By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Greg says without the costumes, it’s just “a lot more uncomfortable, a lot more raw.”
They both still live at home and were, until recently, rehearsing in the garage. “The walls are really thin and the houses are really close in the neighborhood we live in,” says Jeff, who wears Pumas and keeps his hair messy.
“At first it was okay and then neighbors on both sides moved out. New neighbors moved in and they’re not too excited about it, so we don’t play in the garage anymore and we don’t get to practice too much.”
Thanks to KXLU’s station manager seeing a show of theirs at the Smell, their three-song CD-R spent the month of February on the college radio station’s Top 20, though, for the most part, the brothers were oblivious since the station doesn’t come in clearly in their Long Beach neighborhood.
They will release another split audio-cassette with My Little Red Toe this summer. And Foot Village, an all-drum side project with Brian Miller and his girlfriend, Grace, which among other things has played in national parks, will do an “all outdoor guerilla tour” of the U.S. this August with the band Friends Forever (which plays exclusively out of its van), complete with lasers and fire.
The Mean RedsCrash course in punk: Singer Anthony Anzalone recalls legendary Darby
Anthony Anzalone has never seen footage of Germs legend Darby Crash performing live. Yet, writhing on the floor of Spaceland, wrapped in cellophane and tape and naked but for a pair of vintage gym shorts and black eyeliner, the 19-year-old Mean Reds lead singer recalls the ’80s punk icon. The normally aloof 30-something music fans packing the Silver Lake club smile and press against each other to get closer.
They sleep on the floor of a one-bedroom Silver Lake basement apartment near the 101 Freeway and named themselves after a line from the Audrey Hepburn classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
“I am a huge Audrey Hepburn fan,” explains Anzalone, who also says he cries when watching The Lizzie McGuire Movie and admits his romantic cinematic interests “help when talking to girls.”
Michael “Cali” DeWitt discovered the Mean Reds while the band was playing in a field in Tucson, Arizona. When DeWitt first told the members he would like to release a Mean Reds EP, Anazole, who wears a string of fake pearls and an “If Lost Return to Tiffany’s” necklace, didn’t call him back for a month.
The band finally agreed to sign to DeWitt’s True Love label, but the members explained that he couldn’t “have their souls that easily,” says Anzalone. “There would be two very important clauses — individual yearlong passes to Disneyland for inspiration, and a dinner at the Sizzler,” complete with access to the chain’s ice-cream sundae bar, so they could “build sundaes endlessly.”
It’s hard to dislike the satirical and theatrical Mean Reds, but people do. Which might be exactly what they hope for. Their homoerotic escapades on stage — grinding each other and licking each other’s testicles — have left some of the female members of bands such as The Like and Mika Miko, both of whom they have played with, rolling their eyes and thinking them pretentious.
Anzalone, who has a girlfriend in Tucson, but who, like all of his bandmates, admits to getting drunk and making out with a boy at least once, says his band has been accused of being a “a gay parade.” And, he adds, “back in Tucson, there are rumors that I sleep with little girls and do lines of coke off giant cocks.”
Kyle Gutierrez, the 18-year-old bass player, who wears a 99-cent store Cat in the Hat watch and who broke up with his girlfriend last spring, is the only Mean Red who confesses to ever making out with a boy “on purpose.”
None of the Mean Reds have jobs, and they live off the $1,500 each their supportive families had once intended for college. They do have an eight-song EP and another on the way. They have toured the West Coast once and will do so again before they record their first full-length album this summer.
Nick Letson, the band’s 19-year-old keyboardist, says his parents have yet to meet DeWitt, who also manages the Beauty Bar in Hollywood three nights a week to make ends meet and who was once Francis Bean Cobain’s nanny. The only picture Letson’s parents have seen of DeWitt, besides those on Nirvana Web sites, was the one in which he was pouring wine cooler down their son’s throat.