Nerf Herder is your typically atypical loony "underground wiseass joke record turns into a pop single and record deal" story: Guitarist Parry Gripp, drummer Steve Sherlock and bassist Charlie Dennis christen themselves Nerf Herder (from a line in The Empire Strikes Back), put together a goofy, three-chord, nerd-rock rant about how life just hasn't been the same without ol' David Lee Roth called "Van Halen," press a few singles for some friends, a DJ hears it, FM rock radio (including Howard Stern) loves it, and a major record label signs them to record a full album.
Nerf Herder is only thirty minutes long, and doesn't vary much (okay, at all) from the sound of three guys bashing away on bass, drums and guitar in somebody's garage or frat-house basement. If you can get past that, these guys are often both clever AND funny, musically and lyrically, which is never as easy as it sounds. The chorus to "Nosering Girl" is classic pop worthy of Nick Lowe. The pathetic tale of a guy apologizing for all the trouble he's caused a girl since she dumped him, "Sorry" is an absolute hoot: "Sorry I showed up at your party...sorry I drank all your Bacardi...sorry I had sex with your sister...sorry I crashed through your window on acid." And "Van Halen," the song that started all the trouble, is tight and well-crafted: the vocal harmonies in the chorus are just so Van Halen, supporting the lyrics, "Can't you hear Jamie cryin'? / She's runnin' with the devil"; and digging at former lead singer Sammy Hagar, "Dave lost his hairline / But you lost your cool, buddy / I can't drive 55 / I'll never buy your lousy records again / Never again, never again..." An absolutely great party record.