The members of good-times punk band SPELLS will happily share their opinions on any number of things. Mythical creatures, for example: "I think Bigfoot is just John Lithgow in a costume," says Peter "P" Bohner. "That's where he vacations. Some people go to Vail or Aspen..."A band that isn't short on either humor or serious material, SPELLS is releasing both a new seven-inch and a new cassette this Saturday at the hi-dive. And if you go to the release show and pay eight dollars instead of the standard six-dollar cover, you'll get a copy of each.
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The seven-inch features a pair of color images on each side to match its songs. "At Sea" b/w "Landlocked" represents the garage and punk-rock sides of the band's songwriting. The image on the "At Sea" side of the record features a shot of the Pacific Ocean from an Asian coastline. "Landlocked" features a photo from Great Sand Dunes National Park, where Bohner recently went looking for another potentially mythical being: There's a UFO viewing platform just past the entrance to the park. "On the side of the road, a woman built the platform," he says. "Technically, everything I see in the sky -- unless I'm positive it's a plane -- is a UFO because I cannot identify it. I hung out with Judy -- that's the lady that runs [the platform]. She's pretty normal except that she sees UFOs, and she says she sees them all the time."
While the seven-inch was inspired in part by geography, the cassette is a little more autobiographical. "It's a bookend to a trip we went on," says Bohner bandmate "Continental" Stimsell. "We wrote this song 'Jet Set,' talking about how we don't want to tour in a van because we're too old, and we just want to go to places that would be fun to hang out at. And that's what we were going to do.
"We did a trip with the Knew. They were going on a regular tour, and we just flew into San Diego and played Tijuana and L.A. and bummed all their stuff, because they're super-nice. 'Jet Set' was the song about looking forward to that. The show that we had in Mexico was so fun, and 'A Huevo' is the end of the trip and that experience."
"The way they use 'a huevo' in Tijuana and Mexico is...with eggs, with balls," says Bohner.
"We showed up; the local bands were there early and made sure we got settled in okay," recalls Stimsell. "The people at the club made us food and really played host and took care of us, like a DIY touring environment that maybe you don't see as much when you play the bar circuit as you get older. It was a nice throwback to the memories of how touring used to be and obviously still can be."
"I like to think SPELLS is only half the show," says Bohner. "The other half is the audience, because we really feed off the audience. Mexico was the epitome of that. We started playing, and here are these kids that didn't know who we were and they didn't know any of our songs, but damn it if they didn't clap at the parts where you're supposed to clap during the breakdowns, and they chanted along, and it felt good. There were no people with arms crossed."
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