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"A little mind trip stuff, too," chimes in Phil. "We throw that in, too."
Hence the band's name. There's a perverse diet of instant imagery. If you're drunk or high at a Hypno-Twists show, it can be dizzying. The floor can suddenly rush toward you. I've seen more than one person get smacked in the face by club floorboards at a Hypno-Twists show. But nobody at a Hypno-Twists show gives a damn about the shine of his shoes.
Keyboardist Tula Storm is built like a swan. She moves like one, too. Long neck and fingers, sinewy, graceful. She plays a Vox Continental organ (rumored to have once belonged to Blondie's Jimmy Destri).When I saw her live, she wore black jeans hewed to hot pants. One of my friends leaned over to me and said, "I'll give all my beer money for 15 minutes alone with the keyboard player." He said this without any hint of irony. Storm inspires that kind of reaction. She's untouchable in that way.
"It's definitely a live thing," says bassist Dr. Epibular, the only donation he makes to the conversation all night. Onstage, Epibular hangs in the shadows, wearing a big, fat smile and laying bass lines in a conservative manner that belies his punk-rock demeanor. Epibular has done time in local hard-core god-heads Pay Neuter. Rumor has it that Epibular possesses the largest hard-core/punk record collection in the city, possibly the state. He's the latest addition to the group, playing bass in place of the Curse's Polo.
Hypno-Twists' covers run the tasteful gamut of Chuck Berry ("Beautiful Delilah"), the Ventures ("Dick Tracy," "Out of Limits") and the Cramps ("Can't Find My Mind"). "One of our covers is so obscure that I can't even remember the guy's name who sang it," chortles Joel.
The band's own songs cover themes of "broads and booze, mostly."
Sporting an orange forked beard, shorn locks and perpetually sweaty forehead, guitarist Bobby Lava Noxious onstage resembles a teenage Rasputin had he played a big, vintage hollow-body. Noxious came up doing seven years with the ska-ready Kongo Shock.
"We're not an angry band," understates Noxious. "We're a happy band that people enjoy to watch and get up and dance to."
"No, it's just to have a good time," chimes in Phil. "To turn ourselves on. We want to turn other people on."
What about covering songs of 1960s Phoenix bands?
"We're thinking about covering the Spiders [pre Alice Cooper]," Phil says.
"That would be right up our alley," adds Joel.
Any band with a foot in the 1960s gutter must have inside knowledge of psychedelics, of Rimbaud's theory of distorting all senses through drugs to find illumination.
"I've ingested many, many psychedelics," says Joel. "It's not a part of my regular routine anymore."
Vespa and Noxious nod in agreement.
"I'm high on life," adds Phil.
The others nod again. The band members seem to agree on everything. When one person speaks, the other shuts up. How rare. How adult. This with all this Guinness Stout going down.
The Hypno-Twists say their plans include playing lots of shows, a forthcoming EP, a tour, some vinyl singles, and all the other well-worn rock band hopes/truths. They understand the futility.
"But one thing we do like," says Phil flatly. "Britney Spears we love."
The others nod.