By Noah Hubbell
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Alex Distefano
By Darryl Smyers
By Jon Solomon
By Britt Chester
Say goodbye to the Hectics as you knew them. The group, a Westword profile subject ("Getting Pretty Hectic," April 25, 1996), called it quits shortly after a December 19 performance at the 15th Street Tavern and just before this very publication placed its debut full-length, Everything I Need (released by the 360 Twist! imprint), on our January 1 roster of 1997's twenty finest recordings by Colorado artists.
The reasons behind the schism that split this punky trio two and a half years after its birth are a bit unclear. The grapevine suggests that drummer Dan Tafoya (who could not be reached for comment) decided to ally himself with the straight-edge movement, which eschews drugging and drinking--and given that the three-piece once issued an EP called Come Booze Down With...the Hectics, you can guess how that might have gone over. As for guitarist Juli McClurg, she says that things fell apart when guitarist/vocalist Anika Zappe decided to move on--but she's dodgy when asked for specifics. "I'd rather say that Dan was a workaholic and couldn't show up to practice and I had fourteen dogs to attend to and Anika went to truck-driving school," she says.
Zappe, who has a long history in the Denver musical underground (she was once a member of Barbarella alongside future Spell bassist Chanin Floyd), is not much more forthcoming with details: "I kind of just decided that I wanted to try and go in a different direction." After a brief hesitation, she amends that: "Well, not really a different direction. I want to stick to punk rock. But I felt pretty satisfied with what we accomplished in the band, and I wanted to play with some other people. I liked the Hectics a lot, but I wanted to have a little more room to grow."
Neither woman has firm plans. McClurg implies that she intends to continue collaborating with Tafoya. "We're looking for a new guitar player right now," she says. "We're not in a hurry; we'll take our time. But we'd like to continue. Whether it's called the Hectics or something else is up in the air, and we don't even know if we'll have the same two-guitars-and-drums lineup that we did before. I'm just looking to do something that's fun again. It's not about knowing 'E' and 'A' and 'G'--it's about having fun and rocking out, man."
Likewise, Zappe is in no rush to get a new combo together; as she puts it, "I don't want to get into a rebound band." But, she goes on, "I'm talking to people and meeting people, and I'm looking forward to doing a lot of new things over the next six months." If there's any lingering bitterness over the Hectics' demise, she keeps it well disguised. "When we started the band, I thought it would be great to do a recording and do a tour, and that way I could experience what the whole thing was about. And that's what we did. I loved going on tour, and it was cool to see things on vinyl and to play the Treble Fest [a garage-rock celebration held at the Raven a couple of years back]. We got to play with a lot of my heroes, and I hope that doesn't end.
"I think Juli and Dan are really creative people. I'm not sure what they're wanting to do, but I think anything they do will be good. I'm excited to see what's on the horizon. Hopefully, what's going to come out of this is that instead of losing one good band, we'll be gaining three more."
Another victim of the breakup bug was Deuce Mob, a promising Denver rap outfit ("Join the Mob," February 14, 1996). Following a November 1996 appearance at the Denver Coliseum in support of the Westside Connection, an Ice Cube splinter group, the situation got nasty; according to the Mob's Big Pauli, aka Paul Lopez, things between him and his longtime cohort, DJ Fame, born Fabian Garcia, "almost got violent." Since then, Big Pauli has hooked up with a performer who goes by the name of Mr. V-Lo to form a crew, cleverly titled Big Pauli & Mr. V-Lo, that aims to pick up where Deuce Mob left off. In fact, the act is being subtitled The Deuce Mob Originalz because, Pauli says, "me and him truly are the originals. We're the ones who started Deuce Mob in the first place, and now we're going to keep it going with this project."
Nonetheless, Mr. V-Lo insists that the pairing's new sound is "much different" from Deuce Mob's, because "we're producing it ourselves. We just got all that funk that it was missing before."
"We put in all the ideas that we wanted to do before but that we didn't have a chance to," Pauli agrees. "This time we've got the funk, so it's 'clubable.' It'll put you on the dance floor, because it's got that flavor that people want.
"Before, Fabian wanted to run the whole show--we didn't have any say-so. So now it's all us, and it's five times better that it ever was. And we're really spicing it up for live shows. We've got Brother Victor--he's from Puerto Rico; he's a world-champion conga player--and DJ BASS-X and a couple of background singers, too."