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BORN LIARS

Submitted by RamonLP4 on May 1, 2008 – 2:01 amNo Comment
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Photography by Rosa Guerrero
(L to R: Shane, Bill, Jimmy, Scott)

A Friday night at Rudyard’s and the audience is being sucked into the vortex of chaos on stage that is Born Liars. Bodies are crushed at the front of the stage in an orgy of sweat and dancing. One woman is dancing and so engrossed in the music that she doesn’t realize she’s knocked my beer out of my hand and sent it crashing onto the floor where it is helplessly kicked around by the crowd until it’s finally trampled into tragic shards of glass and beer. Behind the microphone, guitarist Jimmy Sanchez taunts the audience as a barrage of feedback, notes, and noise surround him. Bassist Bill Fool, ass-crack exposed with his low cut jeans, eggs Jimmy on while some overzealous drunk pulls Guitarist Scott “Snot” McNeil’s microphone into the audience. All the while, drummer Shane Lauder just sits back and laughs at it all. “When we walked out after that set,” recalls Bill, “If I hadn’t had boots, I’d been cut up; there was broken glass everywhere! I’d never seen so many broken bottles! Hell, we had girls fighting! Lemme say that again - GIRLS FIGHTING!“

Houston audiences may have a reputation for being stoic but not at a Born Liars show. “I don’t want to hear [complaints] about Houston. That’s all those bands that don’t move [on stage]! ” vents Bill who clearly thinks a band has to incite its audience out of passivity, ”We’re not waiting for an audience to react; a band has to give the audience permission to move otherwise they’ll sit there.” Yet, the band doesn’t merely move on stage, as Bill explains it, they scoff in the face of failure with every performance. “Our songs aren’t played the same way twice. We’ll play three songs that’ll crumble but then the next three will work. This isn’t paint by number’s stuff. We’re the kid with the crayon [manically scribbling outside the lines]. It’s all feel. If a band feels it, the audience will recognize it.”

“There’s chemistry.” says Scott, “We’re all friends. We hang out together. We drink together – it’s an alchy band.”

“It sounds cliché but we don’t get on stage without drinks.” says Bill ”A few drinks and that’s when the vulgar put down jokes start flying.”

“And if we don’t have anything to talk about [on stage], we make fun of Shane.” laughs Scott. “Shane once said we need to be more PC and not make people uncomfortable.”

“So, of course,” Bill interjects “ at our next show, we get up and immediately it’s ‘Great to be back at this fag bar!’ We taunt the audience for being white and then take it out on Shane.” Then he says, almost acknowledging Shane’s concerns that this could all be misconstrued, “But it’s all a joke – there’s no hate.”

“Now word’s getting out and people hear rumors we’re a party band and people get expectations.” says Scott.

This sets Bill off on a tangent, “Shit, the hipsters get word of a good time! Fucks with beards! They’re 22 and think they are alcoholics with their clothes from American Apparel talking about their stupid record collections! They’re the 2K version of Preppies! Years ago they’d have been listening to Bananarama and drinking coronas!”

When I ask why Garage doesn’t seem to get much respect around certain circles, Jimmy objects “Garage is a chicken-shit way of not saying Rock and Roll! Garage? That’s all Rock and Roll - The Sonics, the Standells…. We’re really more so punk rock – Dictators, Johnny Thunders, Ramones…real American Punk Rock.”

“I’m not into music to be into art.” says Bill “This is all about late nights and shitty mornings. I’m in it to rock! We’re not trendy. This isn’t intellectual – it’s the opposite of intellectual. We don’t expect to make a dent in history…but then did Richard Hell or the Ramones? It all comes down to the songs. I’ve seen horseshit half-assed punk bands and they have no songs to save their lives. I love what Jimmy writes and if I didn’t, you’d know it. I’d be leaning by my by amp and after…I’d let Jimmy know!”

“Jimmy brings in bare bones songs and we’re given free reign.” says Scott, “Not once has he said ‘don’t do that.’”

“We add a lot.” says Bill, “We’re not Jimmy Fucking Sanchez’s backing band! We’re all individuals and what you hear on that new 7” is us.”

That new Born Liars 7” on Cutthroat Records was recorded in the practice space by Jimmy and Shane then mixed my Joe Omelchuck at RBI. “Cassidy put that out.” says Jimmy, ”No record release, no promotion and we’ve already sold really well – all word of mouth. Everything we’ve done has been word of mouth.”

Talk of the 7” leads to discussion of Low-Fi which the band abhors as an aesthetic. “It’s cool and hip to be Low-Fi,“ says Bill “but [the bands they are trying to emulate] weren’t trying to be low-fi. The New Bomb Turk’s first album is one of my favorites but then Billy Childish gets his hands on them and all the energy is lost.”

Before we finish our beers at Lola’s, I ask if Rock is irrelevant and Bill retorts, “Rock isn’t relevant because it’s not relevant to the major labels and so it’s dead to the public and I could give a shit. Relevant? Rock and Roll will always be relevant as long as there is booze and dive bars!”

Born Liars are recording their next album at Chris Ryan’s Dead City Sound. The CD will be released on Pat Todd’s Rank Outsider Records and the LP will be released on Cuthroat Records.

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