By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
“That’s bullshit,” said Gabe.
“All you have to do is listen to how much better Gabe plays blast beats than our old drummer Dave,” said Bobby.
“It’s pretty much playing as fast as you can play on everything at once,” said Gabe. “I’m doing 16ths on the kick drum and on the snare drum, and that varies with what I’m doing with my right hand and the cymbal.” To talk to him is to discover the group’s ears are tuned differently than yours and mine. Their whole lives have unfolded within the confines of a short-attention-span culture. Post-literate, raised on hardcore punk and Internet porn, they simply have a greater capacity to comprehend this stuff.
“Look, I grew up listening to metal and punk,” said Gabe. “Black Flag and shit like that, and then of course the Sex Pistols. For me that was the fucking basics. And then I got into metal. I bought whatever the fucking heshers at school wore on their T-shirts — Iron Maiden and Ozzy and all that stupid shit. Finally came Crossed Out, who were just this hard shit — totally aggressive, like metal with totally punk ethics. It blew my fucking mind. I was just like, ‘Dude, I can finally have all of my favorite musics in one.’”
“You have to realize all this music exists on a continuum,” said Bobby.
Gabe jumped in. “You know, like Carcass would be the Led Zeppelin of death metal. And Deicide . . .”
“Deicide is the Beatles of death metal,” said Bobby. “Cannibal Corpse is the Rolling Stones. They’re the bad boys of death metal. Their lyrics are the worst, the most sexist . . .”
“That’s true,” said Gabe. “Every song is about some lady getting murdered. Or raped and murdered.”
“‘Entrails ripped from a virgin’s cunt,’” said Bobby, quoting a lyric. “It’s the most horrible thing you could think of.”
“Yeah, it’s the worst,” said Gabe, with a dark laugh. “It sucks. At the time I first heard them I was all like, ‘Dude, this band’s rad,’ and then I fuckin’ read the lyrics and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, this sucks.’ I love this music and I hate the words.”
Here are the lyrics to the Locust’s song “Skin Graft at Seventy-Five Miles Per Hour,” reprinted in their entirety:
Carpentry isn’t overrated
but the human trash that builds larger examples of non-human garbage
definitely run in the realm of expendability.
Suicide is not a vice, it’s a virtue and should be regarded as such
like lying and masturbation
“Hi, I’m from the San Diego area, and we’re looking for people interested in art and political action,” said a skinny girl onstage, moments before the Locust started their Tijuana sets. All four of the members were poised and in costume, but JP wanted to cede a moment to this speaker before they played. She was a member of San Diego’s S/he Collective. The TJ crowd was a very young admixture of political punks, hesher burnouts, grindcore disasters and the merely curious; uninterested in collective action, they began to drown her out.
“Great White! Great White!” screamed a blond guy in a Misfits T-shirt.
“Hey you! Yeah you, asshole longhair,” said JP, addressing the heckler. “You don’t have to yell while someone is saying something important. I was hoping we could be a progressive musical community here.” The blond heckler yelled another epithet. JP replied, “Actually, I think the consensus here is that you are the asshole.”
Then gravity kicked in, atoms and tiny diamonds. If nothing else, a concert by the Locust is a feat of athletic bravado unlike any other. JP played bass, and the sound he made was a spastic lurch, his hands dancing and beating up and down the neck as if he wasn’t articulating discrete notes but battering them out, like you’d use a crowbar to smash a face. He bent over the microphone, protectively, as if someone might steal it. When he backed off, he did a little flourish, as if he were cumming into his own hand.
The drums were like lines of dialogue, clearly delineated bursts five seconds long. When most drummers play, they look like they have some flex in their arms, for drum rolls and such. Theoretically, getting into the beat is a matter of give and feel, and the drums are in tune with the rhythms of a human heart. Apparently, Gabe doesn’t have time for that shit, muscling through each 16th note like he was laying down a punch. Halfway through the set — that is, after 10 minutes — he took off his top. His body was steaming, and he looked completely exhausted, like a burnt-out high school athlete after an hour of wind sprints. There was a carpet under his kit, and he kept lifting the mask up over his mouth to hock huge loogies onto it.
Joey’s keyboards and synths filled in space with sadism. I haven’t told you much about Joey, even though he was the first member I met back at Gurewitz’s place. Joey is gothic and intense, has a medium squeaky voice, and looks a bit like a young Robert De Niro. He’s friendly enough, but there is something of the lurker in him. When his synth began to grind out sounds — more often static than notes —Â I realized he was probably only with the band so he could conduct research on fresh ears.
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