With all he's been through, Donathon has a remarkably positive attitude.

"It's a matter of it helping me realize certain things, what's important," he says.

Meanwhile, Bagnod was raised in both Bagdad, Arizona, and Prescott in a "traditional Mexican family." He got guitar lessons from his father (who played Spanish and flamenco style), and an older cousin from Mexico taught him how to shred on Metallica and Nirvana.

Anne-Marie Smart
Hector Bagnod (left) and Chris Donathon (right) fused '80s pop, New Wave, and hard rock rowdiness to create the Medic Droid.
Photo: Jamie Peachey
Hector Bagnod (left) and Chris Donathon (right) fused '80s pop, New Wave, and hard rock rowdiness to create the Medic Droid.

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See more shots of the Medic Droid in our slide show. The Medic Droid are scheduled to perform with Chronic Future, and Back Ted N-Ted on Friday, December 12, at The Clubhouse Music Venue in Tempe.

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The story of how they came together is very much "meet cute."

In 2003, Donathon was working at a Fry's in Tempe as a stock clerk. He and Bagnod were looking to join a band, but neither could find one that matched their particular musical interests of post-hardcore and pop-punk.

One evening, Bagnod came into the store and saw Donathon wearing a New Found Glory T-shirt while coming off shift.

"He ran in because he forgot to clock out, and we caught each other," Bagnod says. "And I was like, 'Hey, you play anything?'"

Donathon remembers having to fib a little.

"Yeah, I lied and was, like, 'I play guitar,' just because I wanted to squeeze into a band somehow," he says. "And we got together and started jamming."

Their bro-mance flourished as the pair discovered a mutual love for oldies, '50s rock 'n' roll, and '80s pop like Michael Jackson, Queen, and Prince.

Donathon moved to Sacramento shortly thereafter and got married, returning to the Valley in 2005 after a bitter divorce. He approached Bagnod about collaborating on some "electronic and energetic" dance music that was rowdy and pop-oriented. With the assistance of members of pop-punk band Good With Grenades (of which Bagnod was a member at the time), they recorded what would become "Fer Sure."

The song was a fusion of the pair's assorted influences, from '80s dance pop to the post-hardcore sound and rowdiness of bygone Texas band At the Drive-In.

Bagnod worked the synth and guitars, with Donathon's voice filtered through an auto-tune vocoder as he sang feisty lyrics and made catty taunts at his scene-kid friends, girly-pants-wearing emo hipsters, MySpace users, and Internet slang.

He even smacked up drag queen/electro-pop vocalist Jeffree Star with a taunt so obscene it'd make Howard Stern blush.

"This is Chris Fucking Donathon, and don't get mad, Jeffree Star, 'cause I made you snort a lot of my cum while I fucked you in the ass," he vamps in the spoken intro to the song.

The irony that both Donathon and Bagnod have the same style as those being made fun of in the song is not lost on them.

"We're talking about scene kids that wear tight pants, straighten their hair, put on makeup, like piercings, whatever," Bagnod says. "We can make fun of it, but I also wear tight pants and straighten my hair. So it's funny."

The song was merely a fun side project for the pair. Donathon explains he had something of a "don't give a shit" attitude about it, and the song reflected that.

"I've never really considered myself a songwriter. I was just gonna join other bands and I'll just have this for, like, something on the side — just to mess around and be creative and have fun," Donathon says. "It was about making simple songs, and [not worrying] about production or anything."

"Fer Sure" was posted on a MySpace page Donathon reserved for The Medic Droid (a reference to The Empire Strikes Back, owing to his geekdom), and the pair told a few friends about it. They figured only their immediate social circles would be hearing the song.

Within a week, Donathon's then-girlfriend was swamped with positive MySpace messages about the song. By the end of the month, it was getting more than 50,000 listens per day at one point.

"I was really weirded out by it. She was freaking out about all the plays, and I was like, is that good? It may sound stupid, but I really didn't check out other bands' pages to see what was good about plays."

Bagnod continued to collaborate on songs, posting new ones every few months, such as "Keeping Up with the Joneses" and "FScene8." Each one hit big, particularly with teens. Although The Medic Droid's fan base includes all ages, the majority skew young, between 14 and 20.

Donathon says he thinks kids latch onto their songs because of the popularity of MySpace among teenagers, as well as the band's attitude and lyrical content.

"That's what I was making fun of, mocking the whole MySpace lingo," Donathon says. "It was about parties, drugs, sex, Internet, MySpace, all what teenagers are into."

Daniel Werner, an A&R rep for Epic Records (the band's distributor) says he's impressed at how they've reached scene kids, emo types, and their ilk.

"The Medic Droid, to me, I feel like they are speaking for a whole huge group of kids that have had very little representation in pop culture for the last several years," Werner says. "People who are genuinely different and see the world differently, kids who are trying to be different and creative, have lost a mouthpiece. It's hard to find people who speak for you. The Medic Droid does that."

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11 comments
la sandra
la sandra

oh shit i can't believe i havent seen this article until now! i was at the blender that night, and i had started the chanting of fer sure as we were kicked out by that fucking security guard.

however, medic droid broke up yesterday. something happened between chris and hector i think.

Amanda
Amanda

Just read the article and was totally pumped to get to a computer & listen to these guys. Expecting music that was new and fresh and totally awesome. Um, sounds like pop punk to me. With the same beats and the same nasally voice, am I missing something?

Jim
Jim

It's not a question of haters (or sockpuppets pretending to be fans rushing to the defense of the band, for that matter). Make an outline of the article and you quickly find there's very little of a factual nature. The writer tries to make all this boring stuff sound interesting, but see how his hyperbole is supported: he doesn't describe a rollercoaster ride to fame or a "meet cute," despite claiming that he does. The supposedly wild antics of the band goes no farther than the singer lifting up his shirt. The alleged debauched ambisexuality of the crowds at the clubs they play deosn't sound especially wild but, as with pretty much everything else in the article, we're just supposed to take the writer's word for it (even though he seems to just be taking the band's word for it). If you like the band, fine (I went to their Myspace page and personally I liked their "hit" better when Toni Basil did it as "Oh Mickey"). But the article is a big hunk of nothing that smacks of payola.

betsy enders
betsy enders

omg...i'm very happy you wrote about the medic droid cuz their my favorite band and they really put on a great show...

Tracey
Tracey

Don't listen to the haterrs, just listen to the music. its so good and chris donathan is so cute

Mike
Mike

This is one of the most blatant instances of empty hype I've seen in a while. The writer makes no attempt to verify the frankly unimpressive claims made by the band and their management (e.g., that they had lots of interest from major labels before choosing to be on local trust fund label) and I can't help but smell a big pile of bullshit. Is this supposed to convince Phoenix residents that they're missing out on something because they're allegedly REALLY, REALLY popular elsewhere? A bunch of Myspace hits, eh? I wonder if they hooked up with one of the services that offers to use their programs to boost the number of plays your Myspace tunes receives or whether they did it themselves.

Nicki
Nicki

Great job, 'New Times'! I was so stoked to see The Medic Droid on the cover. They are a phenomenal band and really stand out from the indie rock scene that seems to dominate the Valley. It's awesome that such an innovative duo is representing AZ so well! Keep it up, and good luck to Modern Art!

Jeremy
Jeremy

I've heard these guy's album. The production is really great. I'm in my late 20's and the overall vibe of the band is definitely geared towards a younger audience so I personally can't give a fair review. My younger sister likes these guys a lot. I wish this story had more info about their label and what it is doing in the local music community.

Either way, no need to hate on em. There's a New Times every week. I'm sure somebody else you think is a fag will get the cover soon enough. ;)

Peace

Kiki Fausel
Kiki Fausel

Honestly, it was an excellent show, and this band is talented. Please, don't look at their younger fan-base. The true fans are really awesome and dedicated. And, the band plays a funky beat, and Donathon is a great guy and a fantastic vocalist. Not to mention Hector is the sweetest man ever.

soulbot9000
soulbot9000

Is there seriously nothing else going on in this city that this crappy band gets the cover of the new times? did you guys listen to their music before writing this? my guess is probably not. can we please get coverage of bands that you don't have to be a 13 year old girl in order to like them?

Scene Jean
Scene Jean

What a couple of fags. Certainly not worthy of a cover story in New Times. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

 
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