They don’t really believe in God andor flying saucers, but the three dudes in Biblical Proof of UFOs recognize a good band name when they see it. Drummer Michael Peffer is initially guarded about the name‘s origin during a recent interview at the group’s shared apartment in a seedy, mind-your-own-business Hollywood neighborhood. ”It just is what it is. I don‘t know where it came from — nowhere.“ Then he relents. ”Basically, we saw it in a magazine some religious people were selling — ’send away for the proof‘ — so it kinda stuck.“
”A lot of times, what happens is people take it literally,“ says guitarist Joey D. ”People come up and want to talk UFOs with us. We’re not interested, we‘re not UFO buffs.“
”It means nothing,“ Peffer says.
”But at the same time it makes you think of many different things,“ says bassist Ray Piller, ”and question what you’re force-fed to believe . . . Tenacious D is really where all our powers come from.“
”I just want to be ambiguous,“ Joey D says. He‘s equally vague about any secret lyrical meanings behind new songs like ”PassiveAggressive.“ In the gently swaying intro, he teasingly croons, ”I know what you’re thinkingabout my smoking and drinking,“ like a defensivecelebratory mantra, until he‘s inundated with his own superfuzz guitar and pulled under by Piller’s agile, doom-mongering bass. ”‘PassiveAggressive’ could be about anything, and so could all the other songs. I prefer mystery in every aspect,“ Mr. D explains.
”We‘re not going to tell you her name,“ Peffer says.
”You can get anything you want now,“ Joey D says. ”There’s no mystery left. Led Zeppelin didn‘t document every waking moment like everybody does now. Ozzy Osbourne’s got a 24-hour-a-day TV show. We‘re not writing a book; we wouldn’t be on VH1 Behind the Music or anything. It‘s nobody’s business. We want to start the revolution, and nobody else does. Everybody wants to keep their job. ‘My job is safe, forget the revolution.’“
”Jobs seem to interfere . . .,“ says Piller.
Before relocating to Hollywood in 1999, the trio grew up in Lakewood, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, jamming since high school in various configurations, including an Allman Brothers tribute — Electric Wine — and local demigods the Duvalby Brothers. BPUFO began in December 1995 as a defiantly instrumental combo with Peffer, Piller and guitarist Ron Kretsch. ”We didn‘t want any singers,“ Piller says. ”Singers represented every fucking problem we’ve had in a band,“ says Joey D, who eventually replaced Kretsch.
So far, there‘s been little documentation of the band’s Cleveland years — the exhilarating ”Vishnu Were Here“ 7-inch (with hurricane-force instros ”Walkie Talkie“ and ”Liber Scivias“) on CambodiaFlexovit and ”Cigar“ (from the Emo Diaries, Volume 2 compilation) — but that‘s about to change with the new release of a self-titled full-length on English label Superfi. The tracks are heavy but not quite metal, with sudden floor-giving-way shifts, and daft titles like ”Axial Tilt Is the Reason for the Season,“ ”Jan Michael Vincent“ (”The song seemed as frenetic as his life . . . up and down,“ Peffer says) and ”C.S.G.T.T.V.“ (as in ”Chris Smith Goes to the Vatican,“ inspired by the Keelhaul guitarist who once visited the Vatican and was told to remove his hat, revealing the still-raw pentagram he’d had tattooed on his skull earlier that day). For freethinking heshers who don‘t always need the distracting narration of a singer, Biblical Proof of UFOs is a dramatic inventory of supremely tight and ponderously brutal riffage, although the all-instrumental CD, recorded in 1998-99, merely hints at the band’s more expansive current incarnation.
It wasn‘t until they headed west that Joey D got on the mic. ”I’d never sung a note until I moved here. Not out loud. Not even in the shower!“ The first song he wrote and sang, ”You Would if You Loved Me,“ with its call-and-response vocals pleading in the spaces between some awesomely apocalyptic power chords, has the kind of simple melody and lyrics that stay in your head for weeks. Longtime L.A. hard rockers Backbiter liked the tune so much that they surprised BPUFO with their own monstrous version at Spaceland last year. ”That was the greatest thing,“ Joey D says. ”Thank God they did it good! I hate to think that an awful band would butcher it.“
”In theory, we‘ve been a band’s band so far,“ Piller says. ”We don‘t mind! We’re here to entertain the real hard-working musicians who tour for eight months at a time. When they‘re home, off their tour, and they want to see a good band and not be let down . . . we might be there.“
Biblical Proof of UFOs perform at Spaceland, Monday, April 1.