

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So does Brad Roberts REALLY have a third testicle?
Well, if you really want to know, you can ask him yourself. If it's the kind of thing you're into, demand proof. If he likes you, he might show you.

For those of you who don't want to get into Brad's pants, the short answer is no. During an appearance on Canadian talk show Open Mike, Brad debunked the whole story, saying it was just something he made up as a joke.

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Did Brad Roberts have health issues while writing God Shuffled His Feet?
This question is asked a lot, based on the lyrical content of the album. At the time, Brad said there were two themes that appeared consistently in his work - pyjamas and doctors (hence the name of our mailing list). Indeed, the album's lyrics refer to doctors, x-rays, and "a rattle in my bronchi." While it's true that Brad does suffer from a mild case of asthma, there was nothing more serious than that.

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Who is "Solomon Grundy" from Superman's Song?
Solomon Grundy and Superman collided in Superman issues 301, 319, and 320. Grundy, "The Marshland Monster," was a very large, very dim-witted, zombie-type creature who came from an alternate dimension in order to find other people (he was lonely, poor thing). As all good monsters know, to make friends, you must pummel Superman, and so he did. Finally Superman ended up leaving Grundy on the moon, which meant that he was again left with no people, and no oxygen as well... Roberts claims that he bought one of the aforementioned comics on the way home from a physical examination in Grade 7, and when later writing the song, he chose Grundy because it rhymed (well, almost) with "money" and none of the other super-villains did.

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What are ben-wah balls, as referred to in An Old Scab?
This question was asked a lot right around the release of A Worm's Life. Ben-wah balls are these... well... little metal balls, and their whole purpose in life is that... well... women are supposed to take these things and insert them into themselves. Supposedly, this strengthens certain muscles and produces pleasurable feelings. I can't imagine that they could be anything other than cold and heavy, but then I don't own the right equipment to test it out for myself.

For a really uncomfortable thought, consider ben-wah balls and the song There Are Many Dangers - specifically, the verse that begins When it's very very cold out...

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Does Brad Roberts sometimes change the words to Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm?
Sometime during their 1994 God Shuffled His Feet tour, Brad started singing an alternate third verse:

'Cause then, this kid named Scott Bell
Got to keep his tonsils in a jar for show-and-tell
But when he went to bring them
His mom had thrown them out in the garbage
He couldn't quite explain it
She wouldn't let him keep them

When performing this version, Brad usually follows the song with a remark to the effect of "when you've had to suffer through a song a million (expletive varies) times, you might as well have it changed up for the live program."

There is a bit of a story behind the Scott Bell verse, as apparently Brad chose from three alternatives when originally composing the song. The inferred result is that the ecstatic Christians beat out Scott Bell and his tonsils to make the album. No hints as of yet as to what the last remaining alternative was...

Brad Roberts has actually been known to change the lyrics to several different songs during live shows, depending on his mood. He has a penchant for singing the line "and you left me with TV movies and a messy kitchen" from I Think I'll Disappear Now as "and you left me with TV movies and masturbation". During recent concerts, Brad has taken to replacing the "Mmm's" in Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm with "oh yeahs," "ch-chings," and other new noises.

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Is it true "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded a parody of one of CTD's songs?
Yes indeed. Here's some very-complete info:

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Greatest Hits Volume II
(Scotti Bros. Records 72392 75456-2)
Track 1: HEADLINE NEWS [3:46]
Produced by Al Yankovic
Enginered and Mixed by Tony Papa
Assistant Engineers: Colin Sauers and Jamie Dell
Keyboards: Pat Regan
Parody of "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm' by Crash Test Dummies (Brad Roberts)
New Lyrics by Al Yankovic
Published by Polygram International Publishing Inc / Door Number Two Music (ASCAP) / Dummies Productions Inc.
Background Vocals: Lisa Popeil; Musical Hands: "Musical Mike" Kieffer
Released: September 1994

To clarify, the song, called Headline News, is a parody of Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm. The verses consider the tabloid exploits of three now rather infamous individuals; Michael Fay (the guy who got caned in Singapore), Tonya Harding, and John Wayne Bobbitt.

The parody was recorded with the full cooperation of CTD, and can also be found on Al's 1994 box set Permanent Record (1994, Attic, 72392 75451-2/4) and on a CD single accompanied by Christmas At Ground Zero (1994, Attic, CD 446). As well, a video for this song exists, and it's available on Yankovic's Ultimate Video Collection DVD.

As an aside, Al once performed the song at the MuchMusic Video Awards, with the Crash Test Dummies as his backup band. Al's version of the song features kazoos near the end, and legend has it that before the live performance, Ellen snuck out and bought kazoos for all the Dummies - unbeknownst to Al - so when the Dummies started playing kazoos, it came as a big surprise to the Weird one. In interviews, Al has singled out the Dummies as being particularly good sports about his parody.

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Who are the extra musicians who have toured with the Dummies?
There have been several musicians who joined Crash Test Dummies on tour to help "fill-out the sound" and recreate the songs.

On the God Shuffled His Feet Tour, the Dummies were joined by Kiva, though at the time she was calling herself Kathy Brown. She was a friend from Winnipeg who accompanied the band on tour to provide additional keyboards and back-up vocals. According to Brad, Kiva's contribution was necessary to recreate the sound of the studio recordings of GSHF, many of which were produced with multiple tracks. In addition, she possesses the rather unusual ability of "Mongolian overtoning," in which she manipulates her voice such that she can sing two distinct notes simultaneously. Kiva had been known to demonstrate this talent during CTD concerts, and it can also be found on Symptomology (during Mitch's section). It is unknown whether she will rejoin the band for any future tours, though it would seem unlikely. You can visit her website at kivaweb.com.

Mr. Murray Pulver - often referred to as "The Pulverizer" - is a guitarist from Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. Like Kiva before him, he was brought in to help fill out the Dummies' sound during live shows. This time, they brought in an extra guitarist, as the new material from A Worm's Life was rockier, with more over-dubbed guitars. During the Give Yourself A Hand Tour, he also provided backing vocals on some songs, notably the "you did, baby" parts of Keep A Lid On Things. Murray also toured with Brad Roberts for a serious of acoustic shows.

Also joining the band for the Give Yourself A Hand Tour was keyboardist Ray Coburn, who joined the tour to flesh out the album's electronic sound. Apart from being a talented musician, Ray also produced Dayna Manning's successful debut album before joining the tour.

With Murray being unable to join the I Don't Care... Tour, there was a vacant slot for a tour guitarist. The very talented Stuart Cameron stepped in and has impressed lots of fans. Son of Canadian star John Allan Cameron, Stuart toured with fiddler Ashley MacIsaac for many years before joining up with the Dummies. Regarding the new gig, Stuart said "I love the band, and everyone in it. It's an amazing feeling when you can walk into a 'family' and feel right at home. Lots of intelligent conversations and laughter."

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Are Crash Test Dummies Satanists?
No, but believe it or not, we actually have been asked this question. Apparently, it all started with a remark made by Brad when he was asked how he felt about receiving three Grammy nominations. In his typical manner, Brad replied with something to the effect of "it looks like all those pacts with Satan are finally paying off..."

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Are there any Crash Test Dummies sites on the World Wide Web?
At least a few people have been obsessive enough about Crash Test Dummies to create websites. Here's a partial list:

Son Of Dave (Benjamin Darvill's solo project): http://www.sonofdave.com/
Ellen Reid's Web site: http://www.msellenreid.com
Mitch Dorge's Web site: http://www.mitchdorge.com
Deeeep Throat: http://www.deeeepthroat.com
CTD on Canoe: http://www.canoe.ca/JamMusicArtistsC/crashtest.html
The Official CTD Fanclub: http://clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/crashtestdummiesfanclub

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Are there any Crash Test Dummies mailing lists out there?
There is a moderated info-only list called Pyjamas & Doctors, and a fan discussion list called Keep A Lid Off Things. Click here for subscription information.

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Was there a book written about the Dummies?
Indeed. Superman's Song: The Story of Crash Test Dummies was written by Stephen Ostick, former music critic at the Winnipeg Free Press. The book was published by Quarry Press, and was released in Canada in early October 1995. The book, an unauthorized biography of the band, was published in trade paperback form, contains about fifty photos, and is 203 pages long. The book is now out of print, and the author passed away in 1998.

As mentioned, the book was unauthorized, and in the third (and final) issue of Dummyheads (the original CTD fan club newsletter), Brad Roberts was quoted as saying that "the general tone is nauseatingly sentimental, the fact-finding is wildly inaccurate, and the analysis ranges from the merely dull to the downright bone-headed."

When asked to respond to those comments for this FAQ, Mr. Ostick defended his book, saying that "all the information came either from the public record, from the mouths of the Dummies themselves, or from those who were there and saw or heard it for themselves."

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What's the most popular CTD song?
Except for the years when we forget, we run a Favourite Song Poll on the Crash Test Dummies mailing lists in January of each year. Superman's Song won the first year, but Afternoons & Coffeespoons has won each year since. As it's my favourite Crash Test Dummies song anyway, let's go with that one.

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When are the Dummies coming out with a new album?
Just keep checking the web site. Sometimes we hear rumours far in advance, but sometimes they like to surprise us...

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When are the Dummies going to perform in my area?
No tour dates are available at this time. Please check back for more information.

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