By D. Shayne Christie
Get kinky with the Weird Lovemakers
Punk Rock, whatever that is, has been a force in Tucson ever since I can remember. And I've been here a really long time.
I'm not talking about punk style or any sort of fashion - nor am I describing a lifestyle - the punk I am speaking of is music and only music. Though you'd be hard pressed to get many of its messengers to mouth off about being a musician or a poet of any sort.
Take the Weird Lovemakers for example. They would probably agree with that statement, as well as guitarist Jason Willis' idea of punk - "passionate music with a fuck you attitude."
The four-piece band recently played at the Airport Lounge along with the Impossibles from Phoenix and for a few bucks you can't beat music that good. You also can't help but hear it. I stuffed napkins in my ears to dull the ear-burning guitars that were bouncing off every wall of a place which isn't even wide enough to swing a cat in.
I'm sad to say I missed the first band, and I heard from most that they kicked the audience's proverbial butt. However, the show was a last minute decision for me. I'm glad I went.
I saw these Weird Lovemakers.
Gerard Schumacher plays the skins and does a good job keeping the band nailed down. Vocalist Greg Petix, who does most all of the screeching for the band, plays guitar along with Jason Willis. Willis' guitar grumbles low to Petix highs, although many times they are beating out the same chords.
Bassist Hector Jaime holds down the low end and then some. He also sings a few tunes. His bass lines help keep the thundertrain on its tracks, and plus "Hector is the one guy in the band who really knows how to play," jokes Petix.
They played a whole slew of stuff, including a lot of tunes I had never heard before. The new ditty's are much like the old, with one foot firmly rooted in punk, and the other I'm not sure where. Wherever it is I liked it.
Petix said the band has not had time to practice recently, and only plays together at gigs. Despite this, the band seemed like they have been playing together more and the new songs are more diverse.
There are longer more instrumental songs and strange sounds added into the mix. Schumaker tries to mix the drums up a bit and I can appreciate that.
From open sounding beats heavy on the ride to tribal sounding tom-fills, Schumaker helps make it interesting. The gritty, throat tearing vocals of Petix and a mudslide of guitars over Schumaker's downbeat drumming makes all of the songs, including the new ones, hard edged and undeniably punk-oriented music.
Playing music isn't all they do - Schumacher is a school teacher, Jaime is a grad student and TA here at the UA, Jason manages an east side record store and Petix works at Bentley's on the north boundary of campus and contributes to the Wildcat.
Three of them have played in local bands before - Petix played with Chris Morrison (of Bargain Town) in The Lonely Trojans before he formed Irving in 1993. Irving went onto become the Weird Lovemakers in 1994 when Willis joined the band.
They are in the same vein as local bands The Fells and Pork Torta, or at least that is who they hang out with.
As a matter of fact Heath Heemsbergen, who plays guitar and sings for The Fells, was the one who got Willis interested in playing guitar when he moved here some years ago.
Since then he has been a part of Rocket # 9 and The Gobs as well as the Lovemakers. Jaime used to play for Skolliwoll.
And that to me is what music is all about, especially in Tucson - being in bands with your friends. I can't tell you how many people I've seen in multiple bands in this town - sometimes even in the same night. Maybe it's 'cause music doesn't pay much around these parts. Or maybe it's just one less person's shit to deal with.
The group is busy finishing up a follow-up to their first effort, Electric Chump, to be released around the beginning of the year with the perfect seasonal moniker, Flu Shot.
The songs were all written by the entire band, and they describe the song writing process as planning out the arrangements on a large dry erase board, and then tweaking it.
They recorded Flu Shot at Waterworks studio with the legendary Jim Waters who has worked with soul guru's John Spencer Blues Explosion, and noise wizards Sonic Youth.
Willis said there is some wizardry on the new disc, including some Moog keyboards sounds and other added textures.
You can hear some of their new stuff, as well as most all of their songs at their next show which is tonight at the Luna Loca Cafe, just north of Stone Avenue and Sixth Street. It's the blue place with the nice graffiti art on the wall that's next to Mat Bevel's art studio in the old Downtown Performance Center.
They're one of the better bands in town as far as I'm concerned so go see 'em. It's worth your money, it's all ages and they are playing with Scared of Chaka and The Fells. The show starts, allegedly, at 8 p.m. sharp. Don't expect any soft lounge music here - get ready to rock. And let your ears ring you to sleep.