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SEDUCE AND DESTROY
We're pretty sure It'll Grow Back is the only punk rock band in Fresno that actually still annoys the right people for the right reasons. There's no whining, no makeup and definitely no apologies for any of their antics, no matter how many frumpy, repressed bystanders and club owners they make enemies out of.
The frantic live energy of frontman Josh Tehee is unparalleled, and it's doubtful there's anyone who's seen the band at any point in its career that wasn't affected by his manic performances. Think Minor Threat-era Ian Mackaye meets the Tasmanian Devil.
Over the course of a few lineup changes, the group has evolved into a tightly knit powerhouse. Nowadays, with a rock-solid rhythm section comprising old friends Daren Taylor (drums) and Simon Smeds (bass), co-founders Tehee and Chris Fletcher (guitar) have found themselves leading one of Fresno's most exciting and, yes, professional bands - as long as you can handle a few Jesus jokes.
It'll Grow Back recorded its new self-released, Seduce & Destroy, at Gardenside in Fresno. Do everything you can to check out the band's CD release show, this Friday October 28th at the legendary Zapp's Park. It's a bargain-basement $3 and they'll be joined by SparkleJet, who, for some reason, has apparently never before played Zapp's.
Fresno Famous had the opportunity to communicate electronically with Josh about IGB and its new album.
First question: What will grow back? (I'm sure you get this question all the time.)
Do you really want to know? The story goes like this: I chopped my block off (if you get my drift), and only if we rock hard enough, with enough raw power, will it ever grow back. The question is will you be there when it does?
What's your music all about? Try to give a description of the band's sound and what you're going for with your lyrics.
Musically, we're just an old-fashioned punk-rock band. People say we sound like the Dead Kennedys, and I can see that. We're more punk-rock circa 1980 than punk-rock circa 1990, I guess. Lyrically... Here's an analogy: Motorhead has a song called 'Killed by Death.' And no one ever says, 'Hey Lemmy, what's that song about?' If you're asking the question, you missed the point.
For those who don't know ANYTHING about your band, give 'em a little background info on how you met and formed It'll Grow Back.
Chris Fletcher, who plays guitar, had seen my former band, Dr. Rocket and the Moon Patrol, back in the day, and had booked a few shows for us at Fresno State. This was like 1999, 2000. After that band broke up, I wasn't doing anything musically and Chris approached me about starting a band. We're into the same things. Not just musically. It just seemed to work, straight off. He came over one afternoon and we wrote like three songs.
How have things changed since Daren (drums) and Simon (bass) joined the band?
For the first time in maybe two years, it feels like we're an actual band, instead of just Chris and me and revolving drummers/bass players. It seems cliche to say we've had five drummers and four bass players or whatever, but it's true. For awhile we were totally going to go the electronic route, with a drum machine or whatnot. It just feels like we're on common ground. Plus, having an actual practice schedule pays off at show time.
In one of your songs, you repeat over and over, "Praise Jesus! Praise Jesus!" At least, I think that's what you're saying. So, do you really praise Jesus, or is that just a lie?
The song's kind of a joke, I guess. One of my favorite movies is 'Leap of Faith,' with Steve Martin, and part of me has always wanted to be an evangelist. So the song's a way to have fun with all that. It's like the It'll Grow Back old-time revival.
It seems like you guys play more "indie rock"-type shows than the average local "punk rock" band. Whatupwiddat?
It's funny that we are a 'punk' band that never plays 'punk' shows. We met a lot of 'indie' bands when we used to play weekly shows at the Crossroads, but it's something we just fell into. Partly because our friends were/are in 'indie' bands, and partly because we don't do as good a job of marketing ourselves as we should. Plus, we might have more in common with a band like Gypsy Cab, who plays a cover of 'Ace of Spades,' then a lot of punk bands around. But we'd love to play more punk shows, for sure.
Where can people buy your latest full-length, Seduce & Destroy?
Right now it's consigned at Tower Records. We're going to try to get it in as many local shops as we can--Valentino's, SBI, Retro Rag, maybe Yoshi Now! Eventually it will be on I-Tunes and all that. Best bet is to find one of us to get it all cheap like.
Tell us a little about the album and what went into recording it.
First off, without sounding like an ass, I think it's proof that a 'local' band can pull off a professional product. It's definitely an independent effort, but it doesn't look or sound cheap. We recorded with Matt Orme at Gardenside and Shawn Covert did the mix and Chris did the layout and design work with Jason Olmstead helping on the technical end, and they all did a kick-ass job. We did splurge, if you want to use that word, to have Jeff King at Threshold Sound do a professional master job and we paid to have it duped and printed, which was totally worth it.
Who is Jeff King?
He's an engineer from L.A. He mastered Bel and the Dragon's album, Judah, and was really cool to work with and totally gave us the 'indie' rate on the whole deal. Mentioning him wasn't me name-dropping or anything, just trying to give credit where it's due.
You've said "the band is all about the performance." Would you say the new record gives the listener an idea of what it's like to see It'll Grow Back in a live setting?
Yeah. But it still lacks the visual impact. Though I suppose, if you've seen us before, you could close your eyes and pretend.
Seduce & Destroy is being released on GetFaced Records. Is that your own label? If so, why did you decide to put it out yourself?
Chris and I had this idea for GetFaced pretty much from day one, as a record label or a 'zine or something. We knew we were putting the album out ourselves, so why not give the thing a name or whatever?
Some bands leave Fresno to "make it." Do you think moving to another city would better serve It'll Grow Back?
Probably. But I don't really buy into that whole notion of having to move to another city to do the whole 'band' thing. And there are the people in town -- I'm thinking Rademacher, Kat Jones -- to prove it. I'd rather be a band from Fresno than a band from LA or Portland via Fresno.
How has being banned from several local venues affected the band?
The punk-rock part of me loves it. We're so fucking hard-core we got banned from a State University and all that. But, then I think, 'Oh wait. That's a huge untapped audience. And they actually pay well for you to play.' Essentially we're blocked from playing at two good all-age venues. So that sucks.
What does the future hold for It'll Grow Back?
Right now we're going to get the album in as many hands as possible.
Will you eventually change your name to the Notorious IGB?
That was actually the alternate name for the album.
Visit myspace.com/itllgrowback for more info.