The Fly Boys of Summer

With Outta My Way, The Flys show what you can achieve with brains, brawn and Brian (Wilson, that is)

"You don't want to play too many shows with the Rolling Stones. Their crowd is so different. It's an older crowd," he says. "Rich lawyers and stuff. I mean, who can afford $2,000 a ticket? I can't say enough about the Stones and their crew -- they're topnotch. I hung out talking to Mick Jagger while Keith Richards was onstage playing 'Start Me Up.'"

The Flys also played to the younger, more demonstrative crowds at A Day in the Garden (a.k.a. Woodstock '98). Swiss pan to The Flys appearance on MTV's sex-advice program Loveline where some kid called up and talked about jerking off and the band practiced looking disgusted, a look that would come in handy when The Flys opened for Third Eye Blind and learned a valuable lesson in how to be obnoxious.

"And in a way I respect that about them," says Paskowitz. "That Stephen [Jenkins, Third Eye Blind lead singer] guy is truly a rock star. He dates an actress and he's so rad and I respect that about him. We knew them back before they had that record out and they were totally different then. It takes a lot of energy and it's badass to be a dick. He's like the male Madonna. If I could be the way he is, I would. I ain't got that kind of play. Like Courtney Love; you can make so many enemies, it's insane. And if you can ride that wave, more power to you."

Surf's up: The Flys, clockwise from bottom left: Adam Paskowitz, James Book, Jack Holder and Peter Perdichizzi.
Surf's up: The Flys, clockwise from bottom left: Adam Paskowitz, James Book, Jack Holder and Peter Perdichizzi.

Now it's 2000 and "Got You Where I Want You" is still being played in heavy rotation on alternative stations like it's still a new single. Has Paskowitz noticed the trend of modern-rock stations emulating their boring classic rock competitors -- the one band, one song forever formula?

"I could care less," he says. "Our deal was that we were just going to write songs that we liked and our friends like. Our buddies at this company called Black Fly sunglasses. We hang out there and play them the songs, and if they like them that's cool. That's what we're going for. That's it. And whether radio changes, I mean radio, try to figure that out. And MTV is just one game show after another. How do you figure that all out? We're getting ready to make a video now. Videos are like weird commercials. I like MTV2 because they play the wackiest, weirdest, bogus hair metal bands and music."

Even if radio were to shun them as last year's lepers, even if MTV were never to air their weird video commercials (no doubt featuring Outta My Way's cover boy, Sumo wrestler Randy "Babybono" Rowan, brother to Akebono, the first born American Sumo wrestling champ), the band has enough sponsors, disciples and determination to do whatever it wants for a long time. And if that includes chasing down a ukulele player in Maui or sampling the Sunrays next, so be it.

In closing, I tell Paskowitz that I hear another kind of Pet sound on the new album when I suggest the melody of "Helluva Time" sounds strikingly similar to Petula Clark's Target anthem "Sign of the Times." Paskowitz helpfully suggests, "That's an odd reference and you need to seek outside help."

Coming from a guy who starts off the thank-yous to his album by commending Jim J. Bullock for "his hysterical comedy and unreal courage," I'll take that as a yes.

The Flys are scheduled to perform on Sunday, April 30, on the Virgin Megastage at Fifth Street and Maple at the New Times Music Showcase in Tempe. Showtime is 10:30 p.m.

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