"Tuna Helper email smells a little fishy"
by John Kelso of American Statesman
Friday Nov. 21, 2003

When I heard that an Austin band called the TunaHelpers was being told to stop using the name because it belonged to Betty Crocker, I figured Betty had turned into a cranky old trout.

But now I'm pretty darned sure Betty is off the hook, though this whole Tuna Helper thing is a little fishy. The head of the TunaHelpers, an all-gal performance art pop band, got a couple of threatening emails from someone said to be an attorney for General Mills foods in Minnesota. The e-mails say the band is guilty of a trademark violation because of its name.

In e-mails to band vocalist and guitarist Adrienne Sneed, someone identifying himself as Timothy Jordan, a legal consultant for General Mills, points out that Tuna Helpers is a Betty Crocker product. The e-mails say that if the band doesn't stop using the name the TunaHelpers the company will sue. Furthermore, if Sneed doesn't show up to court in Minnesota, a warrant will be issued for her arrest.

The whole thing has scared Sneed and her two fellow band members, and ruined her faith in Betty Crocker.

"Oh, I thought she was a sweet sensitive lady, a sweet caring grandmother, and she's really a ruthless businesswoman,"said Sneed, 25.

Trouble is, the people at General Mills in Minnesota don't know who Timothy Jordan is. A guy in the trademark department said there was no such guy working there.

"I guess my only comment is that Tuna Helper is a registered trademark of our company," added Marybeth Thorsgaard, a spokeswoman for General Mills. But she didn't know of a Timothy Jordan.

Wasn't life simpler before we were wired?

The situation has tied Sneed in a knot. She says she talked to various lawyers in Austin for advice.

'I showed this to several different attorneys, and they said, "You need to take this seriously,'" she said. But she doesn't understand why anyone would complain about the band's name in the first place. "There's no way people are confusing our band with a noodle product."

"I used to play by myself, and I had these 2 big fish puppets," Sneed explained. "It was just me and those puppets, and I would put them in front of my instruments and say they were my helpers. And I would talk to them on stage."

Betty Crocker does not talk to fish.

Sneed says she has no suspects for a legal hoax. She denies the band members would make this up for publicity. Oh, she does perform a song that she wrote called "Restraining Order." See, an old boyfriend got a restraining order on her after she taped something disgusting to his door.

"He gave me a stomach ache," she explained. But she doesn't think this is his work.

"I don't think the ex-boyfriend really cares anymore," she said.

Personally, I think it might be the work of the Pillsbury Doughboy.

.................................................................................................................................

CD Review By Vanity Girl of Citizen Snob
May 2002

I've long described this band as masters of nightmare fairytale. They are the queens of performance art in Austin, combining props, sign language and twisted childhood fantasies in a way that is both touching and hilarious. Adrienne's voice is probably the most fetching aspect of the band, but the lovely harmonizing keyboard melodies provided by Bethany, Stacy's eerie violin work, and Khattie's sparse and simple rhythms provide a truly original sound and live performance.

With such a captivating live show, I was a little skeptical of how often the TunaHelpers' debut album the tunahelpers starring in the suspicious fish would make it into rotation in my stereo at home. It seemed to me that such strange and lyrical music might be forgotten when I was getting ready to go out, or laying in bed reading. I was completely wrong.The recording quality is great and the girls really nailed their performances. The CD provides an escape from all the mundane things that other bands often sing about: jobs, booze, cars- these things have no place in The TunaHelpers' world. In their world, it's all bicycles, dolls, and shit-smeared doors. The only thing missing on the album is Bethany's sign language.

The TunaHelpers will remain one of my favorite bands for many reasons, one of which is that they created this little capsule of poetry for me to have at home. Both their live show and this album are akin to watching children play- equal parts innocence, malice, curiosity, fear, and bravado. For a truly unique musical experience, be sure to check out these girls next time they play. Who knows, maybe you'll win a make-out contest or be declared the best marcher and win a prize. If not, you can buy their album and go home a winner anyway.

.................................................................................................................................

Citizen Snob Review of Valentine's Show
February 2002

1. Any references I make to the headliner of this fine show, the Sexy Finger Champs, should be disregarded as only mildly amusing, as this is a TUNAHELPERS REVIEW.

2. any incongruities on finds between the events in this narrative and the actual events of the evening should be seriously considered and brought to my attention, because I had the whiskey coursing through my veins.

3. I am not quite as strong as the wind.

4. I love Dolly Parton

Holy Shit. I'd seen The TunaHelpers before and all, but they rocked Room 710 on Feb. 14th. Never do I remember thinking to myself, "Wow! These ladies ROCK!" But during the first song of their set, I turned to Vanity Girl and said, "Wow! These ladies ROCK!!" Not only can they write original songs, sing, and play their own instruments, but they use props! Imagine my surprise, when towards the end of their set, they started bleeding from their mouths all over their dresses! I didn't even know that you could get fake blood capsules except around Halloween! These girls rule!

I heard that at a more recent show, their singer, Adrienne, bent over and revealed shit-smeared panties to her loving audience. Hot diggity, I am jealous as hell!

Adrienne also joined up with Charlie, an ever-so-adorable 710 fixture, to sing "Islands in the Stream" a duet made immortal by baby-boomer favorites Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. I can't remember if this was before the TunaHelpers or after Sexy Finger Champs played. I also can't remember any of the Tunahelpers songs, or what I was wearing, drinking, or saying. Nor do I remember winning the make-out contest, which all of you liars will continue to deny. I can't even remember my credit card being declined, but I do remember fake blood. That is enough to make my world sing.

.................................................................................................................................

Austin Chronicle TCB February 14th 2003
by Christopher Gray

Love is All Around In the spirit of Valentine's Day, "TCB" asked local musicians the simple question, "What is your favorite love song and why?"

Adrienne Sneed, The TunaHelpers: Peter Cetera, "The Glory of Love"(from Karate Kid II): "Duh. This is the first song I learned to play on piano. I felt like such a beautiful person when I performed this song that my eyes would water in amazement for myself. I also wanted to get in that girl's kimono."

.................................................................................................................................

The Propergander  - Ganderous Music Review
by Shannon Lavine

The TunaHelpers- The Suspicious Fish This CD is a box full of surprises, and you get a carmel crunch in every bite. The band includes four lovely jewels that are like fairy tale goddesses. The music is sweet, dainty, and sometimes operatic. The TunaHelpers provide a unique approach to modern day music. They incorporate current subject matter with old-fashioned folklore. They are storytellers  and performers. If you can't hear what they are saying, catch them live and watch the spectacle unfold in the hands of the keyboardist as she signs the show in American Sign Language. Share the good fortune. Shine like the devil. Transform yourself into a lighthearted silliness. Be Happy. Let them play for your two year old on her birthday.

.................................................................................................................................

TunaHelpers Tunathon Room 710 Sunday 14
Austin Chronicle September 12, 2003

You can always count on the TunaHelpers to expand the boundaries of the good ol' rock show. This Austin trio's ambitious, punk-folk melding of fractured fairy tales and scatological sermonettes is a mulitsensory extravaganza complete with puppetry and sign language. Vocalist/guitarist Adrienne Sneed is what you might get if Karen Finley hosted Mister Roger's Neighborhood. Her sweet voice belies the twisted undertow of kid songs that eroticize sea creatures. Blessed with the ability to sing Stephen Foster and Spinal Tap in the same breath, Sneed recently illuminated the latter's "Big Bottom" by hiking up her skirt to reveal skid-marked underpants. Similar surprises will abound at the Helpers' Tunathon, a benefit to defray expenses for their West Coast tour. Fellow travelers include experimental noise combo Blau, co-medic punkettes, The Hot as Shits, and the famed Poon Dancers. Sneed's mother will be on hand to serve cake and host party games. That's a lotta entertainment for $5 and a nice repentance for being too hung over to call in a pledge to Jerry Lewis on Labor Day.

..............................................................................................................................................

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST WRITINGS

..............................................................................................................................................

top of the page :: table of contents :: home