By Susan Bonicillo
Photo courtesy of Slowburn
Local band Slowburn will compete in the first round of the Emergenza Music Festival tonight at 6 at Surly Wench Pub. Go to decide what band will advance with a chance of competing in the final round in Germany.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, November 17, 2005
It's a Friday night at Grill in downtown Tucson and I'm sitting across from Chris Turner, one-quarter of the Tucson rock group Slowburn. He's got a plate of tater tots stacked to the rafters. Everyone else around him is downing pints of Guinness or cups of black coffee while gracefully dangling a cig.
Questioning his motive for his choice of grade school, cafeteria-style fare, Turner waxed poetic about his younger days and called the pieces of greasy potato product "nuggets of nostalgia" and continued noshing in an unabashed and shameless manner. He's forgiven for this peculiarity because, after all, he is a bass player.
He is also the sensitive one, according to the other guys in the band. And it really does seem like everyone has a particular role to play in this band.
Mike Fielder, who founded of the group after becoming disillusioned with his job as a sound engineer, is ever the consummate leader and guitarist.
Mike Sosville, of the chrome dome and artfully shaped soul patch, is the beleaguered percussionist who weathers the most abuse from the guys but can't seem to think of retort on the spot.
Lead singer Twitch Jones (his real name was never divulged during the course of the interview no matter how hard I probed) dresses more flamboyantly than the rest and has been given the dubious title of "Pretty Boy" by his band mates. Twitch has been known (on one occasion) to sing the wrong lyrics to songs and to wear painted-on jeans topped by a tiger-striped cowboy hat.
Surprisingly, despite all the external trappings, it was Slowburn's frontman who almost gave up on the music industry, citing the flakiness of his former band mates and the assortment of raucousness associated with the rock lifestyle as too much for him. Fielder recruited him and convinced him to stay on.
Fielder's brainchild Slowburn is in the business of producing loud, angry love songs. He was inspired to form his own bands after his sound engineering day job exposed him to other groups that could be described as being subpar in terms of music.
"It's basically just us four guys and instruments," Fielder said. "While everyone else was using samples, or deejaying or going into rap metal we were always more a straight-up rock band. We decided to be patient because when we were doing it, it wasn't very popular then, but now it seems likes we're cutting edge but it's what we've done all along."
It's this kind of fundamental rock 'n' roll sound that Slowburn hopes will clinch a victory at the Emergenza Music Festival that's coming to town this week.
Emergenza is an international music festival with venues in Europe and North America that pits local bands against each other with the audience picking who will advance to the final round. Winners of this event might have the opportunity to compete on an international scale for the title "best band on the planet." The championship round takes place in Germany.
Yet even with this on the line, the guys aren't taking themselves too seriously. For them, having fun and making music is most important, as evidenced by a sample lyric from their side project called Monkey Mike and the Poop Flingers: "I painted my penis black to make it look bigger/but then I forgot that black is a slimming color."
The world may not be prepared for the innovative and controversial lyrics of Monkey Mike and the Poop Flingers, so instead Slowburn is playing the Emergenza Music Festival today at Surly Wench Pub, 424 N. Fourth Ave. Today is the first round of this four-day festival. Doors open at 6 p.m. with Slowburn performing at 10:30 p.m. The trial rounds will be at the Surly Wench Pub today through Saturday, with the final round on Sunday. For more information on the Emergenza Music Festival visit www.emergenza.net. Tickets are $10 if you call ahead at 1-888-923-BAND or $15 at the door.