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
“We were saying in the microphone what we wanted, and the [Spaceland] lady got really annoyed with us. She was like, ‘Those little fuckin’ pre-teen bitches.’ I’m sure she meant it in a really nice way. . .”
Their name means “storytelling in Japanese and a lot of other things in different languages,” explains Suarez, after playing an energetic set in a friend’s bedroom at an East L.A. house party. Like, “Vagina, Vagina in some South American language,” which they discovered on Google. Mostly, though, they “just like the words, a little poem,” says Thornhill, who, like her bandmates, is rather drunk.
“No one can ever say it correctly,” interjects Clavin. “They always go ‘Miko Miko’ or ‘Mika Mika.’”
“We don’t give a shit,” says Thornhill. “It’s cool if they wanna say Miko Miko.”
Wires on FireEvan Weiss doesn’t get even, he gets mad . . . and picks up his guitar.
Wires on Fire’s lead singer and guitarist, 19-year-old Evan Weiss, and its 18-year-old bass player, Michael Shuman, used to play Little League together. Also, the band’s other guitarist, Jeff Lynn, 19, and its 19-year-old drummer, Dash Hutton (son of founding Three Dog Night member Danny Hutton), all went to Campbell Hall High School together. But they became real friends and bandmates ’cause, as Weiss explains, “If you’re a kid playing in a kinda-punk band in the Valley [which they all were separately], you all play the same shitty shows and you know each other.”
Weiss, who describes himself during junior high and high school as “a snotty, bratty, punk fucker” went to Crossroads in Santa Monica with Z Berg from The Like. He also knew some of the guys from Say Anything and was at their first show in “like ninth or 10th grade.”
“I think people always looked at bands like [Say Anything, The Like] and Rooney as the cool bands,” says Weiss, crouching by a dumpster behind Wet and Dry recording studio in Eagle Rock.
“And we were these weird kids throwing shit around.”
That may be so, but it didn’t stop Mary Kate Olsen — Lynn, Shuman and Hutton’s billionaire schoolmate — from rocking out at one of their shows, and even sorta hitting on a dumbfounded Weiss, who regrets that he failed to take her up on it.
Weiss, who describes himself now as a “pessimistic, judgmental guy who can’t shut up,” writes most of his songs about events that happen around him, like the story he saw on the news a few years back about “a Palisades murder of two really rich girls.”
For him, that event was somehow indicative of the weirdness of his privileged surroundings.
“I mean, we live in L.A. and everyone has this dream of money and this and that. But people who have all these things are sometimes the most fucked-up people. I was pretty much disgusted by a lot of stuff I saw growing up. Especially going to private high school,” say Weiss, who now goes to Santa Monica College and had a job at a restaurant until it closed recently.
“I know if my grandmother read some of my lyrics, she might think, ‘Holy shit! Evan is really fucked up!’ But, I really just write about the world and what I see. In high school if I got mad, I never pictured myself going up to somebody and beating the shit out of them. I pictured myself going home and picking up my guitar and screaming.”
Weiss says his frenetic band has played close to 50 shows. And, thanks to their label, Buddyhead, they have opened for some pretty cool bands, like The Icarus Line, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Fall and The Dillinger Escape Plan.
Last summer they put up their own money to record a six-song EP here at Wet and Dry. The experience was profound for the band. Halfway through the process, Buddyhead had signed them to a deal, something that Manny, who runs the studio, predicted the first time he heard them. Buddyhead plans to record a full-length album with them later this year and also distribute the aforementioned self-produced EP.
While mixing that EP, Lynn, who had been doing “crystal meth and cocaine” since he was 13, announced to his bandmates he wanted to go to rehab. Now sober, the guitar player says it was his bandmates’ focus and respect for their musical performances that made him want to stop.
“These guys help me be sober like crazy,” says Lynn, who has had a string of “serious” relationships, including his first one, which, like his drug habit, started at age 13.