With a name like the City, you’d presume singer/guitarist Stacey Dee, keyboardist (and fashion designer) Char Pack and drummer Jen Carlson would have a connection to San Francisco. And you’d be correct. The band formed in 2007 in Southern California, but each member has lived in the City By the Bay, where Dee and Carlson began playing together nearly a decade ago. After a mutual friend introduced Pack to Carlson, the two became friends, but it was a memorial show for that mutual friend (who passed away shortly after he introduced the pair) that brought Pack into Dee and Carlson’s musical landscape.
The trio is spread across Orange and Los Angeles counties, but this mishmash of home addresses doesn’t come through in the trio’s music: They play cohesive, pop-infused rock songs that would make Joan Jett proud.
OC Weekly:With three members living in three different cities (and two counties), is it difficult to practice?
Jen Carlson: This distance is nothing. Stacey and I play in another band in which one person lives in Oakland and another in San Diego, so Huntington Beach, Long Beach and LA is no problem.
Stacey Dee: I have to drive the farthest to practice, but I tend to make it most nights.
Char Pack: It could be way worse. I could never deal with what Jen and Stacey do in their other band. I would strangle someone. I like practicing. I wouldn’t want it to be a rare occasion. The distance would be really challenging, so I’d say we’re lucky.
The last time you played Long Beach, you played at the You Can’t Handle the Youth event, which included a fashion show that took place before your performance. What extravagant/unusual openers are lined up for the show at Alex’s Bar?
Carlson: I think we’re opening that show. If not, we can still do a fashion show or some pole dancing. I see the pole onstage on True Blood, but it’s always missing when I get to Alex’s.
Dee: Maybe our friends the Yeastie Boys could show up and throw stuff at us and everyone in the crowd while we play. They dress like clowns. . . . It could get weird.
Pack: I think we are the extravagant/unusual openers for the Alex’s show. We’re not that unusual, though. Should we throw some costuming into the mix? Some kind of mask situation? Comment cards welcome.
Stacey and Jen: With a fashion designer in the band, do you feel pressure to show up to practices and shows looking your best? Does Char ever yell at you when you show up in sweats and a T-shirt?
Carlson: Nope. I pretty much have the same uniform—black T-shirt ripped at the neck and jeans à la Mac from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
Dee: She never yells at us for what we wear. If we were wearing sweats and a T-shirt, she would probably give us props for rocking it. I do feel like when I am around Char, I get to dress more daring than the usual black-on-black. There is a definite confidence that comes along with knowing you have a real fashion designer in your band who approves of your outfit. It’s all about boots, beanies, black, and rock & roll. If you have that, you got it all. I take pictures in different outfits and text them to her until I get the okay.
Pack: I fucking miss sweats. This question is totally inspiring me to bust out some sweats band merch. Thoughts?
Please list 100 ways Long Beach is better than San Francisco. Okay, maybe just one way will do.
Carlson: They film Dexter there.
Pack: I can easily drive my ass to the grocery store here without it being an afternoon event, the beach is way more accessible, and I generally don’t have to remove every dime or old Cheetos from my car in fear of the windows being smashed in.
The City perform with Murderland and Bombpops at Alex’s Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, (562) 434-8292; www.alexsbar.com. Thurs., Dec. 2, 9 p.m. $5. 21+.
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This article appeared in print as "Get Lost Tonight."