Local Wire

You Asked For It: The Video Nasties

You'd probably expect a band with a song called "Sheriff Joe" (refrain: "Fuck you, Sheriff Joe, fuck you, Sheriff Joe") to find a sympathetic ear here at Phoenix New Times. And, honestly, The Video Nasties do get some credit for calling out Maricopa County's most evil man, even if it's in a pathetically ham-fisted way. Still, that's about the only nice thing I can say for their record, The First Five Months. The Nasties are boring, self-indulgent punk rock poseurs from east Mesa without an ounce of originality or the demonstrated ability to play their instruments with the basic competency you'll find at a typical school-sponsored battle of the bands. Wait, no: I guess we can also say their drummer is kinda cute. Sadly, she's terrible behind the kit, managing to make Meg White sound like Neil fucking Peart.

First, by way of explanation, I should point out that this band has been hounding us to write something about them since at least May, when former music editor Niki D'Andrea asked them to submit a CD for this column. They finally did a month or so ago, and started harassing us again recently. Danny Valdez a.k.a. Danny Dirtnap sent the following e-mail to my boss:

Look, we're putting on a KILLER show @ the Yucca Tap Room this Saturday. Some wild shit is going to take place and you REALLY should have someone present there. It won't be bearded dudes with children's keyboards. Sorry. If you want to see something, that can't be found ANYWHERE else in this town, come to the Yucca.

He went on:

I pick up an issue of the most widely read paper in this town...it's the same old song. Guys looking coy with beards and acoustic guitars going on about how they 'don't sound like the beatles'. We have attitude. We have passion. And most of all we have new, fresh, volatile music. Music that needs to be heard.

This is probably stupid on my part, but I actually went to the show. Partly because I was curious but mostly because I was already a mile away at the Rock for Tots benefit at Last Exit, seeing some bands who don't suck, like Domo and Sleepwalk a Robot. I was subjected to watching Danny - in leopard print pants, with a slicked back pompadour - taunt the crowd then perform the most basic BotB stunt of all time, the choreographed jump in to the crowd where he landed on some dude who was obviously his friend in a bid to create some "craziness." Bush league, even in east Mesa. Anyway, that's all I'm going to write about that since this is, afterall, a You Asked For It CD review and we don't yet have (thank the Lord) a You Asked For It concert review column.

So just how original are the Nasties? Well, let's start with their name. There are at least three extant bands with their name. This group from London, this group from rural Pennsylvania and of course our friends in East Mesa. Since Mesa's Video Nasties are cursed with a MySpace URL that doesn't even accurately spell their name, I think it's a fair guess they were last to the party, too, which is even sadder. When you can't even think of a name that's not in use by at least two other bands well, shit, you probably suck.

And suck they do, though not really in a way interesting enough to write much about. The First Five Months is the typical schlock you'd expect from young left coasters who know Rockabilly is cool, and the Circle Jerks are cool, and that it doesn't matter how well you play your instruments, but don't have the talent or imagination to do anything with that information. "King of the Bop" sounds like the roadies for Jerry Only-era Misfits messing around at a sound check while "Slaughterhouse" and "What's in the ridges?" are the exact sort of cliché horror punk that the band complains is too prevalent locally.

And the highlights? Well, their cover of The Undertones "Teenage Kicks" is halfway competent and "Sheriff Joe" is fun to scream along to.

Now, if only we could get some dude with a beard and an acoustic guitar to cover "Sheriff Joe." Then we'd have someone worth writing about. --Martin Cizmar

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Martin Cizmar
Contact: Martin Cizmar