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Rarely do you hear a soft, beach-friendly indie tune such as the Garden's "Everything Is Perfect" and expect an unprovoked fistfight to break out onstage. But that's how Wyatt and Fletcher Shears roll. Between gigs, they are often flown to Paris by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent to headline the company's new campaign. The band regularly dress head to toe in women's clothes, often defying basic punk laws of fashion.
Standing outside the Observatory after opening for Tijuana Panthers, the OC twins, who grew up in Orange, stumble through explaining the history of the band. "We've probably been in 10 bands together, since around fifth grade," Wyatt says.
"Right now, the Garden is our No. 1 thing," adds Fletcher.
Together, they are the punk-rock equivalent of yin and yang. The dark-haired Wyatt stands confidently, eagerly answering each question, while naturally blond Fletcher seems more nervous and cautious. In conversation, the habit of finishing each other's sentences quickly turns into interrupting each other, which turns into unabashedly talking over each other.
The twins are known for being among the weirder bands in the DIY punk scene, particularly because of their strange live shows. "One thing we don't like is when bands get up and it's just, like, guitar, bass, drums, singer—'We're going to play our set. We're going to tell you we love you. We're going to get off.'"
With the Garden, you don't know what's going to happen. Sometimes the brothers will break into a fight, dropping their instruments and completely changing the atmosphere of the show. "We did [get into fistfights onstage] for a while, just to see what would happen," Wyatt explains. "[We wanted] to see if anyone else jumped in. It just kind of fucking hurts us, dude. That's why we don't do it that much anymore. It was just kind of an experiment."
Fletcher adds, "It's fun to experiment because, these days, there is a lot of the same crap going on, but then again, there is a lot of really cool stuff. We want to make our mark, not be just a bass-and-drums band. Not for people to be scared, but people just don't know what they are going to get."
The band not only experiment with their live shows, but they also have a completely different way of writing lyrics. On the new song "Grass," Wyatt screams, "Mowed on/Stepped on/Pissed on." He's either comparing his struggles to that of a grass field, or he's simply chronicling what it's like to be grass.
Their latest full length, The Life and Times of a Paperclip, was released by Fullerton garage-rock superstars Burger Records. When the outfit toured Europe with fellow Burger band the Cosmonauts, Fletcher noticed a large number of people following the label's various releases. "They have no idea how worldwide it's getting, its weird," he says.