Calif. -- December 28th, 1998 -- PSB Records announces the release of Dr. Stephen
Baird’s debut CD, "Hallelujah! Evolution!". Following in the tradition of
social and political satirists such as Tom Lehrer, Mort Sahl, Mark Russell and the
Smothers Brothers, Baird, a practicing medical doctor, has developed a unique brand of
musical satire while creating a particularly singular genre of Americana
humor—"Scientific Gospel." Like his predecessors, nothing is sacred to Dr.
Baird. His satirizations explore the issues of science vs. religion, creation, evolution,
Jerry Falwell’s love of money, Jimmy Swaggert’s sexual preferences, HIV and
other transmittable diseases, and the pitfalls of the health awareness phenomena.
Like PSB founder and label head, Nick Binkley, an
investment banker by trade, Baird has impressively balanced two very different career
paths—in his case, medicine and music. He has served as the Chief of Pathology and
Laboratory Medicine at the VA Center in San Diego since 1982 and as a professor of
clinical pathology at the University of California at San Diego for the past seven years.
It was his academic experience that laid the foundation for "Hallelujah!
Evolution!" and provided him with the inspiration and motivation to develop his
"Scientific Gospel" approach to comedy and music.
In his attempt to inject some life and levity into such dry
subjects as molecular biology, cellular immunology and gene functions, Baird acquired the
habit of reducing medical and other scientific concepts to popular song form. He used
Christmas carols and later gospel and well known hymns as melodic accompaniment, thereby
giving birth to the "Scientific Gospel" concept. His lectures were so successful
that students and fellow professionals began asking, "Do you record? Can you come to
our conference and entertain?"
"My students told me that the use of poems and songs
with medical and satirical texts about immunology, HIV— now very relevant
topics— made the materials stick better. The tunes and poems supported theories and
made them laugh. My main goals in creating the words and subsequent songs, especially when
they were originally done in front of students and doctors, were: Is this funny? Am I
making the otherwise dry material interesting and hopefully memorable? It was important to
me to know that my often humorous approach was, bottom line, helping the students learn
and therefore become better doctors."
Baird’s sense of humor attracted the attention of
Binkley when the two met at a dinner party at the home of Dr. Francis Crick, a Nobel Prize
winner in 1953 for his work on the structure of DNA. Binkley had recently recorded his own
solo CD, "Pin Stripe Brain," and connected with and related to Baird as a fellow
professional with musical aspirations. He was so struck with Dr. Baird’s musical
commentaries that he introduced "Scientific Gospel" to producer and music
business veteran Denny Bruce, whose production credits include a gold record for The
Fabulous Thunderbirds. "I was impressed by Dr. Baird’s witty and irreverent
lyrics. The kooky medical analogies and scientific allusions convinced me that he could
gain a following," explains Binkley.
For "Hallelujah! Evolution!" co-producers Binkley
and Bruce created a country flavored musical foundation, geared to extend Baird’s
audience from the lecture halls to a wider mainstream following— those who are
looking for a sense of humor in today’s often too serious world. To accomplish this,
the producers brought a premiere collection of musicians to the project, including
guitarist Chris Darrow (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Leonard Cohen, The Kaleidoscope, Ben
Harper); bassist Doug Lunn (Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Mark Isham); and drummer Brock Avery
"I really felt like a kid in a candy store making this
album with Nick, Denny and the musicians," Baird offers. "The process of
recording and seeing my tunes develop in the recording studio was very exciting. Actually,
the recording has had an impact on my day job. The experience of making a professional
recording solidified my belief that humor is a terrific educational aid and a great