It was about 11 years ago on a dark and cold night, but in a warm room in some comfy chairs during winter break. My older brother and I were sitting in our game room when he pulled up a YouTube video on his iPad: the “Dinosaur Laser Fight” music video by Ninja Sex Party. Yes, I know I was only a kid, but I was 11. I knew what words like “sex” and “damn” meant. Anyway, I had a strange feeling that I would be seeing that unblinking ninja and that spandex-clad goofball again in my future. I don’t know how, but it turns out I was right.
Ninja Sex Party has been my favorite band since I was 14 and nothing has changed since. The band has since grown, but essentially it is made up of two members: Danny Avidan and Brian Wecht, two blindingly handsome gentlemen from my homeland of New Jersey. Their lyrics are comedic and brilliant, and their music is mind-blowing. Seriously, the amount of talent just between those two is terrifying.
My enormous crushes on them in high school — and my attendance at some of their early concerts — made me want to become a professional music photographer. I still love photography, but once I had a discouraging photography teacher and an encouraging English teacher, my passion shifted more toward writing. And, lo and behold, all I wrote about was Avidan and Wecht. When I was supposed to turn in a five-page essay, mine about them was 22 pages.
I never outgrew that, and not only are Avidan and Wecht major players in my personal life, we have now become quasi-professionally acquainted.
I interviewed the lovely men on Feb. 11, 2022. It only took me so long to write about it because I was nervous, but to be honest and cliché, they make me feel like I can conquer anything.
The interview was held via Zoom, so I would get to see their beautiful faces. This made me about a thousand times more nervous than necessary. But once they popped up on my computer screen with their welcoming smiles and naturally kind eyes, I was no longer quite as panicked.
They told me about a tour which by now has already occurred — and I attended — as well as an upcoming album which was recently revealed to be entitled “These Nuts.” Wonderful. But the more meaningful moments were the more conversational ones. Avidan and Wecht told me of their pride in “The Mystic Crystal,” the joy of creating the “Cool Patrol” music video, and even their favorite Steve Martin movies. Avidan’s is “The Jerk” (same as mine!) and Wecht’s is “Roxanne.” Love it.
While this chat was already among the biggest moments in both my personal and professional life, there was one bit of the interaction that changed my life. I asked the boys about covering a David Bowie song, since Wecht once mentioned it — turns out they were considering “Magic Dance” at one point, which they would absolutely kill — and Avidan explained that most Bowie covers just make you wish Bowie were singing it. He said the same about Freddie Mercury, which was awesome, because I didn’t even have to bring him up myself. Wecht agreed with the statement. Great minds think alike, and apparently my mind matched up with two of the greatest minds this time.
While I truthfully told them that I understand and respect how they feel, I told Avidan, “You’re my favorite singer, then Freddie Mercury, then David Bowie.”
His eyes lit up like supernovas, and he gave me that radiant smile that I have come to memorize over the years.
“Holy shit. Thank you,” he replied.
No four words will ever hold so much meaning to me. Yes, unknown future husband, that includes “Will you marry me?”
Finally, I asked them a basic but important question that I knew they would be able to answer: do you have any advice for us students of the arts?
“Just be kind. Be nice to people,” Wecht said. “Be someone that people want to work with, and that’s gonna do you a world of favors… Working with assholes sucks. And if you demonstrate that you are a hard worker and, also, a kind person who takes other people’s feelings seriously, that’s the kind of colleague everyone wants to have.”
Avidan expressed the importance of setting goals.
“As long as you keep your goals right ahead of you and just keep working towards those achievable things, you’ll look back in a couple of years from now and be like, ‘I can’t believe I got here,'” Avidan said. “If you try to shoot for the ultimate goal, then there’s just no path there, mentally, and you’re like, ‘How do I do it?’ You know? So, just take it step by step, and you’ll find the success you’re looking for.”
The bottom line is that Avidan and Wecht advise us to do what they have done their whole lives: work hard and be kind.
As we were hanging up, Wecht said, “Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. This was great.”
“You and people like yourself are the reason we’ve gotten to have these fun jobs and cool careers, and that’s not lost on any of us.” Avidan added. “So, that appreciation you feel is totally mutual.”
Yeah, I was trying not to burst into tears at that point. The best I could do was thank them and say, “You’re, like, my whole heart.” It was not very slick, but it got the point across.
We shared a laugh and waved “goodbye,” but watching the footage back now, it looks more like a wave “hello” to my happy future with people like Avidan and Wecht — people who build me up, personally or professionally, and who give me a good reason to smile every day of my life.