Photo by Jeanne RiceMost everyone I talk to about the Rattlesnakes agrees they're one of the best bands in SoCal. They also agree they're one of the most A) weird, B) bitchy (actually, guitarist Candice Getten seems proud of that one) and C) socially retarded. But take a moment to sit down with these five beautiful beings—I'm not sucking up; they're also one of the best-looking bands around—and you'll find it's not like any of that at all.
"I do think that's something that needs to be addressed," says bassist Aaron Owens. "Just because we don't know how to talk to people . . . that doesn't mean we're dicks."
"We don't do fuckin' Hula-Hoops when someone says hi to us," interrupts drummer Brian Watson with a laugh.
"We're not like, 'Fuck you,' but what are we supposed to say?" continues Owens. "'I like you.' 'Thanks.' 'I want to book your band.' 'Okay.' 'How can I get in touch with you?' 'Our website.' Those are the answers, and that's all we know."
Not true. Time after time, they know how to pull off sweaty, explosive, ferocious rock and don't mind breaking a few hundred E-strings doing it. Darting guitars, pile-driver drum-and-bass, shattered tambourines, and that voice of Nathan Buckley—spewing vicious growls that are somehow melodic—all combined in a Siamese twin kind of way to make for one of the most amazing rock shows ever. And Buckley's really got a way with words.
Settling in on the couch, Getten asks if someone would sit on her cold feet. Buckley—who thinks God has the best hair in the universe—offers, "Put 'em up my butt."
It's like that with this band—they're high on the "close-knit" meter. Buckley and guitarist Eric are brothers; Owens and Buckley are best friends, and all of them, at one time or another, have shared living quarters in Corona, the land of turning your Big Wheel upside-down and saying you're the ice cream man (if you don't understand, no one could ever explain). Well, all of them except for Watson, but he used to call them the Weirdosnakes, so maybe it's best they never lived together.
Although, right now, they might as well. They work out together, give one another pedicures, even have matching BULLSHIT T-shirts (a Christmas gift from Watson; "They're pretty self-explanatory," says Buckley). Matching tattoos can't be too far behind.
That's not to say they don't get some time alone to think, right? Perhaps in the morning. So what's the first thing they think about when they wake up?
"My car," says Owens to a room full of laughing listeners. "Not the one I drive now—another I used to own. I miss it. I rode it like a dog."
"And loved it like a man," quips Buckley.
"He's not even joking," says Getten. "When he gave up his car, I had to give him 10 minutes alone so he could sit in his car and say goodbye to it."
"Sometimes I wish I would wake up, and it would be the 1200s or something," says Watson. Ah, the good ol' 1200s. Rock must've been super-punk back then. Did we miss it? What happened in the 1200s? we ask.
"A lot of . . . death," says Watson.
(Eric Buckley is incognito tonight, so Owens is answering for him: "He would say the first thing he thinks about in the morning is love and its many forms.")
As for the other two, they just think about food. All the time. Every hour. Oh, and Getten thinks about how much she hates to walk—yes, in general. And band names . . .
"Originally," says Getten, "we thought of calling ourselves the Baloney Ponies."
"[The Rattlesnakes] seemed a little less stupid," says Buckley. "But only a little bit, like 1 percent. Actually, we were never supposed to be a band. We did it as a joke for a talent show, and that's when we had to decide whether we should be the Rattlesnakes or the Baloney Ponies. As soon as we were done, someone came up and asked us to play their birthday party, and then that night we were a band."
"We were discussing this the other day, how our band name has probably been a hindrance for us," says Watson. "But I came to the conclusion that the Beatles are regarded as one of the greatest bands of all time, yet have the stupidest fucking name, and we're fucking better than them, so fuck them!"
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But it's hard to do a Google search for the Rattlesnakes.
"Yeah, it doesn't work," says Owens. "But at least we're not called Music or Naked Ladies."
"Yeah," says Buckley. "Or Naked Lady Love Fuck."
The Rattlesnakes perform at the Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-7022. Every Mon., 9 p.m. Through Feb. 24. Free. 21+.