Surfless in Seattle

With some help from Iggy Pop, Evan Foster has kept Boss Martians dude-a-licious

Evan Foster sure makes the life of an interviewer an easy one. The hyper-kinetic frontman for Boss Martians is friendly and accommodating, almost to a fault.

"Dude, that's a good question," is Foster's opening response to almost every inquiry.

Even when the question is purposely lame, Foster is quick to respond in the affirmative: "Dude, that question is right on."

Part Bill and Ted, part encyclopedic musicologist, Foster has led some form of Boss Martians for nearly 15 years now, releasing a series of critically acclaimed efforts that merge surf music with power pop and hard rock.

"In the early years, it was all about drinking and raging and partying out," Foster says. "But we shed the skin of the surf/frat boy band thing."

Foster's love of Bon Scott era AC/DC led to his decision to steer the band in a more meat-and-potatoes direction. That, along with the fact that the surfing ain't that great in the Pacific Northwest.

"If you want to surf, you have to go out to the coast, and that's pretty cold and dreary," says Foster.

Yet there is nothing dreary about Pressure in the SODO, the recently released effort from Boss Martians. Catchy, concise and emboldened with a punk ethos missing from previous releases, the new effort may well be the band's definitive statement. Of course, it always helps when a legendary figure lends a hand.

In this case, that would be Iggy Pop.

"Iggy was super cool and really, really intense," says Foster.

Iggy co-wrote and duets with Foster on "Mars is for Martians," the best cut on the new album. And Pop's presence seems to have bolstered Foster and the rest of the band's confidence. Cuts such as the Cheap Trick-inspired power ballad "And She's Gone" and the bone-crunching rocker "Elsie" show that Boss Martians have evolved far beyond the standard three-chord rants of its early years.

Foster chalks up the change to the influence of his hometown.

"Being cooped up in this weird little corner of the country, you've got to find something do," Foster says. "You've got a lot of coffee drinking and songwriting going on."

Foster claims that it was in 2003 that the band got focused and decided that making music was a serious proposition. A new rhythm section was brought in and various Boss Martians' songs were turning up on episodes of television dramas such as One Tree Hill, as well as being featured on a variety of video games. And Foster sees the new effort as the apex of his band's career ascension.

"It was time to rally and bring forth the best that we really fucking had," Foster says. "When we play now, it's with all guns blazing."

Various label snafus kept Pressure in the SODO (named for an industrial area not far from Foster's home) on the shelf for more than a year, but Foster is insistent that such issues are in the past now.

"Once we got the label details worked out," he says, "releasing the album was not a problem."

Dude, that's good news.

 
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