If you were an Australian growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, you’ll instantly recognise the name of Julius Sumner Miller, the wild haired, somewhat crotchety professor who brought the wonder of science to generations through his TV show, ‘Why Is It So?’, then to further generations with his science-based ads for Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate in the 1980s.
It seems he had an impact in Canada too, and he lives on in the name of incendiary punk band Julius Sumner Miller, from Calgary, whose new single, ‘Leave The Key’, is a rough, raw and somewhat menacing track, with a music video to match – frontman Darren Ollinger sets himself alight in the clip.
In the first verse of ‘Leave The Key’, Ollinger sets the scene by imagining setting himself on fire. “A whole world of tears could not douse out these flames.” He feels somewhat like a human flame thrower, he’s howling, raging, almost as if he feels the very heat nipping at his toes.
‘Lose The Key’ isn’t the only fiery track from JSM; in fact their fourth album, ‘Try It Out’, is wholly flammable, packed with songs each as outspoken and unsparing as the next. The five members of JSM are legends of the Calgary musical subculture, and additionally perform as show bookers, punk promoters, and tireless advocates of off-the-wall and idiosyncratic local sounds. They put these values into practice whenever they plug into an amp, and they do it in the most entertaining way possible.
The raw roughness of ‘Try It Out’ comes from the fact that the band cut the record in a four-day burst of explosive energy in world renowned OCL Studios, followed by legendary punk rocker Stephen Egerton of the Descendents and ALL putting his talents into mastering the album. While the album sounds familiar, it’s far from a throwback, with Ollinger’s lyrics and irreverent perspective enough by themselves to keep the songs fresh.
The group’s namesake Professor Julius Sumner Miller was well known for practical demonstrations of eye-catching physical phenomena, and an image of the man himself features on the cover art for ‘Try It Out’. Ollinger does Miller one better in the clip for ‘Leave The Key’, and as he performs, he is actually on fire. There’s trickery here: he does a full body burn for almost 30 seconds with help from Academy Award Nominee, Guinness World Record Breaking, Fire Stunt Specialist, Colin Decker… adding legit fuel (and flames) to this fiery track. Watch the clip below, and follow Julius Sumner Miller online on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.