By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
"We were all so nervous, thinking that all these people with laminated passes were record agents," says Patti, shuddering at the memory. "We were pretty unstable too, doing our chemical of choice or whatever. My girlfriend at the time said she literally prayed we wouldn't get signed because we wouldn't have been able to handle it."
Her prayers were answered, even though the Piersons' weren't--the band left the seminar empty-handed. "Those people didn't give a flying fuck about us," Patti says, sighing bitterly.
It's three years later, and the band's disillusionment with "da biz" is still in full bloom.
"We don't fit in with the Bushes and Offsprings of the world. But then that's the whole point."
Even at a local level, the Piersons have had serious identity problems. Moore classifies the band's misfit sound as being "too pussy for punks and too punk for pussies."
Since its beginning, the group has embraced the punk ethics of DIY, but with rather DUI tendencies. When the band signed a recording contract with Epiphany last summer, on a Friday night at Wong's, Moore promptly spilled Budweiser all overit.
Before the Piersons went into the studio to record Humbucker, the band's manager, Charles Levy, signed on producer/handler Jim Swafford, who gamely managed tokeep the band away from firewater during the grueling ten-hour sessions (staff members at ASU's radio station KASR weren't so lucky--the four band members reportedly downed a case of beer in the studio during an hourlong guest deejay spot in late February).
"Jim started coming to our rehearsals and arranging our songs," Patti says. "He's set in his ideas. We'd argue every day, but, in the end, we'd come away knowing we'd done good work. He also had us do the rhythm tracks on Friday and Saturday nights when we weren't playing, which was smart because we were so geared up to play really well on those nights."
Ironically, Walker is the most prominent band member on the cover of Humbucker, even though he didn't join the band until after the album was in the can (Patti handled lead duty). Nevertheless, the other members of the Piersons agree their new guitarist has earned his place.
"Getting Michael in the band is like a dream come true," says Patti. "Because when someone has your back covered musically, you can improvise and take things to another level."
Walker and Patti met about two years ago during a chance jam session with X founder John Doe. "I'd never met John Doe before," Patti says. "I was just sitting on the patio at Wong's and I recognized him because he'd just done an acoustic gig at the Congo that night. I said, 'Hey, John, how ya doing?' And he looks at me and says, 'You wanna go in and play guitar? We're gonna play 'Wild Thing' and 'Folsom Prison Blues.'"
Natch, Patti nodded.
Walker was onstage with a band called BStrange at the time. "My God, I'm playing and I see John Doe walk in," he recalls. "X is one of my all-time favorite bands. The reason I play a silver-sparkle Gretch is because Billy Zoom from X did." The jam went off and, in 1995, when the Piersons needed a guitarist, Patti knew whom to call. But it wasn't Doe.
It's now March 2 at Gibson's, site of therelease party for the Beat Angels' newalbum Unhappy Hour. Seven bands are scheduled to pull short-duty sets tonight, and things are seriously behind schedule when the Piersons bound onstage.
"We're only going to do four songs because somebody fucked up," cracks Pattibefore the band blitzkriegs through the first three tunes from the Humbucker CD, plus a fist-pounding "Train Kept aRollin'" that would've done the Yardbirds proud.
Thinking back to the band's drunken revelry of a few weeks ago, a major point ofcontention in the Piersons camp was thefirst handful of reviews for the recent local-music compilation Exile on Cameron Harper Street, which lumped the band intothat derned ambiguous "desert rock" category. It's obvious to anyone who rode this brief roller coaster of a set at Gibson's that the Piersons are just a plain, old-fashioned rock 'n' roll band. The boys inthe band may call a certain dry, netherregion home, but they're no more desert than the Standells or the early Kinks were.
After their set, the Piersons bolt for a headlining gig at Cannery Row a few blocks away. Soon enough, however, theband will throw its own late-night/earlymorning CD-release party.
"It'll be kind of a rave," promises Patti, "with smart drinks for stupid people." And presumably vice versa.