Peace Corp are Back--and George Fryer is Still Angry
Peace Corp back in the day
George Fryer is still pissed. Maybe you've seen the former Peace Corp frontman in his more recent, unperturbed project, the George Fryer Combo. He spends Sundays nursing others' hangovers at King Neptune's, or Saturday nights singing sweet love to trophy wives at places like the Hilton and Mahe.
But be assured, the singer, songwriter, guitarist who was once the driving force behind OC punks Peace Corp is still easily riled--he's just more hush about it.
It was 10 years ago that Fryer, bassist Hanson Meyer and drummer Chris Silva quit Peace Corp, which appeared on the first two OC Weekly local music CD compilations. The band shared stages with the likes of the Sugar Ray, Korn, Pennywise, Offspring, Wayne Kramer, Agent Orange and more.
Times changed, sort of. There's less Fryer vitriol spewing. "I am doing yoga," Fryer says. Back pain forced him into hippylala land, a departure for a man who once penned the anti-skinhead rant "Let's Bomb the Germans."
"Yoga's a couple thousand years old," he says. "It's proved itself." But is he less angsty? Nah. "I think I became even more type A," Fryer says with a laugh.
Peace Corps formed around 1985 and started playing clubs in 1992 with the band's second drummer Dominic Tucci. In 1996, the band's third drummer, Silva, joined, bringing his heavy metal roots to put some rocket fuel in the band's sound.
By 1997 Peace Corp, which had always leaned on its combined psychedelic surf rock and melodic 1960s pop harmonizing, became a whole lot less peaceful. The crowd responded well to apoplectic songs like "Let's Bomb the Germans," so Fryer kept dishing out the sly rage.
In 1998, Peace Corp released its first CD, an eponymous effort with more satirical punk bashing in songs like "Mosh Pit." Fryer tackled politics, hard-drinkin' girls who abandon dreams and one of Fryer's nemesis: record labels.
The band carried on until 2000 when Meyer moved to Samoa and Fryer pursued solo ambitions. "I didn't want to do it with anyone else," Fryer says about Peace Corp breaking up.
Tension grew around the band, as well, with too many almost-breaking into the big time situations. "I suppose if I played ball a little better back then, we would have still been around if I had, and I don't know--been nicer to Sugar Ray maybe," Fryer says with a slight chuckle. "I think that maybe started it."
He's referring to the tumult following the cover story he wrote for this very rag, a behind-the-scenes, somewhat snotty look at the fellow OC Band, making Fryer pop punk enemy No. 1. ("Hey, Mom! I'm a Rock Star," July 23, 1999).
"If you are going to mistreat people, who wants to deal with you?" Fryer says about himself. He toured with Sugar Ray as a keyboard player. Fryer attended Corona del Mar High School with most of the guys from Sugar Ray, and until then was particularly close with guitarist Rodney Sheppard.
Now Peace Corp is back to muster the malevolence. "It might suck," Fryer says. "We'll see. It's just seeing old friends, playing with old friends and getting to rock a little bit, which I don't get to do much anymore--and I get to swear. It will be all the greatest hits: the F, the C, the A. All the good ones."
Peace Corp performs with Burnt Party Host (who became Just Plain Big) and Santiago Steps (formerly Big Saver) Friday, July 30, 8 p.m., at Tiki Bar, 1700 Placentia Ave., Costa Mesa, (949) 270-6262; www.tickibaroc.com. 21+.
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