One of the gems of L.A. right now is the group Big Whup. These girls (bassist Jenna, violist Morgan, singer/multi-instrumentalist Drew Denny) and guys (“drumastar” Rand, singer/guitarist Geoff who is also in Pizza!) know how to craft gorgeous songs.
This Saturday they are releasing two of their best—”B.O.N.I.Z.H.E.A.R.T.” b/w “Cover My Eyes”—at the Smell.
It’s their first vinyl single and to celebrate they created a special video playlist for SeanCarnage.com readers.
Like their record’s cover—and all great pop songs—it’s about nudity.
Emotional nudity, that is.
Big Whup‘s Drew Denny, whose sparkling playing and songwriting is the centerpiece/inspiration for the others’ eclectic musical contributions, describes their new single thusly: “We always record in pairs, so releasing a pair seems natural. I think they’re a good couple!”
The group also executed the record’s packaging. “We didn’t want to have an ‘A’ and a ‘B;’ so we have a ‘Hoof side’ and a ‘Mouth side,'” explains Denny. “Rand stayed up all night cutting wood block stamps with a robot in his lab only to find that they didn’t do what he needed them to do. Within an hour he had figured out another solution. We spent 8 hours stamping our records and sort of became a factory together. Like bees or Transformers. It was tiring but it was really fun. Now Morgan and I are putting all the records in the jackets, and I can’t stop laughing at this picture…”
What’s the first single you remember loving?
Jenna Eyrich: I remember hearing “Detatchable Penis” on the radio and liking that song because I thought it was dirty and awesome. But I think David Bowie was my first musical crush. My mom and dad introduced me to all the greats: The Kinks, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, T-Rex. I need to remember to thank them after this…
Rand Vorhies: When I was super young, maybe 9 or 10 (and when Cartoon Network was still just a glimmer in some PR person’s eye), my mom brought home this promo tester tape that was DJ’d by Space Ghost. It was the most awesome thing I’d ever heard, and had “Rock and Roll Lifestyle” by Cake on it which just really hit me in the 10-year-old dome.
Geoff Geis: My mother wrote a song for me that she sang to me in the cradle, which was all about how I was special. It made me feel very loved, obviously, and I used to request it from her before bedtime. It started with the lines “You are wonderful, you are beautiful, you are Geoffrey.” I’m sure the song is at least partially responsible for my extraordinary ego.
Morgan Gee: I distinctly remember listening to “Anything You Want” by Roy Orbison a lot as a young girl.
Drew Denny: I didn’t have access to music growing up, so I was sort of at the mercy of my surroundings. I rode horses competitively, so I spent a lot of time in a barn in West Texas. One of the girls who kept her horse in the barn had a boom box, and she was always listening to tapes of Bobbie Gentry and Tammy Wynette. I can remember hearing the song “Fancy” for the first time and immediately wanting to hear it again. It’s about a girl whose mother sends her out to be a prostitute so she can make a better life for herself, and it’s super dark—just now in looking it up I found that it’s referred to as a “Southern Gothic gem.” My mother and I used to belt out “Fancy” on our way to the barn everyday before she went to the hospital. “Fancy” is the only song we ever sang together. We had hand motions and everything! I guess we liked it because it was like a weird metaphor for our situation but it had that quirky percussion, those dramatic strings and horns we used to mime, and Bobbie Gentry’s silky vocals… I wanted to be her until I found out about Patti Smith. I guess people always like a song if it’s easy to imagine it’s about them. I also liked that Soft Cell cover of “Tainted Love” so bad that I taped it off the TV at a motel in Tyler, Texas during my first state show. I ran away for the first time the day I got back from that trip.
What was it like getting naked with your band mates for the cover?
DD: I had been tossing lots of cover ideas out to the group but they kept getting turned down. I wanted us to take a bath together, I wanted us to ride a donkey together… Then I came to practice one day and said, “I have a new idea!”
JE: I think I saw Morgan’s boob AND Geoff’s balls. I’m very satisfied.
RV: Pretty cold, mostly. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen Geoff’s junk though.
GG: It was glorious! Mostly I enjoyed being naked on a porch, sticking my butt out at the girls’ neighbors, and thinking about how “liberated” and “fearless” I was. We know each other very well—it wasn’t really that big of a deal for me to show off my junk.
Did you love it or hate it?
JE: LOVED IT. I think we’re planning on doing it again. And again. And probably one or two more times after that. Maybe with naked horses
RV: It was great—it really makes you realize how little time you actually spend naked. I usually sleep in boxers, and go from the shower to a towel to more underwear to full clothes, and really don’t spend more than that 20 minutes or so a day actually in the buff. Maybe I should start sleeping nude.
What song inspires you with it’s expression of naked emotion?
RV: “I Want To Be Your Man” by Zapp and Roger.
JE: Tupac. “Hit ‘Em Up.” Fuck you too!
GG: “Eat and Cry,” by Nicole Kidman, is the most compelling thing I’ve heard in years.
MG: Ludwig Van Beethoven’s 6th Symphony “Pastorale,” second movement.