Bored to Death
Photo by FergThey will never kill suburban punk. They can jam the airwaves with pretend-pop bands, designate skateboarding a capital offense, make hair dye available only with a doctor's prescription, and it'll still sprout up between the cracks. When there are cul-de-sacs and tract homes on the moon, teenagers will still carve DKs logos into their space helmets, and when humanity has been reduced to a race of swarthy man-beasts rooting through the sunburned ruins of a once-proud civilization, some cubling somewhere is going to dig up a safety pin and jab it through his nose. As long as there are suburbs, there are gonna be bored and pissed-off kids, and as long as there are bored and pissed-off kids, there are gonna be bands like the Voids.
"So you're a suburban punk band?" we ask.
"That's fair," says guitarist Matt.
"It's what we are," says singer Adri with a shrug.
And it totally is. Guitarist Chris even grew up in bersuburban La Palma, a place he says is so small he doesn't even wanna talk about it "I have to describe what cities are around it, so people know where it is," he says. Adri did her time in Whittier, Matt and bassist Brass moved in from "On-terrible," and drummer Mike hoofed it down the hill from Big Bear, which is suburban in mentality if not physicality, he says. "It's a nice place to be young or old, but there's nothing in between," Mike says.
Maybe that's where they got their name—spend 21 years surrounded by stucco, and you might start thinking about voids, too.
"Punk is just about the everyday," says Adri. "Half the time, the person singing has some crappy job just like you do, or the job you're gonna have when you get out of high school. It's just middle-class values, a middle-class life. I think that in America, that's what most of us are. And then there's the anger that most of us in these boring suburban lives have."
No one says exactly what their jobs are, though Matt's actually wearing a shirt with a blue collar and Adri complains that she has to remove even her very tasteful little nose ring before she can go into her office. But nobody has the extravagant tattoos or widget-factory-explosion piercings that say, "Hey, I'm rich enough that I'll NEVER need to go to a job interview or convince someone to rent me an apartment!" Nobody has a flashy car (they're saving up for a tour van), rock-star delusions, a cheesy press pack or a PR agent. Like the suburbs from which they and a scruffy legion of other hardcore punk bands came, the Voids don't bother with anything but the basics: a couple of chords, a lot of frustration, and about a million beats per minute.
"I'm not that political of a person," says Adri, "but sometimes I'll read or hear about something, or something will just affect me. I mean, I'm not someone you'd sit around and talk politics with—that's not me—but sometimes things are so wrong I write about them."
It's a sound that has been done before, but that's the point. So what if they all listen to bands that had broken up before they were born? Nothing has changed, says Adri. And put her lyrics back in 1982—no-future lines like "Everything I was led to believe is wrong," "Trying for just anything!" and "Take back your life!"—and the kids would sing along without dropping a beat. They wouldn't be able to help it.
"Every time we've done this song 'LAPD,' it's just been crazy," Adri says. "People are onstage. We haven't been able to finish—it's awesome! I mean, it's kind of scary, but then your adrenalin's going—it's just so crazy people are into it so much!"
She laughs. "Maybe one day we'll get to finish the song!"
The Voids perform with Channel 3 and the Distraction at Chain Reaction, 1652 Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 635-6067; www.allages.com. Fri., 7:30 p.m. $8-$10. All ages.
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