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Orlando costumed duo Yip-Yip gets real

The local veterans look back on a decade of co-dependence

Photo: Jason Greene, License: N/A, Created: 2011:04:22 21:02:01

Jason Greene

comfort zone - Brian Esser (left) and Jason Temple look back on a decade as a duo

Yip-Yip 10-Year Anniversary Party

with Telethon, Dark Sea of Awareness/Attached ands, Surfin Serf
9 p.m. Friday, April 29
Will's Pub, 407-898-0570

It's Tuesday evening in the Florida Hospital Orlando cafeteria. It's not the peaceful lakeside café strategically positioned to greet visitors coming in from the Kubrickian tunnel that connects the hospital to its parking garage, the one with baguettes and a spiral staircase and the promise of hope.

This cafe-teria is further down a ways and offers booths, fluorescents and ice cream by the pound. And silence, occasionally interrupted by the excited chatter of two unspeakably geeky suburban kids from Longwood lacking friends enough to start a proper band with actual instruments. There's Brian Esser, an artsy type with a jagged deadpan wit, jacked up on behavioral meds and prone to playing high-wire on the parking garage roof or hosting banana-eating contests that end, progressively and alarmingly sooner and sooner, with him vomiting blood. With him is his high-school lifeline, Jason Temple, angular, confidently withdrawn and still buzzing from hours spent with Esser at Rocky's Replay arcade, which they drove many miles out of their way to get to. This is their home base, complete with cheap burritos and empty late-night hours. It's where they wrote their first album within a month.

Only that was 10 years ago, almost exactly. Today, the cafeteria has smoothie machines, and you get there via the Walt Disney Hall of Inspiration. The table that Esser and Temple made music on is lorded over by an imposing antique clock and surrounded by TVs, all blaring Gwyneth Paltrow singing Adele. Esser, at least, doesn't mind.

"This is kind of weird," he says, interrupting a thought to take a long look around his old haunt's new trappings. "I like the TVs. It was so quiet in here before, I'd be really terrified to talk. But now there's TVs in people's faces. It was creepy quiet. It's like I've forgotten that we used to do this. Now it 
feels so far away."

"Even though we live closer," laughs Temple, agreeing and needling at the same time. They do this a lot; but to compare them to an old, married couple would be too easy. There's something tumultuous about their rapport, a something that they pretend is nothing. The banana gorging, trainspotting party boys are gone, replaced by self-proclaimed "boring" musicians nearing 30 in terms of their constitution and back at square one in terms of their careers.

"I think I might be allergic to bananas," Esser says. "Unless you're getting paid to be an insane person, you probably shouldn't do that. It's funny, 'cause we felt like pussies back then, but we're so lame now that we look like we were badasses."

"Throwing applesauce at people for no reason at all," remembers Temple.

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