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That's Fucked Up

Fucked Up

Canadian punkers come to Town Ballroom with San Diego’s Wavves

It’s hard to write about a band whose name you’ll get shit for printing. Perhaps that was Fucked Up’s intent during the band’s naming process, or perhaps the name comes from the large trail of destruction they leave after a performance.

Regardless, the Canadian punk outfit’s year in music has been nothing short of remarkable. After releasing David Comes to Life, an epic 18-track, four-act conceptual punk rock album (yes, you read that correctly: a punk rock concept album), Fucked Up found critical success amidst a decaying scene, breathing new life into the world of mosh pits, mohawks, and navel to nipple piercings.

The concept recounts the story of a demoralized factory worker (David) who falls in love with a girl (Veronica) from the light bulb factory in which they both work. Veronica is murdered, David is suspected, and the album peaks with the resolution and David’s rebirth—hence the album title. David reached number 83 on the Billboard top 200 albums upon its release, spawning an ensuing tour, which hits Town Ballroom this Sunday, October 2 with San Diego based lo-fi, hi-volume beach punks Wavves.

Fresh off the release of their accurately titled Life Sux EP, Wavves have innocuously stumbled upon as much success as their tour partners, achieving critical adoration with 2010’s King of the Beach and soundtracking America’s favorite pestilence, The Jersey Shore. Though you won’t see any of the members of Wavves sporting blow-outs, spray tans, or six-packs, they do share the same lust for life as the Guido-loving, fist-pumping Shore cast, which could be one explanation as to why MTV thought Wavves’ sun-soaked beach anthems would be a perfect fit for the show.

I had the chance to speak with Stephen Pope, bassist of the band and therapist to lead singer Nathan Williams, about the band’s stint on the Shore, his revival of Williams after an on-stage meltdown, and his previous work with the recently departed Jay Reatard, as well as what the future stores for Wavves.

In regard to their Jersey Shore accreditation, Pope finds the show “awesome, entertaining, awful, and terrible” all at once; a fine summation of many viewers’ thoughts and opinions. “It is contributing nothing to society,” Pope said when I asked him how it felt to hear Wavves’ music on such a grand scale, but he sounded humbled and proud of the fact that something he helped create is being broadcast to millions of viewers weekly—a feat that most musicians only dream of.

Pope’s previous work as a member of Jay Reatard’s band came to a sudden halt after Reatard, actual name Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr., died at the age of 29 of a cocaine and alcohol overdose in early 2010. Amidst this tragedy came a creative renaissance, however. With Lindsey, Stephen was a machine, instructed to play parts that were written for him. Pope’s experience with Nathan Williams and Wavves is much different. “With Wavves there’s a lot more freedom, I can be more creative and I get to write songs, which is pretty cool,” Pope said.

Pope and Williams first met at the 2009 Primevera Sound Festival in Barcelona after an ecstasy, valium, and alcohol cocktail induced Nathan to humiliate his band on stage and insult the Spanish crowd. Stephen, still performing with Jay Reatard at the time, was on the stage’s outskirts during William’s “meltdown” and simply asked the singer if he’d like to smoke a joint, as he walked off the stage. “After that whole debacle he was trying to put together a new band and he asked me if I wanted to be in it,” Pope said.

As far as Wavves future, after their current East Coast tour with Fucked Up, the band heads back West for some dates, as well as a few shows in Mexico, and possibly a stretch of shows in Europe in November. They head back into the studio in December to record a double disc album unofficially set for release in February 2012.

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