When Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara was captured in Bolivia and summarily executed by the Bolivian army, he never dreamed that a Penn a cappella group would name themselves in his honor. Alas, Che and the Revolutionaries performed their inaugural show last night to a nearly sold-out Irvine Auditorium. In a Starbucks after the show, group comandante and vocal percussionist Chad Worthington talks to Street about his group and their newly-recorded album, Manifesto.
"You don't need weapons -- instruments, I mean -- to start a revolutionary a cappella group. Look at Off the Beat, for instance. They changed everything with their voices alone. Sigh." Worthington is oft recognized for his distinct percussive style. But according to the beat-boxer, he never asked for fame.
"I'm not trying to be the movement. I'm not trying to be Michael Jackson or anything like that," says the Wharton junior, speaking about his group's music. "I just cup my hands and slaver into a microphone. Vocal percussion is easy. There are people who think, 'Worthington is the King of the Universe.' I just tell them, 'There is no 'I' in Revolutionaries.'"
The album will be released on the group's own independent label. It hits stores and communes next month but has been proposefully leaked on various communist-themed file sharing programs over the Internet. The group will share the profits equally.
"Sure, it's a little awkward sometimes," he says. "I arranged the Michelle Branch song, which was a thousand times harder than the Britney tune that my bassist did. But we're equally dedicated to the group. That's why we split it all up."
Manifesto's tracks are incendiary throughout. "El Socialismo y El Hombre Nuevo" is a rocker with a killer bassline by pre-med all-star soprano, Alex Koppelman. "Revoluci‹¨«n" is a heavy ballad, with a soft and gooey core.
"We have plans to change the world," Worthington tells the patrons of the Starbucks on 33rd Street. "We have mad grooves, and nobody can stop us."
All at once, a team of C.I.A. agents swarms the vocal percussionist. He's handcuffed and shipped off to Guantanamo Bay, never to be seen again.