Live From Ground Zero
It's spring again, and you can forget all about love because new wave is in the air, says a guy named F.M. Static (the "F" stands for Fritz). The legwarmers, the stripes, the crushing fear of nuclear missiles arcing over the Arctic circle and air-bursting the West Coast to superheated ash—it's now or never if you're gonna strap on the keyboards and the slatted sunglasses, and Static's band the Epoxies are thrilled to be live from Ground Zero.
"The Epoxies are to new wave what benzene is to cigarette smoke," he explains. "We're just a real dangerous part of it."
"Not so jokingly, we've had discussions about what we could blow up onstage," adds singer Roxy Epoxy. "We use everything but fire at some point. I'm surprised we don't have anything that catches on fire."
Not even accidentally, we ask?
"Haven't had any of that yet," Epoxy smiles. "But everything else is accidental."
They dig their outfits out of hardware-store dumpsters ("We're pretty homegrown and pretty poor," says Epoxy), garish rainbows of duct tape and tinfoil over zippered bondage pants and inappropriate eyewear for a look so contagiously weird that select front-row fans are already popping up at concerts in costume. It's the post-apocalyptic look, says Static.
And their stage shtick is total geeks gone wild, part weird science (they had a home-built bubble machine that was so violent crowd members would unironically beg them to turn it off) and part just weird. "Look at us!" demands Epoxy. "Do you need an example, really?"
And they'll even claim their music is accidental, that standard no-one-really-knew-how-to-play-their-instruments dodge bands give you for the same reason they won't divulge their ages: no real rock & roll fan ever wants to accept that experience and technique actually factor in to making the trash that sets their grubby little hearts afire.
But, says Static (when he—accidentally, of course—drops character for a second), they practice constantly, tour constantly and drop more songs than they ever release. And Epoxy is very diplomatically vague when we ask if it's true Sire—home of two dead Ramones!—is getting ready to put them through the Next-Big-Thing-O-Tron. Because two years into neo-new wave—which we should have seen coming when the '80s bodysnatched the 2000s away from us—and after a lot of sweat, duct tape and tinfoil (one of them has a contractor's license, no joke!) the Epoxies are popping up on the radar as at least A Big Thing.
"We continually get called an '80s band," says Epoxy. "But alienation, nuclear war, whatever—these things get more dominant as time moves on. It's just as valid now as it was then."
But even she's a little surprised. "We're So Small" (she calls it the "nuclear war song," off their self-titled album on Seattle's Dirtnap) was written after Sept. 11 as sort of a reminder of the way the Cold War felt. But now it's gone from nostalgia to documentary, from Dr. Strangelove fallout-shelter humor to chilly On the Beach uncertainty.
"I always knew that things would end like this," sings Epoxy in a monotone. "So hold me close and give me a kiss." It sounds pretty nice coming out of the Epoxies—like Kim Wilde matter-transported into Adam Ant, or maybe just like the Suburban Lawns—but it's a little unsettling. And it's no accident. It's the way new wave should be: tons of fun until the missiles hit.
"We have a really danceable, energetic quality," says Static, "but at the same time, it's pretty apocalyptic. Essentially, 'We're fucked—let's dance!'"
The Epoxies perform with the Bolides, the Phenomenauts and This Is Revenge at the Liquid Den, 5061 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 377-7964. Fri., 9 p.m. $8. 21+.
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