A tip o' the hat to the unapologetically antagonistic Mr. Velocity Hopkins (aka Pete Larson) on the ten-year anniversary of having the guts and good taste to release music people didn't know they wanted to hear until years after the fact. Larson cofounded the Bulb label with Jim Magas in Ann Arbor in 1993, and together they released the early works of Andrew W.K. (in the band Pterodactyls) and themselves (in Couch and Prehensile Monkeytailed Skink). Magas moved to Chicago, where he now runs Weekend Records & Soap, in 1995, but Larson continued on with releases from Quintron, Wolf Eyes, Japan's King Brothers, Mikey Wild, MC Trachiotomy, Mindflayer, Forcefield, and another of his own projects, Danse Asshole. One day back when he and Andrew W.K. still lived in Michigan--the latter's now in Florida--they reportedly discussed how hilarious it'd be to put out a record that had the word "party" in every song. We know what his friend did with the idea, but Larson chooses only to imply the party in 25 Suaves, the band he went on to form with his wife, Fumie Kawasaki (aka DJ Party Girl), whom he met on a visit to Japan in the late 90s. While scissor-kicking as well as any high school cheerleader, sometimes egging on audience members to join him or jump on his back, Larson plays Motorhead-style guitar loud enough to make a sober person blow chunks. (Yes, I saw this happen.) DJ Party Girl's drumming is just as brainlessly energetic, but she gets so worked up she frequently strays from the beat. After listening to their latest, 1938 (on Bulb, duh), I couldn't remember a single tune--but let's just say that even more than "Party Hard" it's all about the moment. Thursday, May 1, 8 PM, Prodigal Son Bar & Grill, 2626 N. Halsted; 773-248-3093.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Doug Coombe.