THE THERMALS, THE CINCH, THE CATCH
Crocodile Cafe, 441-5611, $6
8 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 26
ALL ROCK JOURNALISTS are feeble, maladroit shut-ins who raid thesauri to intellectualize depraved crushes on bands, and I'm only saying that to make myself feel better. I am to Olympia's Bangs what Robin Williams is to the immaculate, affluent family in One Hour Photo . . . to the 20th power. Many of my colleagues and friends are aware of this, yet I walk the streets a free man.
Perhaps if you—the likely uninitiated and indifferent—and I—the incurably obsessed—undergo simultaneous shock treatment via these ensuing "bangs" of conversation and narration, we'll arrive at a common, blissful, perhaps even objective understanding of what makes Bangs so much more than the answer to the equation "Go-Go's plus AC/DC."
Crucial expository information composed during temporary possession by spirit of deceased 16-year-old Teen magazine intern:
If you've heard their first two records, Tiger Beat and Sweet Revenge (and if you haven't, earth to you: The train left, like, yesterday), you know the sassy lassies in Bangs have major issues with boys. I mean, super duh! But hotties and hooligans take a backseat to raging against the patriarchal machine on their brand new Call + Response EP (Kill Rock Stars). Lead fox Sarah Utter blazes superdeep and personal highways to hell on the title track "I Want More," while cutie-pie bassist Maggie Vail and stud muffin skin slapper Peter David Connelly form a severe rhythm nation foundation. If I could put this whole paragraph in italics, I would, but my editor's a spaz!
Sarah Utter's shitty experience that inspired said call-to-arms title track of Call + Response, giving Bangs instantaneous, albeit temporary, promotion from "hella fun breakup anthem band" to "totally urgent and politically incisive rock warriors":
"For some reason, dudes love to yell at me or grab me, and it's really frustrating. Some time last year, I was leaving this dance club where I was working as a waitress. I was pulling out of the parking lot, and these two guys stopped in front of my car and started yelling at me. I think I gave them the finger, and they got really mad and started looking more confrontational, so I pulled out really fast without looking and came about three inches away from hitting a cop car.
"So I went home, and I was really upset about the whole thing. My boyfriend was over, and he was trying to be really supportive, saying the best thing to do in those situations is nothing . . . but I just can't justify walking away. After years of dealing with it as a girl, I feel like I have every right to tell [meatheads] to fuck off. Maybe if someone confronts them in a rational way, or even an irrational way, it might make them think twice about doing it again."
Apropos of plenty, Bangs band members' unofficial nicknames:
Sarah "The Ice Machine" Utter
Maggie "The Noggin" Vail
Peter David "Garden Sin-sation" Connelly
The sordid true account of how Bangs nearly opened for Duke Nukem and Lara Croft at Super Mario World:
Sarah: Some video game asked us to make a song for it or something, right?
Maggie: Yeah, they were gonna give us, like, $100. It was bogus.
Me: Like a Mary-Kate and Ashley game?
Maggie: Oh, we can't talk about it. We signed a thing saying we can't talk about it.
Me: You have a confidentiality agreement for not even getting in?
Maggie: Yeah, cuz they sent me all the characters and stuff. They e-mailed me all the information about the game.
Me: What do they look like?
Maggie: [coy] I don't know. I can't tell you. I can't even tell you what it's about.
Sarah: It's about robot cats that solve murders.
Maggie: Yeah, but they have to eat all these hamburgers, and then they turn giant-size. Then when they turn giant-size, they walk around and step on these . . .
Maggie: No. They step on ice-cream cones. And then fire shoots out of their eyes. It's really cool.
Movies Bangs have paid money for on tour to avoid heatstroke:
Gladiator, Mission: Impossible 2, Angel Eyes, Spider-Man, The Bourne Identity, Big Momma's House.
Of aforementioned list of movies, the entry that is "hilarious" when stoned and subsequently semiconscious, according to Maggie Vail:
Big Momma's House.
Following a 10-minute astrology tangent, the eighth sentence (of eight) that Peter David Connelly utters during this 90-minute group phone interview, in response to Sarah Utter's query: "Peter, are you still there?":
"I was just, uh, not paying attention, because I was looking at this picture of Slim [Moon] and his girlfriend and thinking about what a handsome couple they are."
Excerpt from said astrology tangent that drives home main thesis point that Bangs are radical:
Sarah: There's no bad side to Bill Murray. We share the same birthday, so I have a deep love for Bill. It's coming up really soon, if you want to send us any presents. We always get a drink on our birthday. And Stephen King comes along, too, cuz it's his birthday, and Leonard Cohen.
Me: My birthday sucks. I only share it with Mel Gibson.
Sarah: It only sucks when Ricki Lake and Faith Hill show up.
Maggie: I have a birthday full of dead people. I just have a s顮ce. It's like River Phoenix, Keith Moon, Gene Kelly. Then Rick Springfield and Shelley Long come along.
Sarah: Yeah, there's always a couple of people that ruin it, you know?