Pink panthers

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He's not awash in post-practice bliss or EP anticipation -- he's dead serious. And those who have been lucky enough to hear it know that it is great, that it is a shame it won't come out until next Christmas, if at all. Pinkston's "Father Christmas" is a perfect update with all the irony and energy of the original. But, as the members of the band say, it just means they're ready for the future next year, which is exactly what Pinkston wants.

"We're trying to keep ahead of ourselves a little bit because we don't want to be complacent and not write songs," Parsons says.

Clardy Lewis agrees, adding, "And then it's like, 'Oh, look; now we have to record a record, and we don't have any songs to record!" But for now it looks like "Father Christmas" will be out around this time next year, a few months after Pinkston releases its first full-length, which the band plans on recording in the spring or summer. They've already begun writing new songs for it and will continue writing until they go into the studio. And they can take their time doing it, making the record they want to make instead of going as fast as they can to get it done. Pinkston has reached the point where they don't have to rush.

"We're really just taking it each little step by step," Clardy Lewis says. "We have the EP direction we're on right now, and we're shooting to have a full-length out in 2000 as well. And we're writing all the time for that and playing. That's just kind of where we are. We just try to do more and make sure that we're getting better. That's just kind of what we do."

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Shannon Sutlief