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
The guitarist's role in No Age can't be understated. In an era when nostalgic guitar rock is ubiquitous, Randall's squalls float out of some psychic back alley, brutally noisy and beautiful. They're kin to My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth or Dinosaur Jr. but still fresh.
"Guitar was never about proficiency or virtuosity for me," Randall says.
Outside his window, a man climbs a six-story tree to slash off coconuts with a machete. "It was about getting comfortable smashing my fingers on the strings. I see it as an open format."
Even their personalities blend into an OutKast yin-yang duality. Spunt is quieter and often uses music as a way to answer ontological questions. He reconciled being a serious artist who plays rock & roll for a living by turning No Age into a constantly mutating experiment. Randall is more apt to be found reading sci-fi pulp or listening to Chuck Berry or The Delfonics. But the affability conceals the restless intellect of someone who excelled in neurolinguistics at USC. Neither plays to type. This is a source of strength.
The Aquemini-like synchronicity is visible on the new record. A loose creative manifesto is buried in lyrics like "chipping away ... always change ... always switching direction."
The three-year gap between albums was partly a result of this direction waiting to reveal itself. They originally traveled to Austin to record An Object but scrapped the songs because they were too similar to previous efforts.
Returning home, they regrouped in their practice space with longtime collaborator and sometime touring member Cundo Bermúdez. They recorded on tape almost immediately after writing. Spunt played bass for the time since Wives. The goal was to capture the urgency and lawlessness of their earliest records. No trends chased, and honesty above all. If a vocal was slightly off-key or a note seemed particularly jagged — fuck it. It's blood-simple, but the melodies stick.
"I was really interested in the idea of making something really fragile but also not afraid to fail," Spunt says, back at the coffee shop. "Sculptures and conceptual art are really interesting to dissect and have that translate into music. I like finding the miscalculations in my head that I imagine."
Art doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to feel right. And if a little ink doesn't occasionally stain your clothes, you probably aren't going hard enough.