Friday, January 9, 2009

Big Baby demo

I first met Dan Fox in 1998 when he was helping our friend Kelly McGittigan put on shows at their house uptown on Robert Street called The Ranch and then down at the Audubon Hotel. Offhand, I can remember them putting on some amazing shows with Dropdead, Crispus Attucks, Fat Day, and Casket Lottery, but I know they did a ton more than that. Local bands like Hatchback, Community, and Dogapillar were also in constant rotation on their shows. I think Dan was officially just a "sound guy" or maybe just helped Kelly out, but it definitely seemed like he was always on hand at those first Kelly shows I started going out to. Dan played with Templeton Peck and Indignation (a personal favorite) and would later go on to play guitar in Hatchback, bass in Stupid Fucking White Man (the precursor to The Faeries), MC in The Interview, and a few instruments in the brief but amazing Gretna Sewing Circle. I should also note that I pretty much ripped off Dan stylistically on the flyers I make. I remember him making fun of the computer-generated flyers I was scamming and then taking me to kinkos with him and introducing me to the world of broken typewriters, cut-and-paste, the "negative image" button, and staying overnight in the 24 hour copy shop. I distinctly remember a couple of cool posters he did for me for two of the Page Ninety Nine shows and one he did for the This Bike is a Pipe Bomb / The Wednesdays / Hatchback show at the Mermaid Lounge (That show was the same night as Creation is Crucifixion / As They Wept at Dixie Taverne, and I missed both shows because I was at the computer lab literally writing six papers the day before they were due! A fool's errand!).

Although hailing from the cancerous suburbs of Destrehan, Justin Grisoli was a veteran New Orleans punk of the Faubourg Center and Jimmy's days by the time we started running into each other. I caught his old pop punk band The Santa Smokes a few times at those shows and later on when Eric Martinez was briefly putting on shows at Movie Pitchers. I think the first time I really talked to him was at the big Avail / Propaghandi / Leatherface / Hot Water Music show at Southport Hall. Not long after that, I was throwing a lot of shows at the Dixie Taverne, and he had moved into one of the apartments above the bar. I started seeing him more and more and eventually joined a band with him called Eat a Bag of Dicks. While that band was still around, Justin had a lot of different musical projects going on--Stupid Fucking White Man (and the Faeries after that), The Black Sun, Gretna Sewing Circle, Marx Marvelous, Christ Reverse Psychology Experiment, Mean Day, and probably some others that I'm forgetting. He would also go on to help found the seminal, post-grunge Red Beards. Pretty much every band Justin has been involved with has been amazing, original, and influential on some level, not to mention being a versatile musician, having mastered drums, bass, and guitar.

Brian Serpas was a good friend of Justin's from Destrehan. I don't think he really got into punk until he was 23 or so, and the first stuff he started listening to was Page Ninety Nine, His Hero is Gone, and all the other really extreme, fringe stuff that Joey Gates and Justin were feeding him. I think that gave him a pretty interesting perspective on things and sort of shaped his music writing. He's always had a penchant for writing really strange and original, non-traditional punk guitar riffs--which I've always thought have been pretty amazing. Brian started coming around more and more when Stupid Fucking White Man started. Later on, he would live with me and Justin at the Banks Street Warehouse.

Although a few other folks have come and gone (James Hayes, Chris Prince, Jay Steigner), these three gentleman make up the twisted, maniacal soul of Big Baby, a wonderfully hard band to describe. The first couple of shows they did as an instrumental band, and the music closely resembled early 90s, southern California, emo/hardcore like Downcast and Universal Order of Armageddon--a lot of repitition, that vague Rage Against the Machine type riffing, but still somewhow in the outer realms of punk. After they started adding vocals, things started getting a little stranger, more experimental, a bit more 90s alternative influenced. These days, their sound is a sort of post-punk, grunge-worship slowly making its way back from a long and bizarre sojourn into the far reaches of space and time. It's the sort of music Kang the Conqueror would listen to. Or Mike "Prophet" Taylor and Rebecca of the High Order or the Turboslut.

Despite all of my difficulties with these guys (and by that I mean my brother Dan), I love them to the death. They're certainly one of the most original bands to come out of New Orleans in a long time, and they are all very talented musicians. I know they recorded fairly recently with Greg Stein at the Studio in the Country, but I'm not sure if that stuff is going to be released. They also recorded a recent show (where they covered Bikini Kill's "Rebel Girl"), but that apparently came out too poorly to ever be heard again.

Here's their demo from 2007:
Goblin Church
Roach Laughter
Bleeding Assholes
Creepy Alone Time
Warlock Adventures
Storm Dog

The collage picture above is from a few different pictures that Lauren Goldstein took. Justin and Dan are both at the Outer Banks. It looks like Brian is too, but for some reason, I keep thinking that his picture is from the Banks Street Bar.

You can find updates on Big Baby via their myspace, the only website they have (one of those bands).

In other news, the three have started a separate project with Stupid Fucking White Man / The Faeries vocialist Joey Gates called Stupid Man. They've done a 2008 update on songs from both bands and should be playing out very soon. I think this is definitely something for folks in New Orleans to look forward to, as both of those bands were personal favorites of mine in both a local and global sense. I think the Faeries record is one of the best hardcore records--not to mention the great chemistry that these guys have together and their amazing live performances--so Stupid Man will definitely be something to look out for.

1 comment:

Lauren Goldstein said...

You're forgetting Mean Day!