It would be worth a trip down to the Summit just to see the Locust’s new uniforms. Seriously, when was the last time you saw a band play art/grind/noise dressed like cops from the future? Or giant insects? Or some sort of yellowish mummies?
Yes, the spectacle of the Locust’s stage show is a big draw, but it would be a mistake to judge frontman Justin Pearson’s oddball band solely by the obvious visuals. After all, there’s a lot more going on besides cosplay and a lot of noise — though, to be honest, that’s a lot of it.
Pearson himself is a piece of art personified. He has been a part of some of the weirdest, most uncompromising bands of the past quarter century of punk-rock (Dead Cross, Deaf Club, Swing Kids, Holy Molar, Head Wound City, Retox, Some Girls, Struggle), and he’s still open to new ideas — even something as absurd as using Groupon to sell tickets to the Locust’s Denver show.
Westword caught up with Pearson ahead of the Summit show. Here's what he had to say:
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Westword: I thought this was funny: Two people texted me screenshots of a Groupon for tickets to the Denver show. I can’t think of a weirder thing to get a Groupon for, can you? Is that something you’re aware of?
Justin Pearson: I’m certain there is weirder stuff to get from a Groupon. We can dive into those subjects if you’d like. But in relation to this initial question here, things that used to seem weird don't seem weird anymore. If you look at the world we live in, is it really that odd that Groupon has tickets for the Locust playing in Denver? At the same time, I’m into the odd promotion of people sending screenshots to you. I’m sure we can use that added promotion. If it translates into actual ticket sales, I have no idea. But let’s give whoever set that up or whatever online promotion or marketing firm an A for the attempt. Or maybe an F for a fail based on the start of this interview here.
Tell me about the new uniforms. Who made them, and what are their advantages/disadvantages compared to others?
Most of our uniforms have been made by Ben Warwas. Advantages would be our appearance in some sort or artistic realm and the absurdity that we embrace, which often leads to the promotion that we get from people complaining and criticizing us online. Disadvantages would be vision and practicality, which trickle down to our actual performance. It ultimately makes us have to be better performers.
I saw the photos you posted with Devo in their respective uniforms. How did that come about?
Perhaps it was just a matter of time. I personally feel like we are a weird stepchild of a band such as Devo, even without us knowing it until we later reflected on ourselves. Nonetheless, it was a great moment for us to officially be aligned, literally in a line for the photo, with legends such as them.
People are pretty excited about the tour. Why does it make sense to take the Locust out on tour now?
I’m not completely sure how to answer this. I don’t know what makes sense or what is considered sensible most of the time with most of the stuff I am part of. However, I think we are active again based on a series of situations and issues that led to us playing music. One can cite something like current politics, but I’m pretty sure that's not accurate. Politics are always totally fucked up. For us, it was just time.
Several people have asked me if you’re working on a new record. I tell them I have no idea. So can we expect a new record soon?
You can probably keep telling them that. We plan on working on new music which should eventually lead to a new album, but with that being said, we have never really worked like a “normal” band, following a schedule and so on. I think we will just do what we can, when we can, and when things pan out, we will notify everyone of our efforts. I’m not totally sure we need to hype people up on something that we fully are not able to calculate.
It’s always seemed odd to me that, even though heavy music has become more and more mainstream, there don’t seem to be too many bands trying to ape the Locust. Why do you think that is?
I’m not sure, but I’m grateful that the “aping” is kept to a minimum with the Locust.
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You are in a lot of bands, with no shortage of amazing co-conspirators. Yet you come back to this project every so often. What does playing in the Locust do for you that maybe other bands don’t?
Thanks so much! I really appreciate that. It’s not that I pause and come back to the Locust. That action is not something I orchestrate, and it's usually a path that is chosen by someone else involved in said project. In consideration to the other stuff I am currently doing, at times it depends on the amazing co-conspirators and what they are up to and able to do. I don’t by choice want to have a handful of part-time projects; I would rather have one or two full-time things going on. However, I do think that where I am at musically and artistically allows me to grow in ways that I don’t know I would if I wasn’t doing different stuff with different people.
The Locust plays with Disposal Notice and Its Just Bugs, at 8 p.m. Saturday, November 2, at Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake Street. Tickets are $14.75 to $29.50 and available at Eventbrite.