When your parents are eaten by a lion or hit by a train or eaten by a lion who, for some unknown reason, had purchased a ticket and was riding that train, your only salvation rests in becoming the greatest German punk band the world has ever seen.
Die Roten Punkte is a comedic duo, a serious rock group and a lipstick-smeared cabaret act.
Brother and sister team Otto Rot (vocals, guitar, keytar, communicating with the audience through dance) and Astrid Rot (drums, vocals, cowbell, wearing an outfit that makes her look like a silverfish) perform their new show Eurosmash! at the Cultch until Sept. 2.
The true facts of the band members are difficult to deduce. Perhaps a lion did not eat their parents. Perhaps they're not even German, but like the Disneyland employee who won't lift his furry mask despite impending illness, Otto and Astrid do not break character.
The Cultch is a venue most often used for theatre rather than German punk rock shows, but Otto and Astrid will tell you they're only performing there because of the incompetence of their manager, David Eppstein.
"I looked on Craigslist and he was there," Otto says, recalling his decision to hire Eppstein.
"That's where you get a car," Astrid tells him. "Not a manager for a band."
Otto defends using Craigslist during his selection process and the word "moron" peppers several of Astrid's replies. There are several subjects that reduce the duo to bickering, but none more reliably than the topic of their parents.
"They were really nice but it was really sad what happened to them when they were eaten by a lion," Otto says.
After Astrid declares that their parents were hit by a train, Otto refines his version of events.
"The lion came off the train and then he ate our parents," he amends.
"I think Otto has arrested development," Astrid says.
"You're talking about me like I'm not even here," Otto bristles.
"When you say stupid things I wish you weren't here. I wish you were somewhere very far away right now," Astrid snaps.
The prospect of Astrid moving far away opens up another sensitive subject, and the duo digresses from their previous digression.
"Sometimes I can't find Astrid. She goes missing," Otto confides.
"I'm not missing, I'm going out, having fun and meeting people. I'm not sitting in a dark room on the Internet in my pajamas," she says.
After Otto explains that Astrid sometimes disappears for several days, the two discuss their approach to music and songwriting.
Their song "Ich Bin Nicht Ein Roboter (I am a Lion)," which translates as "I Am Not a Robot, I am a Lion," tells the tale of a mechanical device destined for manual labour becoming aware of its true self while in a strange land.
"He gets adopted by a family of lions," Astrid says about the song.
"He thinks he's a lion because he's never seen any other robots before," Otto explains. "It's about the world because a lot of people have jobs like they think they're robots... They want to be free in the jungle, not wearing any clothes and running around in the jungle."
"Maybe a little bit of clothes," Astrid suggests.
"So when you're dancing this is how you want to feel: like a lion. Even though it feels good to dance like a robot as well," Otto explains.
The numerous references to lions incite a debate about the animal's intelligence, and Otto uses the opportunity to ignite the argument about the fate of their parents.
"Some lions are intelligent because they know how to buy a train ticket and get on a train," he blurts, much to Astrid's chagrin.
The group's work includes an ode to "straight-edge" girls, the self-explanatory "I'm In a Band," the less self-explanatory "Burger Store Dinosaur."
Despite the ever-present squabbling, the duo is unlikely to split according to Otto, who reluctantly recalls his never-released solo album.
"Astrid didn't let me," he says. "She said it would not be good for the band."
Astrid summarizes Otto's solo work succinctly: "Really crappy."
Asked what they'd be doing if not for the band, Otto discusses his culinary passion.
"I would be a raw food chef," he says. "I'm actually going to be bringing out a cookbook called Raw Like a Lion."
"It's not a cookbook," Astrid corrects, and once more the two are off, this time discussing whether raw food preparation counts as cooking.
"You cook a salad, right?" Otto says, somehow settling the argument.
While they don't agree on much, the two are united on what their audience is expecting. "They want to see the greatest rock 'n' roll concert they've ever seen in their whole lives," Otto says.
Astrid does not disagree.