I Wanna Riot! Sex Riot!

Moving Units and the punk rock poor mans aphrodisiac

Photo by James BunoanWe figured the Moving Units must have some kind of sex-for-rock scam going. Yeah, they're a good band—when we saw them back at the Smell, they were whiplashing around the same ESG vs. PIL dance-punk shtick that makes the Rapture think it's cool to put out records in those annoying blank cardboard DJ sleeves—but there are lots (well, not lots, but enough to make it interesting) of good bands. And lots of those good bands are billed below the Units at monster sweat-and-indie-rock fest This Ain't No Picnic. Quite a nice accomplishment for three guys who don't even have anything out yet (EP coming on 31G in October, we're told). We started in on drummer Chris Hathwell with the obvious question.

OC Weekly: So, This Ain't No Picnic: Who did you have to blow? Chris Hathwell: It's funny—everyone's been asking us that, man. But to be honest, they just called us and asked us to do it. One of the ladies from Goldenvoice called and said, 'We're doing this thing . . .' I mean, I'd seen the girl around before, but I wouldn't know her name if I saw her. But I guess we're one of her favorite bands. We've been really lucky. We're just finishing a residency at Spaceland—the last show there was superbitchen! Everyone was dancing! How do you get punk rockers and indie snobs to dance? Because they just won't do it. And if they do it, they suck at it. It's like teaching ballerinas to knife fight.

That's totally what it's like. And sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Where do the most uptight people hang out? Like what's the spread around here?

It's the shows where you least expect it. The kids that get the gnarliest are the hardcore kids, like when we played with the Locust or on the Oops! tour. Those kids went berserk. When we were setting up equipment, they were like calling us fags and all.

How come?

Because we don't look hardcore. But after a few songs, these guys were going fucking nuts.

So are you a good dancer?

Depends on who you ask. I'm a total spazz. I'm all hips. Like a really retarded version of James Brown, the punk-rock, art-fag, missing-tooth version of James Brown. But see, we're coming from this place—like, everyone in this band is really into music. Not just one kind, not just coming from one place. We're really into soul, really into dance, really into punk. Between the three of us, we have so many records.

How many records?

It's all relative—I know dudes who have 20,000 records. But my room is all just, like, records and clothes. Records on the bed, even! And cigarette butts everywhere.

What's the most record-geeky thing you've ever done?

Make girls take me to the Pasadena record swap.

As a date?

Yeah, and it's really early in the morning, and you're just walking around in this parking lot, looking for records. And it's really hot, and everyone there is like the lowest of the low. And the girls get hit on all the time. Every single guy there is like the comic-book guy from the Simpsons, like, "Heeeey, I got some bootlegs, sweet thang!"

So will this be the first time you've ever played in daylight?

It's the first show we've ever played in daylight. Who the fuck plays before the sun goes down?

Are you worried you're going to see what your band mates really look like?

I'm totally worried I'm going to see what the crowd looks like, and then I'll shoot myself. And then they'll see what we look like, and we'll be exposed as the frauds we are. And then they'll look at one another and be like, "Man, NOBODY is cool here!" But hopefully by the time we finish, the sun will go down and everyone will make up. This Ain't No Picnic is just the start—we plan to cause several sexual riots.

What exactly is a sexual riot? Like fondling a cop?

Definitely some cars flipping over, definitely some groping of cops. It's about causing a positive riot through your loins, as opposed to anger.

Because you don't want angry loins. Then it hurts when you pee.

That's something you need to get looked at. But we and Mars Volta plan to cause several riots in the area. So tell people not to get too tired rocking out to indie music all day.

Any suggestions for a dress code, for hipsters unaccustomed to the elements?

I would just suggest lots of PCP. Just because it's hot, don't go thinking all these pale indie kids can wear sleeveless shirts or half-shirts. We don't wanna see their pale, colorless, most likely acne'd skin. But by the same token, they don't need to come in their black Levi's and black Locust shirts.

So maybe some layering?

Just as long as I don't need to look at pale skin. And lots of water. If you get a Zip-Lock bag and fill it with ice and strap it to your leg by your balls, you'll be cool.

And you can drink it when you're thirsty.

Totally. I think everyone should exchange. Drink one another's.

There's your sex riot.

That's the start! That's the elixir—an aphrodisiac. The punk-rock poor man's aphrodisiac.

Moving Units perform with Jimmy Eat World, Mars Volta, Von Bondies, Har Mar Superstar, Your Enemies Friends, Mr. Lif, Guided By Voices and, like, 80 million other bands at This Ain't No Picnic, Oak Canyon Ranch, 5305 Santiago Canyon Rd., Irvine, (714) 740-2000; www.goldenvoice.com. Sat., noon. $30. All ages.
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