I Am Totally Insane
Photo by Matt OttoThe Rolling Blackouts are a crazy good band—obviously, they need crazy fans. So I ask them if they have any. Like any wild-eyed weirdoes with bad haircuts who've followed them since Day One? Or any panting creeps who corner them after shows to suck up and slobber? Or any desperate attention whores who know all the lyrics, all the sing-alongs, all the parts where the music stops for a split second and you yell, "Woo!"?
They all look at one another for about half a second.
"Um, just you," says Gabe, the drummer. And then they all laugh. Fuck.
But you know what? I'm lucky I got there first.
I mean, not to degenerate into alienating critical crypto-pedagogy, but the Rolling Blackouts will FUCK YOU IN THE FUCKING FACE. And if they don't, well, you're probably doing something wrong. They're all the rawest tracks from Nuggets with a little Rolling Stones swagger ("When I was thinking of names, it wasn't really inspired by the energy crisis," says Danny. "It was more like an homage to the Rolling Stones") and a drummer who looks a little too much like Keith Moon. Then they crrrrrrank it all the way up.
They're loud, yeah—soundmen will screech, "TURN IT DOWN!" across the boards at them—but the loudness isn't what makes the goodness. It's the momentum that gets you, song after monster song of hooky rock that slashes genre clichs (with the exception of a few perfectly timed falsetto "Ooo-ooo-ooo!"s) into ribbons—they're songs that slither up the back of your leg, grab hold and shake the fuck out of you. By the end of the set, you're more exhausted than they are.
For some reason, they're from Lomita, where the speed is as potent as the Mexican food—just in different ways. It's the kind of blink-and-you'll-miss-it suburb where rock is just another word for "Dude, Pennywise!" but they still managed to wiggle through the stupid shit. Their parents? Hippies (says guitarist Jared), Jehovah's Witnesses (says singer/guitarist Danny), even just regular supercool dudes (says bassist Mike). Their weekends? Alfredo's, lots of music and methamphetamines, they joke. "I don't personally do speed," says Danny, "but Lomita is for connoisseurs."
They've been bouncing around in one another's bands for years: from snot-nosed punker babies playing with local heroes F.Y.P and post-rock experimental types (with a band called Iambic Pentameter). But this latest incarnation—almost named Danny Boom and the Runaway Stoners, claims singer Danny, who happens to work at one of those clothing stores where they sell leather bras with flames on them and man-thongs to naughty advertising reps; I thought you'd like to know—is just . . . like . . . fuck.
I don't know; maybe I'm hyping them too much. But maybe you're a stupid idiot who has musical arthritis, and would just lay there all limp and lame if someone was trying to boink you in the back seat of a car. Maybe you suck—hey, I don't know, but maybe you do.
But I went and asked around anyway. I don't wanna drown a band in my own drool. And the few people who've seen them—at a Torrance Elks Lodge, at a San Pedro house party, at a booty club in LA—think they're at least pretty fucking good. I think they're even better than that, but of course, there can be only one insane psycho No. 1 Fan. Fuck this new rock revival—pretty soon, you're gonna be all over the Rolling Blackouts. And maybe I'll let you cut in line behind me.
The Rolling Blackouts perform at the Liquid Den, 5061 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 377-7964. Every Mon., 9 p.m. $4. 21+.
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