Random acts

Of note

Local bar-rockers 99 YEARS have recently finished recording their new six-song EP. Fans of the group can expect the album to be released later this summer. For more information visit www.99years.net.

Regional funk-rock favorites Gran Torino recently signed a deal with The Redeye Label to release their new album. Although some details about the project are sketchy at present, the Knoxville-based group fully expects for the CD to see release this September. For more information visit www.grantorino.com.

Local vocals

How I got greasy with the Sexpatriates (Random Acts goes gonzo)

The room stinks of sweat and cocoa-butter tanning solution. In one corner, an ancient TV plays a low-res VHS tape of cheap Asian pornography. Across the room, a petite young woman takes turns making out with each member of the band. Standing in front of me, pontificating in his singularly abrasive manner, is the Sexpatriates‘ singer, “Dirty” Joey Martini. His outfit consists of sunglasses, tanning oil and bikini briefs. He is telling me his theories on love, music and sex — mostly sex, actually.

Somewhere towards the end of his tirade, I start to laugh. I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep in nearly a week, and combined with the B-movie setting of the band’s home and the ever present flashing of the photographer’s bulb … it’s just too much. I’ve had it. I’m totally jiggered.

Perhaps sensing this, the band and their lone groupie swarm me. I am defenseless against the assault. They cover me with their bodies, their groping hands going places I’d rather they not. My notebook of interview questions is sandwiched between the bare chest of the bassist and the skin-tight tank-top of their female associate. Dirty Martini blocks any possible escape I could have had. Worse yet, he is still talking. My only thought is one of dread. I hate the smell of cocoa butter, and I am now certain that I’ll never get it out of my clothes.

By this point in the evening, I’ve largely given up on getting anything even remotely meaningful or insightful out of the interview session. Actual conversation with the band has become practically impossible, and nothing they say seems to make sense. I ask about their music. They answer, one on top of another, with a barrage of sexually themed non-sequiturs and meaningless catch phrases of their own invention.

I inquire about their history, about the creative forces that pulled them together to form as a band. They consider this for a moment, offer to get me a woman, and then begin talking about the merits of booze and drugs. I ask them about their future plans. They ponder the words for a few seconds, and then start watching the hard-core adult action on the TV again.

After a reflective five-second pause, Martini looks straight at me through the reflective surface of his sunglasses and asks, “Exactly what would it take to get a real nice cover article of me and the boys?”

“It doesn’t work that way,” I reply. “Offer me whatever you want, but I really can’t make anything happen. I’m just a freelancer.”

“Don’t give me that,” he says. “C’mon, what do you want?” He begins rattling off a list of socially taboo materials and bizarre copulative acts. “Believe me,” he says, “I can get it for you.”

I don’t believe him for a second.

The tragedy here is that after nearly an hour of this verbal assault, I still don’t have much to write about. For instance, I’d like to expound on their music, but I can’t. I simply don’t know enough about them to call them anything other than a “rock” band. It’s not really my fault, though. They’ve never recorded anything, and to my knowledge, they’ve only played one show: a three-song segment during Fisher’s Songs For America, held at Vincent’s Ear last May.

Granted, many people I’ve talked with since felt that The Sexpatriates stole the show, but most of those folks were drunk at the time of the performance, so their input isn’t what I’d call super-reliable. The band talks constantly about their hordes of devoted fans, but talk is cheap, and talk about rock music is doubly so.

The fact that these guys are acting like rock gods with exactly one live performance under their belts makes me just a bit wary of giving anything they say much credence. In fact, I’m starting to get a little bit raw around the brain from their constant meaningless chatter.

You’d think that from almost a solid year of doing interviews, dealing with all manner of disproportionate egos, I’d have built up quite a tolerance for outright megalomania and off-the-cuff hyperbole. But apparently, my patience is finite. After another attempt at getting one salvageable quote from the group, I give up. I’ve simply had it. I’m at the end of my tether.

“OK … just one last [expletive deleted] question. Where the [expletive deleted] are your [expletive deleted] pants?” That’s me talking. Or rather, yelling. As you’ve probably gathered, I’m just on the DefCon 4 side of touchy at this point.

“They’re at the laundry,” says Martini. “They’re all dirty, and I wear dry-clean only.”

I sink back into the faux-black velvet cushions of the group’s overstuffed couch, defeated.

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