"I thought I was gonna have to get into a fight with a bear," says Spits' guitarist Sean Wood. He's been camping in the northern peninsula of Michigan, trying to get a little rest and relaxation in before the band kicks off its next set of tour dates — the second of which finds them at the Earl on Sept. 6. He's feeling a little brain-dead, but that's fair because, after all, he wasn't counting on bears. "They came in there and I was like, 'Back the fuck up, bears!'" he laughs and pauses for a beat or two. "I'm fucking with you. I'm just fucking with you."
Fans of the Spits' frenetic downstrokes-and-synths punk rock — a glorious racket laced with funny noises, violent imagery, and the occasional spoken-word skit — might expect this kind of goofiness from the band's singer/guitarist. Like the Ramones with a sillier sense of humor and a penchant for theatricality on stage (think: spinning police lights and regularly rotating costumes, for starters), this Seattle-by-way-of-Kalamazoo quartet cranks out consistently thrilling garage-punk, often grouping its songs under a self-titled album when it's time to release them into the wild. There have been five of these LPs called The Spits so far, the most recent released by In the Red late last year. All this without mentioning 7-inch singles, splits, tour-only rarity releases, and unique one-offs like Haunted Fang Castle, the album/children's book the band released through the Scion automotive brand in 2010. Dudes are kinda prolific.
Last time these three-chord mavens visited ATL, they — very nearly literally — tore the ceiling off the Music Room underneath Pizzeria Vesuvius. But more on that in a minute. Before regaling Creative Loafing with tales of the group's best and weirdest Atlanta shows, Wood told us about the first time he ever experienced the city, more than two decades ago. "I flew in with an uncle of mine to see Waylon Jennings in 1988," he remembers. "It was a great show. We had some barbecue, catfish, and a little bit of Waylon Jennings."
Drunken Unicorn (with Black Lips), 2004
"Isn't there a bar called the Drunken Unicorn? Yeah, we played there with Black Lips. I remember some guy was fucking dancing, and like an idiot, he was wearing sandals or flip-flops or something. He cut his foot wide open really bad and there was blood all over the floor and stage. He just keep partying. I was like, 'Wow.' [laughs]"
Headlining the first night of the inaugural Atlanta Mess Around, Nov. 14, 2008
"That was a lot of fun. The performance seemed pretty good; we got a good crowd response. A wild, crazy show, I don't know! A damn good show, hell yeah! Atlanta's always been good to us. We love it and it seems like it loves us. Good people. I have a couple cousins in Atlanta. I like to hang out with them, drink whiskey, and listen to Waylon Jennings."
The Earl/the Music Room, June 15, 2011
"The best was probably last year. There was a thunderstorm and the power was out at the Earl. The show was gonna be cancelled, but our man Gentleman Jesse was able to move it somewhere else. It was crazy. It was cool. People still made the show and found it. It was a lot of fun. People were hanging from the rafters. Shit was going crazy."
House party, indeterminate location and date
"We were all kind of wasted. We played a house party and I remember we had to quit because some dogs started fighting and we had to get the hell out of there. It wasn't Michael Vick shit. A couple people had their dogs there and they started fighting, and then the people started fighting. It turned into a riot, a big fistfight. I was like, 'Fuck this. I don't need it, don't want it.' I went out to our van, lit up a doob, turned on some Waylon Jennings and just chilled out."
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