I took my girlfriend to see the Creepy Creeps at the Casbah. She had never seen these local legends, and they were playing with two other local bands I like — the mostly female Glossines and Batar-Zan, who, like the Creeps, wear costumes on stage.
Turned out it was the band that opened the show that blew them all away — Revenge Club.
Amy, the band’s vocalist, told me, “I started Revenge Club in 2004 after breaking up with a previous band. I posted an ad on craigslist and met with several musicians at the house…the night that the three of us were supposed to get together for the first time, I got a message from the bass player saying that he got a job offer and was moving to New York. So I drafted Sean [her future husband] — he was drinking a beer and watering the yard, and I was, like, ‘Hey, do you want to come play bass tonight?’ He thought it was temporary at first, but four years later, it’s safe to say that he’s the permanent bass player.
“We played one show at Java Joe’s Pub as a three-piece before meeting Doug through a Reader ad. He was up to speed and played shows with us a month later.
“When our last drummer moved to New Jersey, we got a referral from another band we played with — for Maggie. She was an instant match.”
Since Sean and Amy have been married for three years, I mention that Pat Benatar has been married to her lead guitarist since 1982…
CAN YOU GUYS MAKE A MARRIAGE AND BAND WORK?
Amy: “Definitely. Sean looks hot rocking out on stage.”
Sean: “I have to make this work. Amy’s already declared that if I ever leave her, she will kill me. I don’t want to test her resolve on this one either, since she’s the one that came up with the band name.”
FAVORITE MUSICAL COUPLES?
Amy: “Sid and Nancy.”
Sean: “Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Paul and Linda McCartney.”
Maggie: “Exene Cervenka and John Doe.”
SEX PISTOLS OR THE CLASH?
Amy: “Sex Pistols.”
Sean: “Sex Pistols.”
Maggie: “The Clash, although I wouldn’t consider them punk. The Sex Pistols just suck.”
WHEN GREEN DAY DOES A VIDEO OR IGGY POP HAS A SONG IN A COMMERCIAL, IS THAT “SELLING OUT”?
Amy: “ ‘Lust for Life’ over a cruise-line commercial is kind of disturbing, but I get it. I never liked Green Day enough to care.”
Sean: “Depends on who the commercial is for. A commercial for clean energy is pretty cool; a commercial for a fast-food chain is not.”
Maggie: “No way. Getting paid is not selling out. Someday I hope to get paid.”
Amy: “The gig I was most excited to play was opening for Donita Sparks at the Casbah in May. L7 has been my favorite band since I was 14.”
Sean: “The Underground in Lake Havasu City the first time we played there. There were about 50 teenage kids moshing around during the entire set. That really gets the adrenaline pumping.”
Maggie: “The first time Revenge Club played the Doll Hut in Anaheim…everybody in the bar was rocking out with us.”
Amy: “We jumped on a last-minute show at Brick by Brick, and none of our friends wanted to pay $10 to watch us play at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday. We hung out all night, and just after we loaded our gear on stage, the door guy told us that we didn’t have enough people, so they wouldn’t let us play.”
Sean: “We had a Friday night show at the Underground in Lake Havasu City, and for whatever reason our drummer wanted to drive back the same night. We drove six hours on the way out, played our set and watched the other bands, and packed all of our stuff up and drove back the same night.”
Maggie: “With my old band at the Rhythm Lounge, we played a Thursday night to literally one person.”
TOP FIVE ALBUMS OF ALL TIME?
1. Bricks Are Heavy, L7. “I got a copy of this CD from Goodwill when I was 16 and haven’t gone a month without listening to it since. It still has the $2.99 sticker on it. Donita Sparks has always been my idol, and I think this was their best album ever.”
2. Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, the Dead Kennedys. “This is just a great classic album with awesome tracks.”
3. Flamejob, the Cramps. “This was the first Cramps album I bought, and I fell in love with the song ‘Naked Girl Falling down the Stairs.’ RC is planning to cover that song in the near future.”
4. Pussy Whipped, Bikini Kill. “I love the angry riot-grrrl vocals. This album epitomizes the music I grew up listening to.”
5. Bone Machine, Tom Waits. “I love the bizarre and sometimes apocalyptic lyrics.”
1. Rain Dogs, Tom Waits. “Tom Waits can take you places you’d never want to go and leave you wanting to go back for more. Rain Dogs is the peak of the mountain of his incredible discography.”
2. Dead Air, Heatmiser. “The forerunner of the Portland music scene, with Elliott Smith at the helm. Full of raw energy, superb lyrics, and catchy hooks.”
3. Trace, Son Volt. “This album checks your heart out like a library book and never returns it.”
4. Icky Mettle, the Archers of Loaf. “Beautiful indie noise rock with two shots of pure adrenaline.”
5. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles. “What can I say about this that hasn’t already been said?”
1. Blue Album, Weezer. “This was one of my first CDs, so I associate it with a lot of coming-of-age memories.”
2. Los Angeles/Wild Gift, X. “L.A. punk was the best, and X has the most signature sound ever.”
3. Ill Communication, the Beastie Boys. “This album was in heavy rotation in my car when I was driving all my friends around in high school. A lot of antics went down to this album.”
4. All Ages, Bad Religion. “It has so many of my favorite Bad Religion songs on one album.”
5. Punk in Drublic, NOFX. “I grew up on this one, too, and it’s fun to sing along to.”
ARE THERE TRADITIONS AT PUNK SHOWS THAT MAKE BEING ON STAGE TOUGH?
Amy: “The last time we played the Double Down in Vegas last February was pretty interesting. We play out of town often — Nevada, Arizona, and Northern California mostly. We do it more for the exposure, even though the pay is better than San Diego sometimes. The Double Down is a rowdy punk bar and has a natural draw. People in Vegas have no concept of time. The bar still had a crowd at 3 a.m. We got there at 10 and found out that our set time was actually 2 a.m. Doug was trying to talk to the first door guy outside. He just stared at Doug without saying anything, then got up and puked in a Dumpster and took off running. We saw him later at the bar. Between the bands, Maggie and I were sitting close to the door and saw a guy punch someone by the stage, then he ran out the door. This triggered another fight right next to us, and another guy got punched — knocking into our seats. Every time we walked outside, we ran into the couple screaming at each other. It was still crowded by the time we played, and a punk wedding party had just come in. There was a good mixture of dresses and ripped T-shirts. There isn’t a stage at the Double Down, just a high-rise for the drums, and the band sets up in the corner around it. A girl from the wedding party was trashed and pulled several of her friends into a pit and even ‘floated’ for a second or two before being tossed around like a rag doll. Her friends tried to drag her out of the club — she hopped up on the drum riser to tell Maggie ‘bye’ in the middle of a song and gave me a hug as the song was ending. Kids were thrashing around all over the floor, so I kept having to pull my mike back. The last few songs were fast and got the crowd really excited, so I knew there wasn’t much chance of holding a mike in place to sing and playing guitar. I just hit the first few chords of the song and let go of the guitar to hold the mike and scream, which was good because people literally were slamming into the band.”
Sean: “I’d have to say it’s tough playing when people are slamming into you, but it’s so much fun. I’m really not complaining at all, except when a microphone gets knocked into your teeth.”
Maggie: “Only the tradition of ‘being too cool’ to dance. Of course, there was the time in Vegas when everyone thought it was a good idea to rock out on stage with us and touch our instruments while we were playing. That posed a bit of a challenge.”
WEIRDEST OUTFIT WORN ON STAGE?
Amy: “One of our previous drummers used to wear a Chewbacca mask. Sometimes we all wear orange knee-high socks. I’ve suggested that Doug start wearing leather pants, but he’s declined so far.”
BEST STORY OF GETTING REVENGE…
Amy: “After a fallout with my high school boyfriend, I got into his email account and changed the password so he couldn’t get back in. I sent an email from him to his contacts letting them know that he had a life-changing experience and was now gay. Apparently his mom was quite upset.”