The Bad Plus

Guest Spots: The Bad Plus’ pinewood derby

The Bad Plus: Never StopThe Bad Plus: Never Stop (E1, 9/14/10)

The Bad Plus: “My Friend Metatron”

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Jazz trio The Bad Plus has made a name for itself by reinterpreting popular rock songs and jazz standards in addition to hammering out energetic originals. Unlike its earlier albums, the band’s most recent full-length, Never Stop, consists entirely of Bad Plus compositions. Its unorthodox, avant-garde approach to creative endeavors can be traced back as far as grade school, as this story from drummer Dave King demonstrates.

The Pine Wood Derby
by Dave King of The Bad Plus

In the autumn of 1981, I participated in a Cub Scout event horizon called the Pinewood Derby. Little cars made of pine that had to be assembled from a kit by you alone, not you and your dad.

You were given a block of pine about the size of a walkie-talkie and wheels. You had to carve it in a shape that would allow the car to go fast down a track. You also had to paint it and detail it with racing stripes or personal flair concepts.

I believe there was a manual that was handed out to guide you in the possibly unfamiliar discipline of aerospace engineering. I didn’t read it because I don’t think it actually existed, and my dad refused to help me because he FOLLOWED THE RULES. I pleaded to my parents that I was sure kids were receiving help on the design and carving front because, like any awkward kid, you are aware that your peers that sort of “have it together” are receiving mysterious guidance and LOVE from many sources not as readily available to you. The Cub Scouts is actually an organization wholly devoted to shining a bright light on these deficiencies and dispensing the insecurity thusly.