For most of the geek aficionados out there, if you mention the comedic musical duo Paul and Storm, thoughts usually go to other well-known nerd staples with which they are associated — Wil Wheaton, Adam Savage, Dr. Demento, among them.
For 10 years, Paul Sabourin and Greg “Storm” DiCostanzo have toured the country as Paul and Storm, bringing their funny songs to venues full of adoring fans. The guys, based out of Arlington, will perform live on Wednesday at Jammin Java.
Sabourin and DiCostanzo started out as half of the a cappella band Da Vinci’s Notebook. When the band split up in 2004, the two decided to make a go of it together.
“I think it was as much we didn’t really want to try real jobs in the wake of Da Vinci’s Notebook,” DiCostanzo laughed. “We had done a lot of the songwriting in Da Vinci’s Notebook, and we always said it would be fun to do some sort of side project someday. It just ended up being sooner than we were expecting.”
Even though the guys have put out four studio albums and several compilation CDs, they’re quick to point out they really are a live band. Because of that, they feel their music is better when it’s heard live. That’s what helps the duo keep such a rabid fan base, according to Sabourin.
“Our live shows tend to be pretty high energy and there’s a lot of audience interaction,” Sabourin said. “It’s not a lot of comedian crowd work where we’re just looking for things to bust on and make fun of the audience, but it’s in this weird, in-between place between a regular music show and a regular comedy show. Our main aim to make sure everyone has a good time.”
Just a few months ago, Sabourin and DiCostanzo made a stop in Alexandria to do a show with Wil Wheaton, best known for his role as Wesley Crusher in “Star Trek The Next Generation” and, most recently, portraying himself in the CBS hit comedy “The Big Bang Theory.”
In 2009, Sabourin and DiCostanzo, along with Wheaton and Adam Savage from the Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters,” created w00tstock, which toured around the country as “three hours of geeks and music.”
For the most part, social media — in particular Twitter — has helped everyone link up with each other.
“In Wil’s case, we had met him in a more traditional way – at a concert when we were touring with Jonathan Coulton,” DiCostanzo said. “It’s just become a great big ‘Rat Pack’ of people who aren’t all doing the same thing — it’s not all musicians or all comics or writers — it’s from across the spectrum. Now it’s very easy to spot the people who are your friends. It’s like going out to the empty lot in the neighborhood to see who’s hanging out.”
Back in 2010, the world fell in love with the little banana-loving henchmen known as the Minions from the movie “Despicable Me.” It did well enough at the box office for a couple of sequels and an upcoming Minion spinoff movie.
“Despicable Me 2” hit the theaters in 2013. Few artists can say a song they wrote has been covered by the Minions, but Sabourin and DiCostanzo’s “Another Irish Drinking Song,” was sung in the movie by all of the Minions.
“That was really one of the better surprises of 2013,” Sabourin said. “It literally came out of the blue. The director was sort of looking around on the Internet for drinking songs and was originally going to try to find some sort of German beer hall-type song. He then came across some college a cappella group covering our song … and he loved it. The appropriate people tracked down the songwriters, which was us. It ended up being in this great sequence in the movie. A, it’s flattering and B, it’s great to see a song that we wrote, something like 10 years ago, manages to have this sort of odd second life to it.
“Not to mention, we totally nerded out when we went to go see it. … Just to see credits going by on a big screen and to see our names pop up on there, it was literally surreal to me.”
The guys have no intentions of slowing down. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, they will release their next album, “BALL PIT,” sometime later this year. They’re also working on Web shows for the Geek & Sundry channel on YouTube, which was created by another well-known name in nerddom, Felicia Day, who is an active gamer and star of Joss Whedon’s “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog.”
As for what the audience can anticipate for their performance at Jammin Java?
“Is it cliché to say ‘expect the unexpected?’ It is cliché to say that,” Sabourin said.
“We’re making it our own, though,” DiCostanzo added. “That’s ours. Patent it. Copyright it. If anyone uses it, we’re coming down like that with the hammer!”