Friday, June 21, 2013

Time to meet Alias Punch.

The video below accompanies the most recent single by Orlando-based trio Alias Punch, a spacey surf/garage rock group that, quite refreshingly, not only has a sense of humor but highlights it. It would be all too easy to label the band a tribute to Man or Astro-man?, what with the pseudonyms and guitar freak-outs, but Alias Punch stand on their own as a group blending retro with current, geek irony with serious appreciation for its references, wacky kitsch with kitschy horror.

I had the opportunity to ask a few questions of guitarist Jasper Bleu, who informed me of the following prior to carrying out the interview:

  • Alias Punch will be touring the eastern half of the country in September and October.
  • They will be releasing a seven-track album this year.
  • Drummer Arkie Jay, heard on all previous releases, has been replaced by Eddie Graves. This is how Alias Punch announced his arrival:

Choir Croak Out Them Goodies: How did the members of Alias Punch meet?

Jasper Bleu: Dusty [Mondy] and I met in high school in Tavares, FL. Our first interest was film but we started writing songs acoustically together under the name The Bent Cigarettes. We discovered that playing music was more immediately gratifying than making films, so we decided to go with that. We later changed our name to Alias Punch and decided to "go electric" and got ourselves a drummer. As it turns out, Arkie [Jay, original drummer] went to the same high school as us as well. We met Eddie [Graves] in 2008 and he became our drummer in 2013.

CC: "Halloween '93" is, at more than thirteen minutes, your most ambitious single thus far. What made the band decide to go on an all-out jam this time around, and will the song be a stand-alone single or will it be part of your upcoming album? 

JB: We wrote "Halloween '93" years ago and it was supposed to end up on A New Shade of Blue but we didn't get around to recording it until 2012. It was originally written on acoustic guitar and bass and we just kinda combined a bunch of ideas we were having. We didn't set out to make a thirteen-minute song, that's just kinda how long our creativity lasted. It is a stand-alone song, but we have plans to release a 10" with "Halloween '93" on one side and "Snakeskin" on the other.

CC: Who made the "Halloween '93" video and how was the footage collected?

JB: The video was made by all three of us. We got the footage from old public domain movies and vintage TV commercials, as well as the occasional home video that people upload. is a hell of a place.

CC: Where were the band members on Halloween 1993? 

JB: I was a pirate, and Dusty wasn't allowed to celebrate because of his strict upbringing.

CC: Do you all currently have day jobs outside of the band?

JB: Yes, we have to. Dusty works as a bartender, I'm a pizza delivery driver, and Eddie works at Margaritaville! [!!!]

CC: Orlando isn't exactly known for slop rock. How would you generally describe the music scene there, to anyone who's never been, and what bands, aside from yours, should I look into?

JB: Orlando has a lot of different things going on, particularly in the Mills 50 district. There's usually two to three good shows going on every night. The scene has had its ups and downs over the years but right now I'd say it's on the upswing. Some good friends of ours are Tam Tam The Sandwich Man & The Magical Sugar CookiesJarl Q and His Twin Brothers 3, Yogurt Smoothness, Sterling Schroeder, The Woolybushmen, Thee Wilt Chamberlain, The Moon is a Disco Ball, Maximino, Zap Dragon and the Attack, Telethon, The Sexcapades, The Dark Sixties, Wet Nurse. I could go on and on but that's just a little taste for you.

CC: I got a kick out of "Snakeskin" -- how did the band get paired up with the movie of the same name?

JB: We had a friend that was helping some guys at Full Sail make a short film, and we were asked to make some music for it. We wrote the song in like an hour. The film is not very good. Dusty and I also make an appearance in the film. Dusty falls down at a party wearing a crown and I'm in the background with a camera filming my hand.

CC:Who is your favorite Golden Girl?

JB: I like Dorothy, Eddie likes Blanche, and Dusty likes Sophia.

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