Little Fish, Big Pond

...and guppies eat their young is the Valley's most prolific, and unjustly obscure, band

. . . and guppies eat their young's CDs are available to varying degrees of abundance in most record stores with a local music bin, but the lion's share of copies trade hands at their gigs. (Full-lengths run $7 at the shows, but they're thinking of going as high as $10 for the double disc.) Even so, the guppies play out only infrequently, generally rotating among Modified, Nita's Hideaway and Tempe's Lucky Dragon, and prefer shorter sets to longer. This is also, in its way, a calculated move, designed as it is to prevent both them and their audiences from burning out on a rewarding thing.

"Really, I think the shorter a band plays, in general, the better," Cates says. "Even if you really like them, if they cut it short and leave you while you want more, I think that's a lot better than going long."

The others nod and Coccera says, "I've gone to see bands that I love, and they've run it into the ground and ruined it. You just stand there thinking, 'Okay, this would be a good time to stop.'"

...and puppies eat their young? The guppies pose with their charismatic canine, Flea.
Kevin Scanlon
...and puppies eat their young? The guppies pose with their charismatic canine, Flea.

Details

Scheduled to perform on Saturday, June 16, with the New California, Poor Rich Ones and Cuba Libre. Showtime is 9 p.m.
Lucky Dragon Restaurant in Tempe

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"It's not like anybody's driving 400 miles to see us, either," adds Ruggles. "Most of the people in our audiences are other musicians from in town. There have been nights when I've looked out into the audience and thought, 'Man, everybody I know here is in a band.' But when you only play in public rarely, people have a chance to get a little more excited about it. They don't get sick of you as quickly." Pause. "Personally, I don't think local bands should ever play longer than a half-hour."

"I used to hate playing in public," muses DiGiacomo suddenly. "Actually, I still do, a little. I get nervous. Especially on high stages."

The others, at first seemingly a little surprised at his admission, pick up on it.

"Maybe it's a thing about putting yourself above the audience," suggests Daum. We've been talking about Modified's low stage and close confines, which lend performances a rare sort of participatory quality, a proximity between players and audience.

"Maybe it's just that some stages are too high up," says someone else. "It's a longer fall down."

"You should do a performance on a diving board," offers Cates. "A real high one. Work it out that way."

"You could play a last song on the way down," Ruggles says. "You could time it so that you played the last note exactly when you hit the water."

DiGiacomo is silent for a moment, perhaps considering new opportunities for the production of Pure Art. "You think?" He smiles then, a fish contemplating distant water. "Nah. I'd freeze up. I wouldn't be able to play."

Which is such a silly notion -- imagine notplaying -- that everybody laughs.

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