- Courtesy of Warp
BY KRISTYN ACHO
Daily Music Editor
Published September 26, 2010
With so many of today’s punk bands being thrown into the dance-funk genre, it would be easy to toss the talented band !!! (pronounced "chk chk chk") into the pile of Talking Heads impersonators.
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But when rowdy !!! rolls into town for a show at the Blind Pig tonight, concertgoers will see firsthand why this would be a sore mistake.
Unlike so many of their buzz-craving peers, these Brooklynites have been making their own brand of funk-heavy, punk influenced sound for the last decade — and these aren’t the sort of guys willing to change their image in order to coincide with what’s trendy in today’s music scene.
Unfortunately, !!! has undergone some difficult changes in the last few years. First, vocalist and drummer John Pugh left the band in the summer of 2007 to focus on his new project Free Blood. Then in late 2009, the band received the tragic news that drummer and original member Jerry Fuchs had died in an elevator accident. These events had quite an impact on their latest album Strange Weather, Isn’t It?, full of fittingly dark tracks.
Deep in the midst of a grocery shopping excursion, !!! frontman Nic Offer enthusiastically talked with the Daily by phone about album names, the pros and cons of writing music with eight people and his most ridiculous, drug-induced, vomit-producing onstage moment.
So where did !!! come up with the title of its latest record?
“I was watching a movie called 'In the Mood for Love' by Kai War Wong and the point where the main couple runs into each other on the street and there’s so much they need to say to each other but they don’t even know where to begin or how to address it. So the streets are all rainy and first thing he says to her is, ‘Strange weather, isn’t it?’… It just kind of made sense to me and summed up the record,” Offer said.
Although !!! is always searching for that undeniable groove, Strange Weather proves to be more peculiar and elusive than previous hook-heavy albums, the most notable being 2007’s Myth Takes.
“Now that we’ve finished it and stepped back to take a look at it, it was almost like you didn’t even want to talk about it because it was so dark and bitter,” Offer said in reference to the latest album’s evocative subject matter.
While the album may be a bizarre juxtaposition of the dark undertones brought about by shocking recent events and the display of the band’s affinity for raucous disco beats, it’s also Offer’s favorite record !!! has ever produced.
“Myth Takes was sort of like a breakthrough for us because we started writing better songs than I think people thought we could write, but to me the songs on this album are the catchiest we’ve ever done — but they’re also the strangest and have the most thought-out depth and texture. It’s really us and original,” Offer said.
But the creative process isn’t a walk in the park. Offer describes the difficulties of creating a record with a slew of opinionated band members involved.
“It makes it so you accept people’s flaws because you know them well, but it also makes you more irritable with their flaws, you know? So it kind of works both ways. Every record is a sort of struggle to get along and agree, but there has to be some sort of struggle to make a record — at least for us there does,” Offer said.
After slaving away in the studio for months, Offer couldn’t be more ecstatic to hit the road.
“I’m really excited. I love getting out on the road. It’s a blast. When we started there were so many of us in a tiny van. A lot has changed,” Offer said.
While Offer has more than a few memories of rowdy absurdities onstage — it took him a couple of minutes to cite just one, claiming “all kinds of crazy shit happens” — he definitely delivered, sharing a story any rock star could be proud of.
“The first time we played Barcelona, we played at like 2 or 3 in the morning. We just killed it. The crowd went crazy … and Tyler (!!!'s guitarist) gave me half an ecstasy … And then I went up to the DJ and he gives me another hit of ecstasy. So we go out there … and then all of the sudden we’re almost at the end of the song and I’m like ‘Oh my God I’m totally gonna fucking puke.’
“And there’s this rule that James Brown has that you can do anything as long as you hit the one. So I just hit the one and puked — just straight into the audience and then I puked again and then just kept singing and then puked one more time. And I mean it was like, it was just legendary. And no one was mad. I couldn’t do that at every show. But the crowd was just going crazy and they loved it. I like to think that’s like the ultimate in dance-punk,” Offer said, laughing.
Basically, be ready for some ridiculousness to ensue at tonight’s show.