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Tom and Doug: Exploring Tough Themes Through Music and Comedy

Arno Wesselink
Iowa Public Radio
As the only one of four roommates who couldn't play an instrument, Doug Gentile picked up the electric bass and started his first band with Tom Florek. Now, 30 years later, they're still playing.

If you listen to Talk of Iowa and River to River regularly, you have probably heard Iowa State University psychologist Doug Gentile talk about the science behind video games and the aspect of violence media, video games, and kids; but Doug is also a member of the band, Tom and Doug.

On this Talk of Iowa segment, Charity Nebbe talks with Gentile and bandmate, Tom Florek, a computer programmer in New Jersey. The band’s goal is to take serious issues and talk about them through the lens of comedy.

“I like to have themes for the songs,” says Florek. “Doug, as a psychologist, was telling me one time that he believes it’s fun how children’s songs often have stories. They‘re explaining something difficult from a safe place, and I thought, 'Well adults need that too.'”

One example is a song off their latest album, “People are Mean” that describes a culture of meanness. They also made a song about police brutality called “It Takes Two to Murder,” which is set as an Argentinian Tango.

Gentile and Florek are celebrating their 30th year together with a concert on Friday, Sept 4 at 9:00 pm at DG's Tap House in Ames.

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa