BOOK REVIEW: Ninja Sex Party Origins: The Graphic Novel

Ninja Sex Party Origins: The Graphic Novel

“Inspired by The Lonely Island and Flight of the Conchords, Ninja Sex Party was initially about “a Jewish superhero who wears a unitard, with his best friend who’s a ninja, and together they sing songs about… try(ing) to hit [unsuccessfully] on women”. Better known as “NSP”, the duo had their first breakthrough in 2013 when their second LP, Strawberries and Cream entered the top 10 of the Billboard Comedy Charts. Two years later Attitude City would top the Billboard Comedy Charts.

Whilst known for their hits including “Danny Don’t You Know” and “Cool Patrol” and touring with Steel Panther; this graphic novel does not document the bands’ adventures and successes; instead, “Ninja Sex Party Origins” tell the stories of the separate lives of the duo (Dan Avidan and Brian Wecht) from cradle to the point they were first introduced to each other. Seldom song lyrics are referenced and Dan’s show name “Danny Sexbang” is omitted.

Whilst each band member narrates their own story; the antithetical life settings, interests and experiences of these two gentleman is such that it was not a foregone conclusion that they would hit it off and still be around making music (currently eight LP’s and counting with their latest 2020 effort titled The Prophecy). For instance, although both nerdish in their own right; Wecht was a gifted maths student who enjoyed the mathematical formulas of certain styles of music such as Coltrane’s jazz whilst Avidan opted for the “three-chord” ecstasy of bands such as Rush (which inspired his songwriting) who he saw as a teenager with his mother who he called by her first name: Debbie.

Dan always knew he wanted to be a musician and take charge of his own individualistic creativity. In order to secure his creative freedom, he turned down the offer to join the American Boychoir.  Whilst not always a hardworking student (unlike his ninja partner Brian); Dan graduated from college and went on to study Advertising at Boston University. Whilst he disliked doing the degree, Avidan, who was encouraged by his father Avi (who Dan also called by his first name) admits that it put him in good stead.

Although mute and usually found behind a keyboard in a ninja costume; Brian is actually more vocal and descriptive when it comes to relationships. The closest Dan gets to talking about his love life is when in his tells he tells his school friends whilst playing Magic: The Gathering about a girl he has a crush on called Janell. Nonetheless, the visuals for Dan’s daydream (about this girl he would never ask out) are exemplary when she rescues him from a mutant spider-like creature and then kisses him. Brian talks about his first long-term girlfriend Katey who he moves to San Diego with and most importantly, the love of his life: his wife Rachel. Rachel fell in love with Brian instantly and took basic theoretical science lessons to impress him so they could discuss his job at the time (which involved String Theory) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Brian’s life with NPA began after he got married when he was linked together with Dan via his improv group after agreeing to dress up in a ninja costume as part of Dan’s idea for a two-piece band called Ninja Dance Party.

Whilst both men were passionate about music (and have always been involved with it); music was always the only endgame career for Dan. For example, when he was living in Brooklyn, Dan travelled four hours by train just to work with a guy called Pete on his project Skyhill whilst holding down a day job. Whilst Dan’s fellow band members in past projects often lost interest when sales and fan bases didn’t materialise; Dan didn’t. Dan’s perseverance finally paid off. His band NPA now has almost 1.5 million YouTube subscribers and has played arena shows including the Credit Union One Arena in Chicago.

As XS Noize has found on many occasions; the graphic novel format goes hand in hand with music and is the ideal medium to tell the lives and adventures of artists and bands and their works. Ninja Sex Party Origins: The Graphic Novel goes one step further by telling the pre-history of band members before they even knew the other members even existed. Told with openness and good humour, we get to know a lot more about the NPA members and the timeline of events that brought this duo together.  Ninja Sex Party Origins: The Graphic Novel will undoubtedly be an innovating factor for other bands and artists to tell their histories before the conception of their projects took place.

 

 

 

 

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