When writing a band profile, I prefer writing it in Q &A format. This proved impossible with Wilson St. Pub & Sluthouse Band. These four guys are quirky, funny and completely crass. Putting the interview down verbatim could have potentially caused the loss of more than a couple of readers. So, with only PG quotes, let the paraphrasing begin:
The name of the band, like the band itself, started as a joke and comes from the street Kravetz used to live on and the business he dreamed of owning. The Wilson Street Pub & Slut House didn't happen, but, in 2004 at Punk Rock Soccer--a no-rules game with plenty of bloodshed and broken bones--Kravetz met the three guys who would soon share the stage with him, he saw no reason the name wouldn't work just as well for a band as a bar. "We're the house band for a fictitious bar, and I don't even drink," said Kravetz.
Even though they started playing together on a lark, they've opened for some big names (the Dwarves, Sasquatch and the Sick-a-Billys) and play regular gigs at the Bouquet. As amusing as they'd like the whole "band" thing to be, it's not. The band is actually pretty good. While Kravetz's lyrics are based on B-horror flicks and the lives of serial murderers (he knows more about Ed Gein than any person really should), they're clever and always tell a story. In tandem with Kravetz's story-telling skills, Linane, the band's whipping boy and songwriter, fleshes out some pretty great sounds. Add Urquhart and Brigham's snappy 2/4 rhythm section and, whether they planned it this way or not, WSP&SB is a real band.
Down to a man, not one member of WSP&SB is in the band hoping to strike it rich or make it big. For them, getting up on stage is recreation and therapy. "Where else can you scream at people for an hour and not get in trouble for it?" muses Kravetz. It's a good thing, because even though they play often and are garnering quite a fan base, not all of their shows go off without a hitch. A while back, they played at show at Boise State when the band originally scheduled to play cancelled. Apparently, WSP&SB was not well received. Brigham said, "They didn't really want us there."
"It was good practice any way," Urquhart added, laughing.
"When we started into 'Last Caress,' all the ladies with their kids left. That was pretty much the end of the show, and that was only our third song. We still had 12 songs to do." By the end of their shortened set, they were playing an intimate concert for the sound guy (who only stuck around because he had to) a friend of Linane's, and a couple of Kravetz's family members. It's not terribly surprising when the subject matter of their songs includes plenty of references to raising the dead and, uh, "doing" the dead--subjects most people find reprehensible, but which WSP&SB finds funny. For them, that's what matters. They don't ever want to take themselves too seriously.
When I initially referred to their sound as cow-punk, I was quickly corrected. "I listen to a lot of cow-punk," Kravetz said, "and it's not the same. It's cleaner and faster."
I asked how they would describe their music, and, in unison, all four said, "Zombie-country," which they explained is punk rock with a strong country influence. They went on to explain how without the country sound, they'd probably be a pure horror-punk band in the same vein as the Misfits. Instead, they swing more toward Johnny Cash than Jerry Only, but sing songs about necrophilia and movies like Bloodsucking Freaks. Even they are surprised that people come out to listen to them.
"We're fairly offensive," Urquhart said matter-of-factly.
"Is it because that's what you're into?" I asked.
"It's because that's what he's [Kravetz] into and that's what he writes about," Brigham said. But, none of the other three seem to mind. In fact, they embrace the idea of performing songs with creepy lyrics. They even had band T-shirts made that have some of their more gruesome lyrics emblazoned on the front and back just under a graphic of a gore-covered, mostly dead female figure. With a couple of big shows coming up and a never-ending supply of zombie movie fodder available, WSP&SB shows no signs of stopping any time soon. They have songs on both 1332 Records' (their label) compilation CDs, an EP of their own in the works and are regular performers at the Bouquet for 1332 Records' Punk Mondays. If you haven't heard this band yet, get in touch with your dark side and get out to one of their shows. WSP&SB is fun, funny and fundamentally freaky.
Wilson St. Pub and Sluthouse Band plays Whiskey Jacques in Ketchum with Apostle and a Pistol on June 3 at 10 p.m. and again on June 12 at the Bouquet with US Bombs and the Altar Boys at 9 p.m. You can hear some of WSP&SB's music on myspace.com page at www.myspace.com/wilsonstpsb and at 1332records.com.