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
WHAT: Bubblegum rock & roll for grrrl-power girls and dirty old men
WHAT WOULD GEM DO? Though the name was inspired by the colorful ’80s cartoon and doll line Gem and the Holograms, these ’Grams’ naughty numbers, like “Scene Whore” and “Drunk Dial,” aren’t exactly Saturday-morning cereal fare.
“THE ASIAN MENUDO”: Founding member Samantha Franklin says that’s what pals called the Holograms at one point after numerous changes in the lineup, which over the band’s seven-year history has included everything from “shredder metal chicks” to “crazy party girls” to numerous Asian cuties. “This one is it,” says Franklin, the last original member. “It’s like we all have the same brain now.”
BEAUTY & THE BEAT: What sounds inspire the collective brain of these Hello Kitty–lovin’ babes? “Everything from sleazy scum-punk to cheesy pop,” says Franklin. “We’re into ’77 pop-punk bands and ’60s girl groups right now.” This sweet-and-sour mixture is all over their Teenacide Records release Night of 1000 Ex-Boyfriends, which is chock-full of groovy harmonies, crunchy guitars and übercatchy choruses.
SUGAR & SPICE: Despite lyrics like “We’ll do your drugs and your boyfriend” (“Weekend Bender”), Franklin says, “We’re really good girls. Our parents come to every show . . . except our keyboardist’s — she’s not allowed to be in a band.”
PLAYING DRESS-UP: Expect colorful getups like panda suits, cheerleader garb and freaky fashionista-inspired looks; the Holograms once even did a gaudy gilded ’80s Versace thing. They also like to build a pep-squad-like pyramid known as the Triangle of Terror, first popularized by the Scorpions.
FOWL, NO HARM: Thanks to an introduction by Teenacide Records’ Jim Freek, Runaways Svengali Kim Fowley is, not surprisingly, a huge fan; he’s playing up the Holograms on his Sirius radio show, and personally gave a copy of their first CD to fellow Sirius jock Little Steven. The Underground Garage host then took the band under his wing (they call Steven “Papa”), inviting them to play his Bikini Beach Party a Go-Go in Florida with the likes of the Romantics and the Supersuckers last month. The Holograms are currently in signing talks with both OutKast producer David Sheats’ Camp David and Little Steven’s Wicked Cool labels.
THE EX-FACTOR: In the meantime, the band are working on new material. They may not be the scene whores they impersonate on record, but they’re not that innocent either. Franklin says the new stuff will cover topics ranging from premature ejaculation to stalking, and she warns, “Any guy who’s dated anybody in my band better watch his back!”