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Springing from the May Riots, Pacific Pride is fueled by inside jokes, sly turns of phrase and deft hooks

Recalling the frayed pop sounds of New Zealand indie-rock bands of the '80s and the angular, contorted psychedelia of Pavement, Pacific Pride has always focused more on quality over quantity. Beginning in 2004 after the dissolution of the original lineup of the May Riots, Pacific Pride played few shows and went inactive for two years before getting back together to open for one of singer Paul Garcia's main musical heroes, David Kilgour of the Clean, when he played a rare small-club show in Denver.

Since then, the band has become a far more active unit, touring the West Coast this fall up to Garcia's home town of Seattle. The Pride's latest album, a self-titled endeavor, is filled with inside jokes, sly turns of phrase, and deft hooks that blur the line between garage rock, mod and lo-fi pop. We had a chance to sit down with Garcia and drummer James Barone to talk about some of the band's songwriting and their own role as sidemen on the 2008 Dressy Bessy tour.

Westword: What was the song "Wolfie (Let Him In)" about?

Paul Garcia: Those song titles I think we decided on the day before it went to print.

James Barone: Because it was called "Yep Yep." It was a reference to how the backup vocals sounded.

PG: It was basically onomatopoeia at first. That song title, though, is a line from a Jan Terri song. She makes kind of goofy, outsider, naive music. It's kind of cheesy, but when you listen to it more, there's some endearing qualities to it. It's hard to appreciate. It's from her Halloween song called "Get Down Goblin."

Both of you were touring members of Dressy Bessy. How did that come about, and how did it go?

PG: I'd been friends with John Hill and Tammy Ealom for a while. They wanted to incorporate a fifth member for the tour on guitar and keyboards. Then they saw us play, and they saw James. Craig was involved in some business and other things that would make it difficult for him to commit to a tour.

JB: The tour lasted three months, all together. It was September and October, a couple of days off, November, a couple of weeks off, December. It was all of the U.S. It was strange for me playing in a band so immediately and touring immediately. It felt like a sit-in kind of thing.

Did you get asked for autographs?

JB: Yeah, that did happen a lot. It was kind of weird.

PG: And there was that girl in D.C. who had a Dressy Bessy tattoo. There are some fans out there who are more than a little into it.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.

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