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Byline: Fred Shuster Music Writer

Jimmy ``Pop'' Ali of the wacked-out rock-rap brotherhood called the Bloodhound Gang has been back to his Woodland Hills apartment exactly twice in the past 12 months.

And on the phone from London the other day, the impish frontman admits the only thing he misses about the place is the pizza joint around the corner.

``I'll tell you, man, L.A. makes me seethe,'' Ali says. ``Now they're trying to get us to eat horsemeat burgers. Like we're gonna ever eat horsemeat burgers. I've had ostrich once and they must've been using some real good spices 'cause it was good. Usually it's like eating rubber on a bun.''

Horsemeat burgers. Rubber on a bun. Don't be surprised if the phrases turn up as titles on the next Bloodhound Gang album. Mind you, the current disc, ``Hooray for Boobies,'' has a few zingers: ``A Lap Dance Is So Much Better When the Stripper Is Crying,'' ``The Inevitable Return of the Great White Dope'' and ``The Bad Touch.''

The last number is better-known as ``the Discovery Channel song.'' It's the radio and MTV smash with the unforgettable chorus: ``You 'n' me baby ain't nuthin' but mammals/So let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.''

In the video, shot in Paris with a cast of midgets, models and an unearthed Le Car, the Gang-sters squeeze into the worst monkey costumes in the illustrious history of dressing up in monkey suits.

``Yeah they're terrible, but they weren't cheap,'' Ali said with a chuckle. ``You won't believe it, but those things cost $5,000 - and we had to have them specially made.''

Ali had good reason to be in high spirits. The quirky quintet's second album, ``Hooray for Boobies'' (Republic/Geffen), made the Gang stars in Europe when it was released there late last year. Last week, the disc rose to No. 17 in the United States, while the ultra-catchy album cut ``The Bad Touch'' (top-requested at local alt-rock powerhouse KROQ) continued its climb in the singles list.

A hit single is nothing new for the Bloodhound Gang (appearing May 23 at the Palace in Hollywood). The group's first single, ``Fire Water Burn,'' from its gold-certified, Grammy-nominated debut, ``One Fierce Beer Coaster,'' dominated modern-rock radio in 1997 with Ali's memorably deadpan delivery.

Says Ali of the group's unexpected success in Europe: ``It's shocking to open magazines there and see poster inserts of Star Wars, Metallica and the Bloodhound Gang. We just knocked Oasis out of the No. 1 spot in Spain - it seems like people have bad taste in music all over Europe. We're as big as the Backstreet Boys there, but the difference is, we like girls. And we don't have their bad shaving habits.''

The Bloodhounds, who are in their 20s, came together in the mid-'90s in their native Philadelphia, five unemployed (and probably unemployable) goofballs suffering from serious Beastie Boys damage. After ``Fire Water Burn'' took off, the group went from being nobodies to being nobodies appearing on TV with the likes of Howard Stern, Jenny McCarthy and Ricki Lake.

``We've always been pretty upset watching bands with equally poor musicianship making it big on radio, TV and the tour circuit,'' says Bloodhounds bassist Evil Jared Hasslehoff. ``Our success will, hopefully, make those humorless, school-taught musicians seethe with envy and disgust when they see how many people actually like our music. We're just happy girls will talk to us now ... my day job fixing lawnmowers wasn't much of an aphrodisiac.''

With their head-on collision of rock, hip-hop and third-grade humor, a psycho stage show that includes a cracked takeoff of an 'N Sync-style boy-group dance routine (don't ask!) and a vocal delivery Ali describes as ``a 7-year-old in a crash helmet having a temper tantrum through a Mister Microphone,'' the Bloodhound Gang seems like a sure thing.

``At first, I hated the whole boy-band thing, but then I realized it was keeping these guys from flipping burgers, and that's a good thing,'' an unusually reflective Ali offered. ``So, more power to them. I mean, look at the charts. It's Kid Rock, the Backstreet Boys and us. I'm amazed every day of the week to even think we have a record deal.''

Don't worry, Jimmy. If it all goes down the drain tomorrow, there will always be plenty of lawnmowers to fix.



Photo: Bloodhound Gang's single, ``The Bad Touch,'' is the most-requested number on local alt-rock radio station KROQ.
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Title Annotation:L.A. Life
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 14, 2000
Previous Article:SOUND CHECK; COMMON.

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