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New Song, Animation Pokes Fun at Oregon Coast's Exploding Whale

Published 11/09/21 at 6:02 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

New Song, Animation Pokes Fun at Oregon Coast's Exploding Whale

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(Portland, Oregon) – The Oregon coast's famed and infamous Exploding Whale definitely had some sour elements for witnesses to the cataclysmic cetacean event, but there's hardly a sour note to be found with a new tune and animated video put out by a Portland man and his unique cartoon band that honors the wacky bit of history. It's a riotous new entry into the lore.

Blubber Blowup is the song tune by Portland band Flawker Rawker – a distinctive situation all its own that requires much more explanation than the Exploding Whale does (as everyone knows that story by now).

Just in time for the big celebration of the 51st anniversary of the hapless dynamited corpse at Florence, Flawker Rawker unleashes this “bird-brained” tune and video, which are both remarkable achievements all their own, a genre that creator / cartoonist / musician Jack Kent calls “sqawk ‘n roll.”

Flawker Rawker is in some ways a virtual band, led by Kent but with real musicians. It's just that they don't ever play live. This leaves the image up to the imagination, so Kent has brought to life his Gulls web comic strip into the digital animation world, based on a band of would-be “flockstars” called Gulls.

This, then, becomes the animated world of the Exploding Whale in the video.

Evoking Jack Black and Tenacious D a tad, there's even that faux Prog pomp that's a strong element throughout the song. Blubber Blowup is dramatic yet goofy, and it may also be reminiscent of a kind of sea shanty. The flute / acoustic guitar presence brings on a bit of ‘90s Celtic band Tempest – all of it thoroughly appropriate for the mood. Plus, there's one heck of a bass solo that's practically worthy of Yes' Chris Squire himself.

It's a chuckle with just about every line. Yet the real highlight is the animation itself. Kent is no shirker in the multi-talented category, to be sure. Visually, the video is adorable and hilarious with its rocking-out gulls, one of which has a truly funky mohawk. Think The Simpsons meets Jack Black meets, well, the Oregon coast's own Exploding Whale.

The whole shebang starts off with an inventive depiction of the KATU reporter at the opening of the real Exploding Whale video shot on that fateful and gooey day in 1970, using Paul Linnman's actual voice as the Prog / folk-like guitar kicks in. The song fully comes to fruition and the video heads into goofy gull territory. Especially a kick in the pants is the depiction of the whale chunk hitting the car, while the gulls drooling over the possibilities of more grub “raining from the heavens” is cute ‘n kooky.

Kent is releasing Blubber Blowup just in time for the Florence celebration happening on November 13 (the day after actual Exploding Whale Day), but there will be no appearances by the band in the Oregon coast town. Exploding Whale Celebrations Will Abound in Central Oregon Coast Burgh

“We go into the studio, release albums, but really have no intentions in playing live,” Kent told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “Unfortunately, no live performance will be in Florence. I spent over a decade loading band gear and playing in bars, I'm kinda happy to be releasing music and having the comic be the performance.”

Kent liked the Jack Black reference, and mentioned his other influences (which may be apparent to some in the song).

“Jack Black has that goofy quality I like,” he said. “Love the silliness. Weird Al. Flight of the Conchords. Spinal Tap, which is my all time favorite movie.”

By day, Kent is a striking designer who's helped design a multitude of retail spaces, many of them high-profile sports ventures. His cartoon work also been featured on a myriad of magazine covers, including numerous weeklies in Oregon. A Newport native originally, he understands the Oregon coastline and has tuned himself into the kooky spirit of the whole Exploding Whale lore and culture.

Still, it's the music and the Gulls cartoons that are his real passion.

[See Warrenton Had an 'Exploding Whale' 30 Years Before Central Oregon Coast ]

“The Gulls comic started back in 2007 and I love blending real music to represent the flockstars within the comic,” he said. “The animated videos are a heavy lift but very worth it. They take months. On average, it takes me a month to do a minute of animation.” See the full scope of his works

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From the original video, courtesy KATU

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