The bass-drums duo Porkchops and Applesauce strips punk rock down to its essence: playing whatever you want whenever you want to play it, owning it the whole time without apology. For the sound and attitude, the Minutemen come to mind, but this band's sound is even more minimal–quirky but visceral, weird and varied enough to captivate an audience the whole set through.
On lead bass we have Kirk Hofstetter, hailing from Fullerton. Playing the part of Applesauce is whomever he's jamming with on drums, which may change nightly. Hofstetter says he has been through 40 drummers since forming the band in 2005. In fact, he prefers when drummers have minimal familiarity with his material, finding comfort in musical strangeness, thriving on the energy that results from a first-time musical hook-up.
"Just one-two-three, let's see what happens, and let the songs take us wherever," he says. "Being able to constantly experiment onstage with only my imagination to hold me back has made this a project like no band I've ever been in."
If you visit the Doll Hut in Anaheim with any sort of regularity, you are likely familiar with the sound. Hell, you're probably on a first-name basis with Hofstetter and whoever he's playing with at the moment. Speaking of the Doll Hut, have you tried the pork chops and applesauce there? Hofstetter says it's tops in Orange County (um . . . pass), though he named the band after the Brady Bunch episode in which Peter pretends he's Humphrey Bogart–an overt play on the struggle of a musician to just be himself with the tunes he writes and performs.
This is, by far, Hofstetter's longest-running project. He's a veteran of the Orange County garage-rock circuit and formed this project as kind of an anti-band to address the frustrations that traditional setups bring to an artist. "Rehearsals, set lists and making the songs tight seemed very opposite of what I love about rock & roll," he explains. "Taking the music to new places, sharing with the crowd my love for music and feeding off their energy in return–I feel there is no limit to Porkchops and Applesauce, and it's an all-you-can-eat affair."
As of late, the meals are gaining more variety and substance. Guest spots have always been welcome at shows, and they have begun to feature various combinations of wind instruments, adding flesh to Hofstetter's skeleton crew. He has even invited other rhythm instruments and an extra vocalist. "None of them had rehearsed," he says assuredly. "We just got up onstage and rocked it."
Having recently opened up for Mike Watt and Agent Orange, there are even bigger things on the horizon for Porkchops and Applesauce. Hofstetter is cutting an LP with Reel Big Fish alum Ryland Steen on drums. "All of this has been super-magical to me," he says of the recent creative surge. "It has really made me evolve as a person and, dare I say, 'artist.'
"'Music is the best' is a Dale Bozzio quote that really says it for me," he adds. "Come and be dazzled by my effects pedals mounted to a snowboard."
Porkchops and Applesauce perform at Attack of the 2-Man Band with the Fox and Bear Band, Roosterhead, and Time and Energy at the Slidebar, 122 E. Commonwealth, Fullerton, (714) 871-7469; www.slidebarfullerton.com. Fri., 8 p.m. Free. 21+.