Punk in the DNA?
Sacto foursome G. Green ripens, gives a lil’ attitude
It wasn’t long ago when G. Green founding members Andrew Henderson and Liz Liles were two inspired, but still awkward, newbies in the local music scene. Henderson would play these solo acoustic sets and almost hide behind his guitar. His mouth would widen, there’d be sounds coming out, but it wasn’t quite singing. It was a bizarre yawp, a voice that was at once clumsy and undeniable. Not unlike whale coitus. Liles, meanwhile, was the cute-girl drummer in really crappy bands like Sucks and Fatty Acid. Her percussive talents did not yet—how does one put this—fire on all cylinders; the beats were as infectious as the prospect of catching hantavirus. But there was promise. Great promise.
And, today, it’s a promise fulfilled: The duo now makes up the backbone of G. Green, a really damn good Midtown foursome with a ferocious punk streak, but one that’s also tempered by a fondness for pop and indie styling. The band’s tunes hit quick and spark during live sets: Henderson is relaxed, confident at the mic; Liles fortifies the uptempo vibe with astute stick-drum reverberations. It’s a fun, but contrary, punk band.
Liles, though, calls them “poppy” punk—“because being in a punk band is really boring.”
They play live infrequently, but this is their week (two shows), so green-light a trip to the Blue Lamp on Tuesday and witness; the troupe’s opening for San Francisco garage rockers the Fresh & Onlys.
Henderson and Liles—along with guitarist Simi Sohota and bassist Mike Morales—constitute the latest incarnation of G. Green, which Henderson says, appreciatively, has remained static for the past year. That’s right: The band’s had its share of drama and lineup changes since Henderson and KDVS’ Rick Ele first started jamming under the moniker a few years back.
Liles and Henderson, both 23, first met in their teens: She used to put on below-the-board shows in her living room, and he’d light-rail in from Folsom to attend. One day, the night of a Thee Oh Sees gig, she moved it from Chez Liles to another Midtown spot. But Henderson showed up at her door, anyway. And quickly became friends.
And, of course, friendships multiply. Two became four. “Then,” Henderson says, “it was like, ’You are all my friends, you will be my band.’”
On a recent Sunday evening drinking IPAs at The Golden Bear, the duo explained how G. Green perseveres.
Liles calls herself the “little mom” in the group, obsessed with plans and being in control. Henderson’s the visionary: He pens the tunes and presents them to the others during regular Monday practice. But not before filling his belly with zesty soup and noodles from Shoki Ramen House on R Street with Liles, a regular G. Green tradition.
Indeed, the band has its customs. They don’t call it being “serious,” though—and, more than once, Henderson remarks how “it’s amazing that the band is as well-oiled as it is.”
So, perhaps G. Green goes forth and continues to attract ears because the group is, simply put, not phony. They’re real.
As a kid, Liles’ parents played her the Ramones, Young Marble Giants and Fear records. There’s no science to prove it, but she’s probably got punk in her DNA. Henderson’s childhood home, meanwhile, was music-free; he remembers listening to The Lord of the Rings soundtrack as a teen before acquiring a ferocious itch for indie and punk sounds. But these days, he goes to “at least three or four” shows a week, when he’s not clerking at a local record store. And they both share a strong affection for Australian punk rock—groups such as Bedroom Suck, Deaf Wish, R.I.P. Society and Royal Headache.
They may not be serious, but they’re single-minded when it comes to music. And with a bracing attitude.
As Henderson puts it: “Australian bands are the music I like. I think all other music is shit.”