LONDON — Virtual alt-rock band Gorillaz sparked outrage last week by replacing long-time cartoon bassist Murdoc Niccals with the General, the animated spokesperson of The General Auto Insurance company.
“I want to state for the record — just because we added a cartoon mascot of an American insurance company to our band despite his total lack of music ability, doesn’t make us sellouts,” explained former Blur vocalist and Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn. “I also want to address the rumors regarding the General handing me a burlap sack with a huge dollar sign on it before every show: while it is true, he does this for unrelated reasons that I can’t elaborate on further. Yes, that’s it.”
London-based music producer Edwin Byrne grew concerned working with the new lineup.
“The General obviously never touched a bass before — he’d strum and call it a ‘newfangled music doohickey.’ Damon was clearly pissed, but for some reason never said anything,” said Byrne. “The General also interrupted recording a bunch to rap his commercial jingle. He’s lucky I respect the brave men and women of the armed forces. Otherwise, I would’ve kicked him out right there.”
Allegedly, live shows have also been particularly difficult for the band, according to recent concert attendee Isabel Read.
“Shaquille O’Neal was a special guest the night I saw them, but the General introduced him as ‘…the big fella you know from our really popular commercials.’ No, asshole, we know him from his hall-of-fame NBA career and the movie ‘Kazaam.’ Not your cheap-ass car insurance,” said Read. “And for the band’s encore, you’d think they’d play one of their big hits, like ‘Feel Good Inc.’ or something. But instead, the General did an a capella cover of ‘the Ballad of the Green Berets,’ and he had to keep stopping because his mustache would get stuck in the mic. I get that he’s from the Army or whatever, but it totally sucked the air out of the room.”
Although the General declined to comment about his new position, he did release the following statement through his lawyer: “For a great low rate you can get online, go to the General and save some time!”