Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another Pink Spiders story

Here is my second Pink Spiders piece, which ran in the October issue of Mean Street Magazine (Los Angeles).

By George A. Paul

Matt Friction might be a Southerner, but when it comes to baseball, the sports fan’s loyalty is focused on L.A. These days, the singer/guitarist for Nashville rockers Pink Spiders has two reasons to be excited: rousing third album Sweat it Out is finally available and his favorite team made the playoffs.

“I’m a lifelong Dodgers fan; I have my Blackberry set to update me on scores,” admitted Friction. Two years ago, KROQ sponsored a Spiders gig at Dodger Stadium, where the group performed in center field after a game.

“We went and sang ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ on the dugout during the seventh inning stretch. It was awesome and crazy. I got to meet Tommy Lasorda…a pretty surreal moment.”

Formed in 2003, the Tennessee trio released an EP and full-length independently before signing with Geffen Records, which put out Teenage Graffiti in 2006. Produced by Ric Ocasek, the album featured an exuberant and sleek mix of party hearty power pop/rock. Tours with Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard and 30 Seconds to Mars ensued.

Recording the adventurous Sweat it Out last year with Brendan O’Brien (The Offspring, Springsteen) at the helm was more enjoyable. “I’d grown up with [his] Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots records.” Friction said O’Brien was so enthusiastic, they “knew right away this was the guy.”

Instead of putting up with a taskmaster like before, the musicians discovered “he was open to our suggestions. It was like a brain trust, getting in the trenches every day…[apparently] it was one of the more fun recordings he’d done, which is pretty meaningful coming from a guy who’s had all these huge records.”

Standouts include an over-the-top “Falling with Every Step,” with layered vocals and a blistering classic rock guitar solo a la Mercury & May. “There’s definitely a glam side apparent on the record. I was listening to a lot of T-Rex, Queen and David Bowie.” Insanely catchy single “Gimme Chemicals” revisits Love & Rockets territory and “touches upon the excesses of touring; the social lubricants to get you through, for better or worse. It’s not a pro-drug anthem by any means.”

This past spring, Pink Spiders got primo TV exposure via an appearance on hit Fox show “Hell’s Kitchen” and saw their MySpace hits increase. “When the opportunity came, of course we were down. It’s network television with 13 million people watching…we flew out there, had a good time and got well fed.”

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