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The don’t-give-a-fuck attitude of OC’s garage-rock scene was destined to produce a band as debauched as Cum Stain. Established last year, their unhinged punk spirit powers designed-to-offend titles such as “I Broke My Dick,” “Suck Her for You” and “Slip It Off, Slip It In.” Adding to the sordid silliness, mustachioed front man Sean Starling never passes up a chance to prance around onstage in his tighty-whities. But if you can get past your adult sense of propriety (okay, sanity), you might enjoy the quirky, distorted world of Starling and band members Raul Esparza (guitar), Brian Kim (bass) and Stephen Valle (drums). After all, a little bit of innocent sleaze never hurt anyone. Cum Stain are preparing to release an EP on La Habra label True Violence On Tape, as well as a full-length on Fullerton-based Burger Records.
OC Weekly: Over the past year, there has been a real explosion of young, local garage-rock bands. Do you think it’s a good time for you guys to emerge?
Sean Starling: Yeah, it seems like the community is really coming together. It doesn’t feel so hopeless anymore, making music.
1842 W. Commonwealth Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92833
Category: Bars and Clubs
Did you connect with Burger Records and True Violence On Tape right after the band started?
Starling: The True Violence kids are all friends from La Habra. They set up some show at this jam space that we played, and they said they liked our music and wanted to put out a tape for us. We’ve known all the Burger guys for three or four years now, always just hanging out.
Raul Esparza: It was really Lee “Noise” Rickard [who works at Burger] who pushed us and helped us out a lot.
How many dick-centric songs do you guys have?
Starling: Most of them have some of that in them; it’s all about trying to offend as many people as possible, but doing it with a smile, so you can’t really get too mad about it. We could be singing the most misogynist shit, but as long as I’m dancing around, no one seems to mind.
Had you guys come from other bands to start this project?
Starling: Raul and I had this folk band for about six years. We played shows, but it was more of a recording band. We also had a band called Stellarphone that was on and off since 2006. We might start it up again someday, but it’s just to have fun, pretty much.
What do other bands and promoters say when you tell them your band name?
Starling: It’s definitely a sticky name. It’s hard to forget. Out of words that still seem to have impact, “fuck” has lost all meaning. No one would care if we were the “Fucking Something” or the “Total Shitheads.” But seeing the word “cum” just bums people out. You can’t help but feel something when you see that. And it seems to be working out. It’s very extreme.
What kind of venues fit your sound the best?
Starling: Definitely house parties. We played a party with Pterodacdudes and Audacity last night at our friend Lily’s house in Fullerton. I’d rather play to my drunken friends than on a stage. We’re not too fond of bars.
There’s some video on YouTube of you doing a show in a pair of tighty-whities. Is that a typical occurrence?
Starling: That’s what we usually do. [Laughs] But at bar shows, they get kinda mad about that.
Esparza: That was a scary show. I thought Sean was gonna get beat up for sure. It was all hardcore bands.
Starling: The whole crowd was all circle-pitting to us. It was probably the best show we’ve ever played.
Hey, Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, contact info, high-res photos and impending show dates for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 2975 Red Hill Ave., Ste 150, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Or e-mail your link to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column appeared in print as "Cum On, Feel the Stain."