In 1966, Jimmy Ruffin asked the lyrical question, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted? Well, if youre Paul Sabourin and Greg Storm DiCostanzo, who bring their two-man comedy act, Paul and Storm, to the Birchmere Concert Hall this Friday, Aug. 31, you make the tough love decision concerning the flagging band Da Vincis Notebook, your once prominent D.C. a cappella group that youve worked so diligently to build over the past decade.
We got to the point where we realized, recalled Sabourin during a recent telephone interview from his suburban home just outside of Philadelphia, we could either call it quits on our own terms after 12 years together and still remain friends, getting together for occasional shows or corporate gigs, which is what we do now, or we could continue on for another six months to a year and have it end really badly. That would have been far too unpleasant, so we just decided to go our separate ways.
While bandmates Bernie Muller-Thym and Richard Hsu chose not to continue with their performing careers, a special bond had developed between Paul, a Pennsylvanian native who earned his Masters degree in speech communication from the University of Maryland and decided to stay in the region for the next 14 years, and Storm, a life-long Arlington, Va., resident.
We decided we still didnt want to get real jobs, said Sabourin with a semi-sardonic drawl.
Storm and I wrote most of the original material for Da Vincis Notebook, Sabourin added. That wasnt an autocratic decision; it just sort of evolved that way We had a similar upbringing, interests, and senses of humor, so we started to write together. We were alike enough to get each others jokes though different enough to throw an interesting spin on the others work. Were both students of pop culture and share the same skewed outlook on the world. It just made sense for us to continue on as a duo.
Even with the release of their third comedy CD, entitled Gumbo Pants (available at the groups website, www.paulandstorm.com), these two middle-aged non-classically trained performers still have a hard time determining what exactly it is they do. Are they comedians that sing or musicians that are funny?
We consider ourselves comedians first, but comedians who try to write really good music. Novelty music is fine, but if theres not something [substantive] behind it, the initial shock wears off after two or three listens and then what do you have? The greatest compliment we can ever get is an e-mail we receive two or three days after a performance from a fan who informs us that he cant get a certain song out of his head, said Sabourin.
As for the current state of Paul and Storm, the guys conclude they are condimentally content.[Success for us] means not having to eat every night out of some sort of can. Anything beyond that is gravy metaphorical gravy that is; though actual gravy is quite tasty as well, so if we physically got gravy, I guess that would be metaphorical gravy too.