"We grew up with early '80s Southern Cal punk, but
we're also rock and roll. That's how we grew up, that's
what we feel."
Ocean Beach has this
little treasure chest of a bar called Pacific Shores (or
Pac Shores, to its devotees). It is, of course, dimly lit
and smoky. There is a sense of peril in Pac Shores, like
steam pouring out of a car radiator. Like something is
gonna blow. The jukebox, an old, singles-style model with
all the cool lounge and jazz standards, sits in the
corner by the pool table and restrooms. There is an
overwhelming sense of blue here. Both in color --
the oceanic paintings with their jovial starfish, sea
horses, and mermaids; and in mood -- the interactive
sadness that lingers between the fixtures and the people.
Here, and only here, would Furious IV agree to
be interviewed. We sat in stubby chairs at the large,
amoeba shaped, marble-like table. It was the perfect
setting to prop up the microcassette recorder, drink
beers and chat with the band. "Just my
Imagination" trickled out of the speakers as we
began, setting just the right mood.
Furious IV is IV guys. Ian Flannon Taylor who
sings, plays guitar, writes and is the spiritual leader
of the band. Though all the members contributed to the
interview, Ian was the one most eager to speak, and as
the booze flowed, so did his colorful and comical
harangues. He has peppy, bleached (I'm guessing) blond
hair and an I'm-not-an-angry-punker smirk.
Brian Kelsey Bunn, who looks, sounds and acts
like Dana Carvey, is Furious' guitarman. His responses
are clever. He likes to tell anecdotes to reinforce them.
Didier Alan Suarez, drummer, is the most
visually noticeable member of the band. He's got tongue
rings, a lower lip ring, and a set of reverse earrings
that go inside the earlobes and stretch them out.
He let me touch his ear. Felt like silly putty. Very
gross. Didier, despite all the metal and tattoos, has a
kind face, and an affable manner antithetic to his
Jamie "Angel" Garza, guitarist, is
the straight man of the group. Dean Martin to these three
"The last time we did an interview
here," says Jamie, "We got so drunk, everything
was 'off the record.'"
This will turn out to be a premonition.
"The guy couldn't make it home,"
Angel says. "He had to pull over [to] the side of
the freeway to catch a few Z's. We had to get him a
Didier comes back to the table bearing beers
and cocktails. I promise myself I will not meet the same
fate that befell this unfortunate, previous interviewer.
The speaker over our head reverberates.
Dean-o: "When the moon hits your eye like a big
pizza pie, that's amore..."
The big news for Furious IV is that their
album won Best Local Recording at the San Diego Music
"I was thoroughly impressed by the
turnout," begins Brian. "The enthusiasm was the
best I'd ever seen. But we'll never see these people
again. I know that they may have a different lifestyle
and stuff, but it seems like after the awards the support
is no longer there. It never really has been, except
The disc, What's Become of the Baby?,
is melodious Southern-Cal punk. And though the earmark
"melodious" may be the kiss of death to a punk
band, that's clearly not so here. Punk needn't suck,
either technically or in theory, to be punk. Just because
the "Oy" movement, the Pistols, and the
Kennedys, lacked sophisticated musical talent doesn't
mean they wouldn't have been true punk even if they had
been classically trained.
On the contrary, punk ideals have little to do
with the music, and more to do with tone of voice. Take
"Testosterone," an anthem against exactly the
type of person you'd expect to see at a punk show:
"You won't be ignored/With a tight fist you back up
that mouth/Alone and scared it keeps you in control/Hey
tough guy/Yeah you're the tough guy."
That's the heart of punk. Questioning the
status quo, even if the status quo is marching in circles
like gorillas, slamming into each other at the foot of
This anti-anti-establishment humor is
continued by the photo on the back cover, showing the IV
of them striking tough-guy rock poses.
"You have to have the token rock picture
on the back," says Ian.
"But if you really look at
it," adds Brian, "only two of us held the pose.
The other two are cracking up. It's supposed to be
humorous, the whole cover. Those are our moms on the
front. You open it up and there we are."
"We're trying to get the kids," says
Ian. "The kids got nothing better to do out there in
Poway." Indeed, the subtitle of What's Become?
reads: "Warm analog sound for the kids." Warm,
I take it, as in mother's milk, or the sanctity of the
womb and protective amniotic fluids. Very Oedipal.
"Trailers for sale or rent. Rooms to let,
50 cents. No phone, no pool, no pets. I ain't got no
cigarettes," sings the jukebox.
It's my turn to buy a round, I think, being
reminded by Roger Miller's song about hobos and poverty.
I dig deep, find some crumpled I's, a V, and a X dollar
bill and offer to buy shots. The IV of them want Southern
Comfort. The premonition of the hapless, drunken
interviewer is a fading nag in the back of my mind.
Shots, beers, and shooting the breeze come easy with
these guys. They are, much like the provocative mermaid
on the wall, wicked sirens. They beckon me with their
sweet song into the treacherous waters of booze and
"We are punk rock and roll,"
explains Ian, stubbornly, at my request for the band to
label themselves. "We grew up with early '80s
Southern Cal punk, but we're also rock and roll. That's
how we grew up, that's what we feel."
We're beginning to slur our words (a fact
which will not be known to me until I listen to the tape
the next day). Ian is now out of his seat, like a
restless boy at the dinner table. He's prancing around,
kissing on the waitress, quickly becoming less interested
in the interview.
Patsy Cline croons, "Crazy. I'm crazy for
feeling so lonely..."
Ian returns from a minor smooch session with
the waitress. "We did a soundtrack for a
snowboarding, BMX, skiing kind of video. A friend of mine
is a cinematographer and makes those movies. When he
needs tunes he calls us, and when we have a record we
call him. It usually works out."
"Oh yeah," he continues, excitedly,
"and we're doing some songs for the soundtrack of
this movie called Stewart. Mike Judge is going to
produce it. We, um," he says humbly, "we wrote
a song called Stewart. Hopefully they'll pick it
as the title track. We saw the script and the trailer.
It's about a XXIX year old guy who makes his living
pimping beer for high school kids. It's hilarious!"
he says with a Bill Murray-like grin.
The marine life on the wall is starting to
stir. The sea horse is wagging its tail, the starfish is
sending a message in semaphore, and the mermaid is
batting her eyelashes. I'm starting to have visions of
burritos and Z's. The boys are up and about now. We're
still talking about band stuff, though less now than we
are about chicks, booze, bands we hate, and more 'off the
I ask how the band formed and they answer
reluctantly, as if to say "Screw all this rhetoric.
Let's drink and shoot the shit!"
"Me and the old guitarist," Angel
says in monotone, "were looking to play in a band
and we ran into the old drummer. He knew Ian. We jammed
in my garage."
"I moved here with my old drummer,"
continues Ian with the same lack of luster. "He said
'I know this hippie and this ska guy that wanna be in a
band. I was like, 'No way.' Finally, we couldn't find
anyone so we went to their garage. But those guys got
pussy-whipped and got jobs. Then we found a guy who could
actually play guitar and... Didier!"
"I'm an outsider," Ian says of his
newness to the San Diego music scene. "I've been
here for III years. I came in trying to start a band,
going to all the shows, and watching this crowd that all
grew up together."
Elvis: "Don't be cruel, to heart that's
"It's very inbred," re-interrupts
"It's been hard for us. We didn't go to
high school and grow up with these guys. We're just now
We talk about the band's name, which Ian
doesn't seem to mind as much as the previous question.
"We messed around with some other names
[before] Furious IV," says Ian. "We came up
with Roman numerals to give it a twist and it's given us
nothing but a headache. We always hear, 'What's a furious
i-v?'" He pronounces each letter, as in intravenous.
"So our band mission is to teach the world Roman
numerals. There's the title of the article right there,
huh? 'To teach the world Roman numerals.'"
Eric Burdon: "We gotta get outta this
place. If it's the last thing we ever do."
This thing is breaking up. Ian has had his
fill and wants to leave. Brian too. I'm now intoxicated
and it's midnight.
Ian grabs the recorder: "I'd like to take
this opportunity to thank the ska movement for sucking
and giving us this chance to shine again. Also, I'd like
to thank all you angry little guitarists and jumping
little babies out there."
"Yeah," Angel jumps in with a
parting shot at, presumably, music cliques and marketing
departments. "And sorry we haven't been doing heroin
for VII years."
From there on in, everything is off the
Edwin Decker lives in Ocean
Beach and is currently publishing a book of poetry.