Lost in space
Phenomenauts land in Chico in support of new CD, Re-entry
The temptation to write a pun-filled article about the Phenomenauts is stronger than anything a Jedi ever encountered with the Dark Side. This band with superb music, that is only surpassed by an outrageous live show and zany sci-fi theme, makes it easy for a writer to fill space with glitzy descriptions of their music being out of this world, their new record blasting off in a few days, or their tour schedule of rocketing around the country. I tried to refrain from falling into the trap, but with the above Star Wars reference, I obviously wasn’t able to do it.
These guys are just that stellar.
The science fiction theme pervades just about everything that the band does and survives well on the road, where the Phenomenauts can usually be found. Even the reason the band is out on “the infinity tour” isn’t the usual hit-the-road, build-a-following band goal.
“The only way we’re going to change the world to people knowing about science and technology is to get out there and play,” said Major Jimmy Boom, the band’s drummer. “Look, eventually the world is going to blow up and people need to know how to build space ships so they can move to other planets.”
The Phenomenauts next touchdown in Chico at Off Limits is just one day after the release of their second full-length recording, entitled Re-Entry. The new CD is full of the high energy songs fans will recognize from the last time the band performed locally, blending psychobilly, garage rock and spacey weirdness into a form that the band likes to call “rocket-roll.” To get an idea, try to blend Devo and the Stray Cats together with lyrics about space travel and you’re getting close. The record is full of energy and personality and sounds like a live Phenomenauts show with the call-and-response chorus lines and spacey guitar noodling.
The band isn’t wasting any time between the street date on the record and the next tour, trying to keep away from day job drudgery and keep an intergalactic frame of mind, although home would be a welcome respite from nonstop touring Major Boom reflected. He then described one of his ultimate sci-fi cravings, to posses a beaming machine right out of Star Trek so he could beam himself and the band to the next gig and then home after rocking out so band members could retain jobs better than the type of dead-end employment that touring musicians can walk away from without a second thought. And it’s not just a dream; he believes it may one day happen.
“So yeah we’re pretty nerdy. Nerds get roped into all things science but we try to walk the line between science and science fiction,” Boom said, then added hopefully, “But science fiction kind of leads science. It points at things that might be able to be done and nine times out of ten, science eventually figures out how to do it.”