By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Plenty of rock bands have gimmicks, attention-grabbing quirks, devices, antics or personas that help set the band apart. Other bands make it on the laurels of their own talents and personalities.
Denton-based surf-punk band Bleach Boys rides a narrow wave between the two. The band doesn't wear costumes or face paint, or light things on fire. But it does play a thrashy brand of instrumental surf rock called "puke wave," which the band claims to have invented.
Oh, and, at times, the band verbally abuses its audience—but that's not the gimmick. Bleach Boys' shtick is more complex and bizarre than that.
After a year-long hiatus, the band recently resurfaced with a new drummer and a dozen new songs. The band's first full-length album, Family Man or Astro-Man, will be released on Rabid Dog Records just in time for summer. Well, that is, if anything the band members say can be trusted. Because, let's face it, it's tough to trust a trio that claims to be "time-traveling decommissioned military robots" and says it escaped dismantling armed only with "a contempt for humans and our love of coffee and beer."
I meet the Bleach Boys at The Loophole Courthouse Pub for an interview. Supposedly, it's the band's first. Early on, I know the interview won't be "straight."
"Have you ever considered adding vocals?" I ask. Jimmy the guitarist, who, like his fellow band members, requests his last name be withheld so he can retain his anonymity, answers: "Singers are overrated. We hate singers! I mean, you've got to be pretty narcissistic to think anyone wants to hear you sing on and on about your thoughts and feelings."
Funny, sure, but Jimmy's serious. Deadpan, actually.
And what sparked the band's year-long hiatus? Ronnie, the band's bassist, says the hiatus was caused by internal creative difficulties. Except, not really: "We just had too many creative similarities that needed fixing before we wrote songs together again."
Jimmy offers up a different explanation for the hiatus. Like Spinal Tap before them, Bleach Boys have trouble keeping drummers. "We lost our last drummer in a freak reverb-related accident," he says. "After that, we took a break, but we weren't even thinking about keeping the band together."
But, then Orville of Bad Sports and Chief Death Rage stepped in to play drums, and the Bleach Boys quickly caught a new wave of creativity.
But is it a step in the right direction?
Says Ronnie: "We really feel like we missed it, missed the point on this new album."
I don't believe him.