“Maybe Lady Gaga really is more punk than we are,” muses Jasper Leach, vocalist and guitar player with East Bay band The Myonics.
I’ve heard this before.
Perhaps Leach is like other musicians I know—wondering how they can trump the reigning queen of new/shiny/popular/weird. How exactly does a rock band shock in 2010? And is that even a goal?
Leach doesn’t seem that worried. He readily admits that he’s got bigger things on his mind. Like being remembered as the best pre-Armageddon band. “It just seems to come out like Supertramp anyway,” Leach confesses.
When I first heard the Myonics I was like, hmm, they seem to like the Fall, top 40 radio (classic and current) and miscellaneous drug rock (you know—psych, Kraut, punk, grunge…) just like I do. And that can be bad ‘cuz I set my standards high—probably too high.
But then I hosted The Myonics at Pehrspace and listened to their album, O Africa, Brave Africa!, a zillion times. I really dig what this group’s doing.
So when I asked The Myonics for a new, exclusive song to attach to our interview, I was waiting on pins and needles. (Could they top their hit single “Sweatshop,” a garage rocker that also features Sam Lubicz and Real Noriegas’ Liam Morrison?)
Then the Myonics hit me back with the catchiest track that I’ve had the pleasure of hosting.
Full disclosure: The Myonics are friends, and I suspect they like a lot of the same music that I do. So I wonder is it hypocritical to give them a boost when I’ve meh’ed bands far more popular and iconic (to some)—from Pavement through Animal Collective—that probably also love the same stuff?
FUCK IF I KNOW.
The proof is in the songs. If you can take inspiration from great music and transmute it into something new that’s memorable and fun like The Myonics do (listen to their new mp3 below), you don’t have anything to worry about. Comparisons just fall away.
Who is in the Myonics, how old are you, and what does everyone play?
Bonecrusher plays drums. He is 23 but he feels 5 and alive. Brian also plays drums. He is 22. One drummer is simply not enough. Qonnie is 21. She plays everything except drums, but not all at once. Jasper is 24. He wrote the bible. And our songs, generally. Good resume, eh? Eric is 20. He plays bass. His age is the bane of our existence. Tom is 26. He shreds. He has not shaved in eleven years. Billy is 60. (He will not be with us in LA.) He plays electric autoharp and espouses that digital lie-detectors will lead our world to a kind of capitalist utopia. We should also mention Liam. He is a chupacabra and 22 years old. He is our third drummer. Well, how much bounce do you have in your curls?
What does your name mean?
The word is scientific and possessive. Otherwise it is vacuous…to our time.
How did you meet?
Real talk. Jasper met Emily, our other original singer, in Berkeley and quickly discovered her monotone matched his. That was the de facto beginning of the band. Bonecrusher had previously been in a band with Jasper called You Are Young Rao (with sometimes Myonic Young Rao) and was the obvious choice for a drummer, even though he had been disheartened by the fact that YAYR had never traveled to France to become the Jerry Lewises of indie rock, as we had been promised by certain parties.
Qonnie had been Jasper’s replacement in Nick Arthur Weiss the Third and the Cumsluts before he returned to the band; she had a mystique? je ne cest quoi? that made her inclusion in the band seem like a Good Idea. We met Liam through Sam Lubicz (aka Sex-S), our first bassist, and immediately began practicing at his house—then the Amazements‘ practice space—regularly, despite the fact we rarely exchanged more than ten words at these rehearsals. Eric answered an internet ad as a 17-year old to join a band called Zenkalia in which Jasper was the drummer and was later drafted when we needed a polite bassist for our first tour.
Tom was the workshift manager, later facilities manager (both thankless tasks) of Jasper’s former residence, Cloyne Court, a hundred-year old hotel that is the largest co-operative house in North America. We met Brian through Adam Healton (now of Symbolick Jews) years ago and brought him in as a last-minute replacement—no rehearsal—for Liam when the latter flaked on an important show to attend a birthday party. Lastly, we were introduced to Billy through a mutual friend in March specifically so he could join the band, which he immediately did. (Sorry for the longwinded answer. We have a lot of members.)
What was the name of the first song you ever recorded and what was it about?
“All My Friends Are Dead.” The song is about starting a new band because you are bored. The song is a straight hit. This song is a really hot shot. It speaks of the future we ALL have to look forward to. People like to feel as if they will be the survivors, so they like the song. The Singularity is Near.
What’s a Myonics songwriting session like?
Songwriting typically involves gothic meditations upon pure desire. Then someone pipes up and ruins the mood, and says “Hey please include my part in this song.” It is typically included.
Arrangements are more of a wet dream type situation. They are usually a combination of things taken to a logical extreme and mistakes people make at practice that sound better than the original ideas. We don’t really try to be tasteful, even if it comes out that way. Our feeling is, the more the ridiculous and extravagant, the better.
What’s the most “out there” song you have ever written, lyric-wise?
This is tight. Our new song “PCP” is both our paean and lament to Phencyclidine. Self-reflection; is there anything that’s still eternal? “I’m as old as time/and the mariner’s rime/PCP.” &c. But our song “I Don’t Care” is notably strange as it contains nothing offensive or anything that would be otherwise deemed rude, sophomoric, sarcastic, sardonic, cheap, kinky, sacrilegious, impudent, scary, or threatening in any way. We want you and your 4-year old child to like us.
If you could start a new movement in music, what would you call it and what would it be about?
We are starting said movement, as we speak: “Pre-2012.” If we (the world, not the band) survive 2012, we would still prefer to be referred to as preeminent “Pre-2012” rockers. For, The Velvet Underground and The Stooges both reformed, but they are still “proto-punk,” are they not? We want a piece of the pie.
What does “Pre-2012” mean to you? We live in a time in which band practice has ended with us wondering if we were about to be overtaken by a tsunami upon stepping outside. This is biblical. But it is also real. Firestorms may be a real forecast this summer. Not tight. Stick with us, we will show you the way.
What can people expect from your show at Perhspace? What’s new this time around?
LA should expect the usual. Chills. Thrills. Spills. Best dudes. On-stage fights. Real tension. Real talk. Bubba gum pop. Lovable blokes and a swingin’ chick. You will like our genre.
You will also realize we now employ too many people—but you haven’t even seen the worst of it yet. But what’s new: we now have a sense of purpose. The music today, in fact, is so good, it has induced vomiting in one of the drummers. The rest of us may, in fact, follow his lead. Besides that, we tend to wake up earlier and exercise more regularly; we are simply taking life one day at a time.
Will you be going to see the Big Four concert (with Metallica, Megadeath, Anthrax, Metallica & Slayer)?
Absolutely. Duh. Those bands stand for the heart of America, if you don’t include the Juggalos. (Recently, we have been told of a friend who was ejected from an ICP concert—box seats—because he was dressed as a Super Mario Brother.) We support these movements. It is impossible to fight American Rock and Roll Culture™ and the Volkspeople simply have to get what they want. Those bands are our heroes and we are ready to sell out. Wait, is Metallica playing twice? One moment, we have to fetch some Nutella.
Well, first of all, I have to mention I’m a bit disappointed—maybe even ticked off—that Guns ‘N Roses are not included in the so-called “BIG 4.” Almost twenty-five years of service to Rockandroll® and they still can’t catch a fucking break. And I mean, “BIG 5” would have been a better tour name, for obvious reasons. History has proven that great things happen when Metallica and G’nR play together. History is typically MADE at those shows. Tight.
Of the bands listed above, which band would you invite to your place for a band sleepover with the Myonics and why?
As far as the sleepover, Megadeth?
Anthrax’s Scott Ian is a better VH1 talking head than he is a musician. Baloney on hand.
Slayer is simply the best choice. They have never been lame.
And don’t miss them this Monday, June 14
Sean Carnage presents…
+ DJ William Caruso
Starts 9:30pm / $5 / all-ages
Pehrspace—325 Glendale Blvd., in Historic Filipinotown
See you there?