Korean Fire Drill dreams of Texas

The Sacramento band gets serious about its funny songs




Check out Korean Fire Drill at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, December 3, at The Boardwalk, 9426 Greenback Lane in Orangevale. Tickets are $20. Learn more at www.facebook.com/KoreanFireDrill.

Austin, Texas, is the best city on the planet.

That’s what you’d hear, anyway, if you asked anyone in local comedy-rock band Korean Fire Drill. The band members love Austin so much they even wrote a song about it.

“Austin is the leading city in everything. You name it,” says Matt Thomas, the group’s bassist and vocalist. “Figure skating, Austin is the place to go. Fun fact about beans: Austin, Texas, is the leading city in beans.”

He’s joking, but the song is real: “Austin, Texas (The Good, The Bad and the Fkyaah [Concerto in G & F, and G]).” It’s on Korean Fire Drill’s sophomore album, More Badass Than Half Ass, which gets its official release on Saturday, December 3, at The Boardwalk.

Austin is in actuality a leader in tech jobs. Thomas and guitarist Carl Reed were discussing this one day, and—because they turn everything into a joke—they decided Austin is the leading city in everything. Then it became a song.

Eventually, a different thought occurred: What if Korean Fire Drill played the song “Austin, Texas” in the actual city? At this point—January of this year, to be exact—the band was still mostly a fun side project. All the members either had been or were recently in “serious” bands, like FallRise (Thomas, drummer Ian Peterson), Prylosis (Reed) and Aroarah (singer Lydia Gavin). Korean Fire Drill formed in 2013 as a way to escape the stress of said bands. Everyone referred to the project as a “half-ass band,” an idea the group embraced when naming its debut album, 2014’s Half Ass Is Badass.

But wanting to play Austin was no joke. This goal has transformed the side-project status into something much more serious. To get there, they’d need to tour. To book a tour, they’d need a press kit. The band already released its sophomore album in January at The Boardwalk—the members were all dressed as South Park characters—but only pressed 100 CDs and didn’t do much to promote it. Now they are giving the album a proper release.

But even before they started dreaming of playing the greatest city of all time, the members were already starting to put more effort into the band. It’s right in that title of the second album, More Badass Than Half Ass. (“We actually work hard to make things seem like they’re half-ass,” Reed says.) The production is slick, and the concept highly involved. There’s a weird story connecting the songs told via voicemail messages: Gavin joins the band. The band fires her. She sticks her lawyers on the band. Thomas somehow ends up in a Korean prison, which he escapes. The band relocates to Austin (best city ever!) and then a bunch of other oddball stuff happens.

The reissue of More Badass Than Half Ass is just the beginning. Thomas and Reed say they have at least three more albums in their heads. One is a holiday record, but holidays that don’t normally get songs: Columbus Day, Arbor Day, Halloween.

When Korean Fire Drill does get to play Austin, the members don’t care if the tribute is well-received or not.

“They might hate it. I hope it happens,” Reed says. “That would be hilarious. Then the next album we’d have a story about our trip to Austin, Texas.”