By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Brian Palmer
While it might appear easy living for a punk band in a hazy world of crap-fisted indie labels that appear to be doling out recording budgets to any sweaty snot-nose with a Flipside in his back pocket, the Impossible Ones wallow in that land of manager-and-label-free hell where the phone simply refuses to ring. The two rely on fatigued band axioms to loose their frustrations. But who can blame them? These are the things that provide ample fodder for rock shtick. That and their various day jobs as fork-lift drivers and restaurant workers.
"There's all these bands that get signed on all these labels and hook up all these tours," continues Jeffro, his voice slicked with a Milwaukee twang. "To me they just fucking suck. I think we're more concerned about writing good songs over the promotional and marketing aspect of it. We are concerned about writing good songs.
"And there is a lot of people that claim to be street punk," he continues, his voice rising to conceal resentment. "I get so fed up with that working-class street punk band shit where they all sing about that sort of stuff. I grew up in Wisconsin, and when I graduated high school my old man said, 'Do you wanna go to college?' and I said, 'Yeah.' He goes, 'All right, go get a job in a factory, that'll pay your tuition.' I worked third shift in a factory and tried to go to college during the day and, of course, it didn't work out. That's the way I saw my old man do it, so that's the way I thought I was supposed to do it. I poured liquid metal in a machine for five fucking years making die casts."
"I would never work that hard," cracks Squeal.
Jeffro continues: "Then you got all these guys going [imitates a punk bruiser-type voice], 'We are working class, we drink beer, we spit on sidewalks!' Shit, and we don't even have any of that content in our music or in any of our songs. There are two all-male punk bands in this town that I really hate. We have to see them on a regular basis, so it's probably not printworthy. But the two bands have little indie deals and they both tour and I can't stand either one of them. Now you have all these people going, 'Oh, dude, I just got this New York Dolls tee shirt on eBay.' All of a sudden everybody's all fuckin' going, 'Let's wear tight leather pants and claim to be a rock 'n' roll band,' when like two years ago they were playing crusty hard-core with dreadlocks."
Both Squeal and Jeffro accurately describe themselves as "lazy" with "social problems" and "medically diagnosed schizo-brain fucking things going wrong." It's no surprise, then, that the phone won't ring. When you see the band's members out at clubs, they just shuffle along awkwardly, clearly self-conscious of their own social qualms.
"Nobody knows how to talk to nobody," says Jeffro, in all sincerity. "We just sit around and bitch about how come everybody else is doing something and we're not."
"We always kind of bitched like, 'Ah, no one gives us any respect,'" chimes in Squeal. "But we are pretty lazy."
Singer Squeal, the man responsible for a good 90 percent of the group's songs, grew up in Tucson, attended Christian school and discovered punk rock in church when he was 13. He wore trench coats and a Mohawk to high school long before -- or long after, depending on where you place your rock reference points -- such things were fashionable. He managed to escape school without getting beat up. He "got punched in the head a few times but never got beat up."
Squeal came up through a NOFX-type pop punk group called Those Meddling Kids before bringing together the Impossible Ones. Thus far, the band has opened shows for B Movie Rats, Dee Dee Ramone and Agent Orange, among others.
"I think when we first started, it was more like, 'Let's just go have fun and get all fucked up,'" says Squeal. "People's straps are breaking, strings are breaking. Then we started to try and get more serious. Maybe only have two or three [beers] before we play."
The band recently completed its first collection of demos and hope to tour and make records. Ultimately, they figure it's either rock 'n' roll stardom or driving fork lifts.
The evening is alive with wafts of barbecues and the chirping of children on a nearby elementary school playground. A woman strolls by in the street pulled along by a big ugly dog. A faded Mach 1 with turbo action tires sits across the street. Some homes on the street have windows covered with American flags and tin foil.
Another beer can arches from the Impossibles' porch and drops onto the brown lawn. The oppressive sun starts to fade, giving the neighborhood a needed burnt orange fuzziness. "Pleasant Valley Sunday" circa 2000.
"I don't mind living out here," says Jeffro. "I mean, it's a lot less expensive than living close to the campus. We can rehearse here and nobody complains. It's a real blue-collar area, and we fit right in."
The Impossible Ones are scheduled to perform on Friday, June 30, at Hollywood Alley in Mesa, with Grave Danger, and Über Alice. Showtime is 9 p.m.