Here’s your stinking press, now stop calling me

We Prick You frontman practices flagrant cell-phone abuse

Marcus Cortez can’t even concentrate on shredding when there are fliers for <i>next </i>week’s show to be distributed!

Marcus Cortez can’t even concentrate on shredding when there are fliers for next week’s show to be distributed!

Check out We Prick You with Iguanadon and White Wizzard Saturday, January 12 at 9 p.m., $7. Old Ironsides, 1901 10th Street; (916) 443-9751;

I should never have given Marcus Cortez my phone number.

But I thought, as someone who writes about music, why not make myself available to the lead singer and guitarist for the hard-driving, Bowie-allusive local rock trio We Prick You? Really, what harm could come from it?

We first met outside the entrance to Old Ironsides, one of the many locales at which Cortez and his band like to wreak havoc. By then, I’d already heard them—serious rockers in the great tradition of early Local H and Queens of the Stone Age. So far, so good in my book.

And as he madly papered cars outside the venue with his show fliers, Cortez seemed like a nice enough guy. He was having an unusually bad hair day, but that’s a common occurrence when you wear a curly, shoulder-length mop. Somehow, though, he seemed permanently disheveled. Plus, he was hell-bent on distributing several thousand fliers at a time.

“I usually dice up 1,000 to 2,000 fliers for myself,” the fast-talking frontman said. He was beaming. “I’ve fliered a ton of strangers. Some become really good friends and we share lots of good times.”

Others, not so much.

“I was threatened once,” he said. “Only once, by some cat who said, ‘You don’t ever talk to this woman ever again and don’t you ever let me catch you talking to my girlfriend.’ I got the feeling he was serious. He wouldn’t shake my hand or smile or anything.

“I left one of my own shows early and ran out right when I was done playing so that I could promote during the headliner at another show across town,” the spastic self-promoter went on (with a certain amount of glee). “That’s the show where I ran into that gentleman and his girlfriend. A bit of a hassle, but it made for a pleasant turnout.”

Without missing a beat, Cortez then asked, “Can I get your number?”

Carelessly, I obliged. First mistake, last mistake. Since that first chance meeting more than a year ago, I’ve received somewhere near 1,000 We Prick You-related text messages.

I’ve now grown so accustomed to his wanton acts of cellular abuse that I can accurately guess it’s him by the awkward timing alone. The messages are unrelenting, often coming at rapid-fire speed, and usually when I least expect them.

One time I woke up to a text about a Blue Lamp show at 1:30 a.m. and just about threw my phone out the window. Another time, my girlfriend and I were enjoying a movie and my cell phone registered five texts before the end credits rolled. I even received a phone call directly after a text from Cortez after already receiving a flier on my car, an e-mail and a MySpace bulletin.

And I know I’m not alone.

Although Cortez isn’t willing to give out the total number of contacts now forever trapped in his cell-phone, he does mention there are “at least a baker’s dozen.”

So what on Earth gave him this seemingly limitless energy to promote? “Substances may or may not be involved,” he said vaguely, “but I meet a lot of really cool people, catch a lot of good music and support a lot of my friends in doing so.”

For better or for worse, the publicity blitz will be stepped up for the next recording, a follow-up to the self-released Two Face Mona Lisa CD. With a solid lineup now featuring Joe Bryant (keyboards, vocals, guitar) and Scott Michael Quam (drums), We Prick You fans can look forward to thousands upon thousands more notifications in the months to come.

Of course, in the interim, I’ve changed from my previous number to an undisclosed one. And Cortez’s number will, indeed, be blocked. Yet somehow, the crafty frontman still got an article out of me. That son of a bitch.