Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 16, 2014

‘Wonk Rock’ Worship

HOH’s interview with the “wonk rock” band the Consensus Bureau is completely nonsensical, which means we now consider this group of four (and sometimes five) players our new house band.

You can listen to sample tracks on their fiendishly cryptic blog, which portrays the group thusly:

The Consensus Bureau is your one stop shop for songs about any of the following: robots, monkeys, existential despair, political satire, secret agents, investment advice, reverse Polish notation.

The Consensus Bureau is Mr. Ontology, playing lead guitar, bass and keyboards simultaneously, according to the band website. Dr. Subtrahend sings and plays trumpet and says she has mapped the human genome on to her performance. Ayn Random plays bass and keyboards. She also sings and launders money. Brother Pelagius sings and plays guitar.

Disclaimer: HOH’s interview was conducted electronically, and the band answered as a collective, depending on your definition of “answered.”

HOH: When did you start the band?

CB: The origins of the Consensus Bureau are shrouded in mystery. Some say the band has always existed. Others say it is of much more recent vintage. But radiocarbon dating has proved conclusively that the band was formed in 2007.

HOH: Do you all work together in the federal government?

CB: Alas, we are not all lucky enough to be (technically) bureaucrats, but rest assured that the bureaucratizing instinct is strong in all of us. The current line-up of the band is: one bureaucrat, one computer programmer, one Wall Street executive, one professor of mathematics and a guest drummer who may or may not be otherwise gainfully employed. We split our time between NYC and DC.

HOH: What kind of music do you play and/or write?

CB: We experiment with all genres — rock, blues, country, jazz. We had been describing ourselves as “nerd rock” for some time, but [Washington Post columnist] Ezra Klein used the term “wonk rock” in his tweet and we are happily stealing that moniker. Our lyrics define our genre more than anything.

HOH: How often do you plan on releasing a track?

CB: Our debut album (“Just Heads”) came out last year and will be on iTunes next week. We are currently recording our second album and are doing some limited touring. We will be playing at the Delancey in NYC on Monday. New tracks appear on our website quite frequently.

HOH: The Consensus Bureau tag line is “Putting the ROCK in bureaucracy.” Are you bringing out the “ROCK” latent in bureaucracy, or are you in fact inserting “ROCK” into a bureaucracy that is otherwise lacking in “ROCK?”

CB: Most definitely the former. Faceless bureaucrats may lack faces, but they certainly have hips. Our aim is to liberate those funky functionaries by fusing their love of rhythm to their love of abstruse policy analysis. You can have it all.

HOH: Who or what is proving the “roll” to your “ROCK?”

CB: This is a fair question. Let me begin to answer your query by restating it, perhaps more elaborately than originally phrased, in order to give myself time to think: Who, or indeed what (you may ask) provides the all-important “roll” to our otherwise more-than-sufficient “rock”? Reasonable persons may differ on this question, as they have for decades now, but there is one thing that we, as the Consensus Bureau, are absolutely certain of: American exceptionalism. The elite media will almost certainly claim that I have been too evasive in this answer, and that, ultimately, little can be discerned as to either the specific programs we would seek to alter or indeed the broader philosophy that undergirds those prescriptions. In this era of the 24-hour news cycle, however, this cannot be helped. Let me simply end with these two words: Ronald Reagan.

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