All shook up
There’s a certain batch of stock questions that get asked whenever a band gets interviewed—especially an up-and-coming band for a local music profile. These questions all sound clichéd and most of them are: What are your influences? How do you describe your sound? What are your lyrics about?
Interviewers and interviewees alike will roll their eyes when these questions get popped, but the responses are often telling. Some bands will answer the questions straight, often with the fervent enthusiasm of the grandly deluded. Other bands will quip and crack wise, avoiding the questions entirely and acting like they haven’t put any thought whatsoever into matters as trivial as their own sound or lyrics.
The best responses are those that are quippy and funny, but also provide the interviewer, and therefore the readers, with the juicy, pertinent information. Band profiles like this are aimed at answering one large question for any given reader: Is this band worth my time? All those cliché questions are just fodder for the band members to make their case, so that the readers can decide.
The Pelvis Wrestlies is a Reno trio comprised of singer-guitarist John Lee, bassist Clark Demeritt and drummer Casey Conrad. Depending on your perspective, the band name is either a clever bit of wordplay that nicely describes the group’s playful, lascivious twisting of rock ’n’ roll conventions, or it’s a dumb joke that doesn’t really work.
The band members are the type of guys who often say really funny, vulgar, quotable things and then say, “Don’t put that in there. We’re very secretive.” Presumably because they want to show their press clippings to their moms—or because they don’t want prospective employers stumbling across their best jokes.
So, what are their influences?
“Our biggest influences are me and John Lee,” says Demeritt. “Our third biggest influence is Casey.”
And how do they describe their sound?
“We’ve gotten Ramones and Spits … the Misfits and the Reatards,” says Demeritt.
One apropos genre tag would be hardcore garage rock. The band plays garage rock—louder and nasty rock ’n’ roll—but the members play it fast and tight, with none of the loose sloppiness that often characterizes the genre. They play garage rock at hardcore speeds. The rhythm section whips ahead, while Lee plays frenzied but precise guitar solos and sings in an offhand way. He sings like he doesn’t care—but not like he’s trying to sound like he doesn’t care.
The group started rehearsing in September 2011, and played its first show in May of last year. This month, they’re releasing their first record, Make Up Face 7”, a four-song single with the tunes “Make Up Face,” “Magic Carpet Ride,” “Watchin’ TV” and “Rat Trap.”
The record was recorded by Josh Hageman of local band Thee Indoors at the Holland Project, a nonprofit youth arts organization, where Demeritt is the music director.
“Magic Carpet Ride” is a really good song title that’s already the title of a famous song—classic rock band Steppenwolf’s second-biggest hit.
“Well, our song was inspired by the movie Aladdin,” says Lee “I was thinking about when you want to take a girl on a real special date—take her on a magic carpet ride and show her the world.”
“Their [song] is about a fantasy land acid trip, and that shit don’t roll,” adds Demeritt.
And what are most of the band’s lyrics about?
“Being in a bad situation,” Lee says. “Or dying. Or pretty girls. Or making love. Or wanting to make love. We have one song about Satanic cults. Just other people in your community.”