Arts Devo

Big Businessmen turn up in Chico

Big Business: Jared Warren (left) and Coady Willis.

Big Business: Jared Warren (left) and Coady Willis.

Heavy business Chico loved KARP. Formed in 1990 by three high-school social outcasts in tiny Tumwater, Wash., KARP (aka Kill All Redneck Pricks) was part of a wave of great indie bands—playing a wide range of pop, punk, rock, math, metal and experimental styles—that regularly stopped in Chico during the mid- to late-’90s. KARP was one the faves for its devil-may-care live shows, great sense of humor and an unrelenting visceral heaviness.

KARP bassist/vocalist Jared Warren went on to co-found some other amazing noisy bands—The Whip, Tight Bros From Way Back When and, starting in 2004, the one that’s enjoyed the most success, the duo Big Business. Warren and his bandmate, drummer Coady Willis (of Murder City Devils), also have played in legendary sludge outfit The Melvins, touring and recording with them off and on through 2016.

Big Business is coming to Chico next week (Thursday, June 7, 7 p.m., at Chico Women’s Club—$15 tickets available at Duffy’s Tavern), and in anticipation of the show, Arts DEVO talked to Warren about his current band as well as the good old days, including the last time he played Chico, in 2003, when The Whip was kicked out of one-time downtown Chico punk-rock bar The Riff Raff.

Remember Chico?

I do. I remember the Superwinners festival [in 1995]. We came down with our friends [in one-time Olympia, Wash., noisemakers] Raisler. I remember being so tired … and I remember it being hot. There was nowhere to rest, and I remember taking a nap in the auditorium where bands were blasting and I somehow managed to fall asleep.

What happened at The Riff Raff?

I remember it was a weird-shaped room, and you played in the front, on the side, like, on the wall. And then the other thing I remember is the owner. He came in the through the door, “You better turn down!” In front of everybody. “Turn down, or I’m not paying you!” And we were like, “All right. Well then, fuck you.” We kept playing and he looked so mad. And everybody was, like, “Yeah!” It was worth it. We probably would’ve only got $50 anyway. It’s at least a $50 story.

You’re releasing a tour EP with a couple of Suicide covers—which songs?

We are doing “Cheree” and “Ghost Rider”—“Ghost Rider” was also covered by the Rollins Band, so you’ll be sure to check that out.

Do you have other recording plans?

We do. We’re almost done writing a record. We just gotta finish up this summer and record it this summer. Hopefully by the end of the year or the first of next year we will have a new full-length. I think you can expect it to be a little weirder, maybe a little more psychedelic—in the most stereotypical sense possible. By psychedelic, I mean [with] reverb and delay. … I think we’re trying to capitalize off of the fun we had goofing around on the last record with some of the more experimental stuff. We’re trying to flex our weird muscles a little more on this one.

Back in the day, your bands would be described as metal plus punk, rock, indie, etc. These days, a lot of people just say metal, even though you’re still all over the heavy-music map …

I don’t think of us as a metal band necessarily, but I understand that’s how we get pigeonholed. … I will say this, metal, as a genre, kind of has its shit together. I can’t think of another scene that’s really like it—in terms of fan devotion, camaraderie. If you go through a list of the top 30 metal bands you can think of in America, they all know each other. … There is a real brother- and sisterhood that comes with that scene that is unique. We are always flattered and appreciative when other metal bands either invite us on tour, or give us props, or whatever. We love our metal family, for sure.