“Sandusky, Ohio” is a rock album inspired by the 1995 comedy film “Tommy Boy,” starring Chris Farley and David Spade.
We’re aware of just how insane that sounds. But this album is no joke.
“Sandusky” was created by Dave Paulson, an indie-rock singer-songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee. Paulson — who has previously performed with the likes of The Privates, NORM and My So-Called Band — was tired of writing songs about himself, so he started thinking about taking inspiration from a pre-existing story.
But nothing too weighty. He wanted to choose something fun, personal, and completely out of left field.
So he looked to his favorite movie: one that he saw in the theater when he was 12 years old.
“Tommy Boy” was the vehicle that turned the late Farley from a “Saturday Night Live” standout into a big screen star, along with fellow “SNL” alum Spade.
The movie’s slapstick scenes and memorable catchphrases (“Holy Schnikes,” “Fat Guy In A Little Coat”) made for easy repeat viewing -- dozens of times for Paulson over the years via video rentals, cable reruns and now streaming services.
But unlike “Wayne’s World” or “Billy Madison,” “Tommy Boy” has a surprising amount of heart, drama and emotional depth. This album’s songs are focused on bringing that side of the story to the forefront.
Over nine brisk tracks of intricate ‘60s studio pop — owing equally to Paul McCartney, Jeff Lynne and Brian Wilson — “Sandusky, Ohio” follows the journey of Tommy Callahan as he comes to grips with the death of his father and fights to save the family business and his hometown.
And it does so, by the way, without being obvious about its inspiration. If you didn’t know the backstory of “Sandusky,” “Tommy Boy” might not even cross your mind upon listening. But if you do know, feel free to geek out with the lyrics. From start to finish, you can map out the journey through to the very end when our heroes (spoiler alert) triumph over Zalinsky Auto Parts and save Callahan Auto.
So, if we’ve gotten your attention with the concept, we hope you’ll dig in and discover there’s a pretty fantastic, heartfelt album behind this ridiculous idea.