Austin’s week long music festival, South by Southwest, is officially over, but the effects of the all day and night partying is still ringing in the ears of Austin residents. Blast took the chance to talk with a local band, or should we say bands, that played not one, but two shows. Singer Jon Chapman, bassist Drew Williams, drummer Greg McDonald and guitarists Bobby Nall and Kiki Powell form the punk band Contact High Five and the punk ABBA cover band StABBA. The Contact High Five played an unofficial show at Dog and Duck Pub with the Meat Puppets and StABBA played an official South by Southwest show at Emos for the second year in a row.
StABBA has made quite the impression on the Austin music scene, named sixth best cover band by The Austin Chronicle; their shows are a spectacle not to be missed. Jon Chapman, the epic, imposing, cuddle- bear of a front man, usually takes to wearing a full-body furry bunny suit while performing. The jury is still out on whether or not this behavior classifies him as a "furry." This year his fondness towards ball-sweat inducing costume-wear turned to the tiger variety, not to mention his other stage ensemble which includes a large set of foam boobs, a crowd favorite. The other members of the band don’t let all the fun go to Jon as they dress up in all sorts of tom-foolery, from fancy ladies silk shirts to prom dresses, and even shaving elaborate designs into the shag carpet that drummer Greg calls his chest hair. Their sound is loud — very loud — and fast. Get a few hardcore guys drunk at a StABBA show and watch in amazement as they scream all the words to every ABBA song.
If you like punk songs about pink socks — if you do not know what they are DO NOT Google it — and getting man-juice on you, then The Contact High Five is for you. Formed in 2008 the band makes rounds at Austin venues like Red7 and Beerland regularly. Their 7 inch is out now and a tour is in the works for this summer. Both bands have a MySpace that deserves a look and a listen. All members are long time Austin residents, so SXSW is old hat. Blast takes a look at how SXSW is from the artists’ point of view.
BLAST: How was the show you played?
BOBBY NALL: Both Jon and I had basically completely lost our voices by Thursday — earlier in the SXSW week than usual. But Jon’s tiger suit was enough to win over the 4-year-old little girl in the crowd. And they’re our target market, really.
GREG MCDONALD: Bobby is right about our target market being 4-year olds, but it’s for a reason — I think they are the only people that really get Jon.
KIKI POWELL: Both shows were played with frayed nerves for me. However, that’s probably a better state of mind to play in rather than blindingly drunk. The first set was during an unofficial lunch break that required me ditching my work uniform, playing the set and running back to work immediately after our set. The second set that closed out SXSW saw me without sleep and shaking. Total destruction…
JON CHAPMAN: I feel the tiger suit is a tool to lure people into a false sense of what’s about to happen. It’s great for lady’s night!
BLAST: Do the huge crowds at SXSW suck?
DREW WILLIAMS: For some reason, everyone actually seemed to like us.
BN: Well, if you avoid total douche shows like Yacht or something, it’s fine. Douche band equals even douchier crowd.
GM: I kinda like the crowds, they do stupid shit and I get to laugh. SX for me is like a comedy festival filled with morons!
KP: They’re not so bad. Besides, the fashion comedy makes the influx of the oh-so-cool almost tolerable.
JC: I couldn’t agree more with Bobby. It’s all about playing in places where it’s the lowest common denominator of crowds.
BLAST: What is your guys’ favorite part about SXSW?
DW: Getting pants shitting drunk for five days straight.
BN: Hanging out with Lemmy (Motorhead) for an hour in his hotel room, watching car chases and listening to his new solo album. Really!
JC: Fuck you, Bobby.
GM: Getting to see bands that I wouldn’t normally get to see like Man or Astroman, and all the free beer.
KP: The absolute best part of SXSW is when it is over. I think SXSW will be partially responsible for a shortened life expectancy…
BLAST: What’s your least favorite part of SXSW?
DW: Everything else.
BN: Missing all the Andrew WK parties.
JC: Watching all of Andrew WK’s parties.
GM: Having to take a crap in a port-a-pottie. Bratwurst and beer equals stomach rumbling that waits for no man!
KP: I always work during the festivities. Oh, and the obnoxious sense of entitlement the quasi hangers-on of the cool and artistic world seem to have bullshitted themselves into projecting onto the rest of us.
BLAST: Who are the worst kinds of people that come to SXSW? New Yorkers, right?
DW: Skinny jean-wearing assholes from LA.
BN: What Drew said.
JC: Please see above.
KP: I also have to strike out against the burn-outs in their 40, 50 and 60s that seem to have a story for how much cooler things used to be.
BLAST: What others bands did you see during the festival?
DW: DJ Jazzy Jeff.
BN: More than I can rattle off, but highlights: Voivod, Howl, Hollerado (amazing Canadians), Sistema Solar (ridiculous Colombians), Jenny Owen Youngs, and Fighting With Wire (like Husker Du from Ireland).
GM: Gwar, 7seconds, Motorhead, Fucked up (Canadian punk, with a big fat guy hanging from the rafters), tons of Japanese bands etc…
JC: GWAR, Mariachi El Bronx, The Bronx and a bunch of shitty bands at Rachael Ray’s party for her husband.
KP: The best thing I saw was that band that had that guy that did that thing with that drummer with all those distortion pedals.
BLAST: Who was the best band at SXSW?
DW: Probably StABBA. Those guys were terrific.
BN: Honestly, probably that Hollerado show. That was a fucking party!
GM: Getting to see Japanese bands and how awesomely weird they are is pretty cool. One Guy played all his songs on hand held gaming consoles.
JC: I don’t think I saw one of those.
KP: Zlam Dunk, local kids that will get big.
BLAST: What’s something you’d do differently if you put on SXSW?
BN: Free handjobs for ABBA cover bands.
JC: Can I agree with Bobby?
GM: I’m with Bobby. It really helps you relax and focus.
KP: Special badges for “Locals Only.”
BLAST: What’s one thing people should know about your band?
DW: We’re fucking great. Hopefully we (Contact High Five) will have a full length out by the end of the year as a companion for the 7 inch that no one bought.
BN: We are so handsome, that people don’t believe we’re an actual band. They think Calvin Klein put us together, like that guy that started Menudo and New Kids and N*Sync and then touched their wieners.
GM: Yeah, Again I’m with Bobby on this one. We had a weiner toucher as well, or a fluffer, if you will.
KP: Some of us don’t care whether we live or die. Try to guess which ones!
JC: I’M JON CHAPMAN! I’M LOUD AND YELL A LOT! GIVE ME A BEER! AND A JAGERBOMB!
BLAST: Drew, were you lying when you said Gay Place, a section The Austin Chronicle, recommended you? If not, who has the most homoerotic air of the group?
DW: Gay guys love ABBA. Maybe not as much as Lady Gaga, but who wouldn’t wanna see punk rock versions of ABBA songs performed by sexual beasts such as ourselves, right?
BN: He wasn’t lying, and to answer your question — probably Kiki.
GM: Yeah, definitely Kiki.
JC: Yeah, Kiki always ducks out when we play the biscuit game.
KP: They’re only writing that because I got a lot of man milk in me and I’ve got to get it out somehow.
BLAST: Who is the most likely to fuck up during a show?
GM: Everyone else.
KP: Greg, you’re fired.
BLAST: Jon, what would be the worst thing to happen during one of your epic performances: a strap holding your massive fake tatas up breaks, the bar runs out of Jagermeister or your mic explodes (safely)?
JC: I would say last year’s performance, when my make shift T-shirt underwear fell off during the show and a girl grabbed my sweaty balls. WAIT!! WORST?! Oh. Um. I don’t think anything could stop the Juggernaut that is I.
BLAST: So, why should the people reading this listen to you guys?
DW: We are the best band in Austin. Period. Haha.
BN: Because your readers will love us. Most of your readers are deaf or masochistic, right?
GM: Seriously, we kick ass!!!
JC: MY NAME’S JON CHAPMAN AND I’M LOUD!
KP: Because it will be there in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.