After their songs started getting notice online, Bagnod says, an "insane amount" of managers and labels made contact.

"We didn't know anything about the business," Bagnod says. "We just wanted to write music. That's all we knew. We didn't know booking agents; we didn't know labels. We didn't have any clue about that stuff."

A friend in the recording industry helped land the band a gig opening for Enter Shikari at NYC's Bowery Ballroom in September 2007. Donathon first tried out his alter ego during that debut gig. Bagnod and Donathon decided to become an actual band and scheduled several gigs in New York and Los Angeles, where they'd also meet with agents and labels.

The Medic Droid performs at the Blender Theatre at Gramercy in New York on Thanksgiving eve.
Anne-Marie Smart
The Medic Droid performs at the Blender Theatre at Gramercy in New York on Thanksgiving eve.
Chris Donathon
Jamie Peachey
Chris Donathon

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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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Tim Ervin, a 19-year-old from Whippany, New Jersey, was in the audience at the Bowery for the live debut of The Medic Droid.

"There were maybe 20 fans there who knew who The Medic Droid were. It was a pretty packed show, but most people were there for Enter Shikari," Ervin says. "But by the end of the night, they were really into it. It was something new that they were excited about."


The Medic Droid feel they're better known outside the Valley.

"It is funny. We could be in another state and we've gotten recognized at the mall — like, people will recognize us. Here, I could walk around the mall all day and nobody's gonna come up and say, 'What's up?'" he says. "We got recognized on the beach at 1 in the morning on a pier in L.A. We were just walking with some friends and I had my hoodie up, and these kids stopped, ran back, and asked if we're The Medic Droid. We weren't even on tour there."

The Valley didn't get a chance to experience The Medic Droid until a month after their Bowery gig when they opened for nerdcore rapper MC Chris at the Brickhouse. And though they've rocked clubs repeatedly on both coasts, they've played fewer than a dozen shows in their hometown.

Why?

"Dunno," Donathon says. "Local shows are usually pretty like dead, pretty standstill. It's definitely nowhere near what it is overseas or Denver, or Dallas, Portland, Florida, or New York. It just goes off. It's insane."

How insane? Ben Collins, who runs The Medic Droid's record label, Modern Art Records, tells some tales: rabid fans breaking down a security barricade in Detroit, tossing blow-up sex dolls around the crowd in different cities, or audience members with bloody legs from getting pressed against the stage in DeKalb, Illinois. For some shows, the dance floor is almost a mosh pit. Fans will also rush the stage and climb aboard and dance away.

After gigs, Collins will play a game counting the various barrettes, wallet chains, or bracelets that have been ripped off by the grind machine that is The Medic Droid's crowd.

So why ain't this happening in the PHX?

Collins says the crowd sizes are comparable between Phoenix and other cities; it's just that local crowds are far more subdued. (It's not just an Arizona thing, either, because Tucson shows are pretty rowdy).

"There's the high-pitch feel to Phoenix shows and stuff, but not the raw, sexed-up vibe of other cities," Collins says. "The screams are louder, the reaction is bigger."

That includes seeing some ambisextrous action, be it boy-on-boy, girl-on-boy, or girl-on-girl. It's all fed by The Medic Droid's sexy electronic hooks and crotch-pounding bass.

And it includes Donathon's occasionally having kissed a boy or two in the past. Collins says of his friend, "Chris is straight, but he's also . . . adventurous."

When the vocalist has Chris Fucking Donathon switched on, he'll sometimes skirt androgyny (regularly glamming up his model-quality looks in guyliner and foundation) but always dishes the rambunctious attitude on the microphone. Not to mention flinging himself around stages, making offensive jokes about religion, sticking his hands down his pants, and using them for rude gestures.

He's like the long-lost son of Iggy Pop or Johnny Rotten, Collins says.

"No matter how dance-y they get, Chris is still a punker at heart," he adds. "What he's doing is still punk, just in a different way."

Epic's Werner agrees.

"To me, punk has always more reflected an ethos and an attitude, more than a specific sound," he says. "The kind of fearless don't-give-a-fuck attitude [Bagnod and Donathon] have in their approach to performance is more punk rock than a lot of artists who maybe call themselves punk or pop-punk."

Occasionally, the dude gets into some trouble. To wit: In Salt Lake City, while touring with Kill Hannah over the summer, management for the post-punk band threatened to kick Donathon off the tour for engaging in a water-gun fight onstage and drenching electrical equipment, Collins says.

"I was getting a lot of calls in the morning for that one," Collins says.

It's all just fun, explains Bagnod, which is why they keep gigs short and sweet.

"A good performance is coming out, pinning it in. Have a set short and good, and have people go, 'Wow, that's fun.' It's better having fans leave the show thinking, 'That was so fun.' Almost leave them still pumped, not leave them all drained — like after a crazy Mars Volta show, with 10-minute songs."

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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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