By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
In both punk time and plain old rock time, nine years is a pretty good haul; that's about how long it took for the Beatles to rise and fall; ditto for the Clash. And nine years is how long Miami's Quit has been playing its tight, catchy, and endlessly energetic brand of punk rock. Well, they're playing it no more: Having decided to put their name into action, Quit -- guitarist/vocalist Addison Burns, drummer Andre Serafini, bassist Tony Rocha -- did just that late last month, bidding farewell on Christmas Day with an adios performance at Marsbar. But that club's 21-and-over policy kept many of Quit's youngish loyal-and-fanatical from taking part in the despedida, so in a very punk-rock move the band decided to play a second final show at Cheers, the South Miami club with a commendable all-ages policy.
I didn't make the Xmas blowout, but I did turn up at the band's last call this past Sunday. I'm glad I did, for it was an amazing show -- one of those uncommon occurrences when both band and audience are in perfect sync, feeding off the other's energy, pushing each other to a state of blissful, cathartic exhaustion. After opening sets by a couple of bands I missed and one I didn't (a terrific half-hour assault by the punky-metal Vacant Andys), Quit climbed on-stage with neither pretense nor a set list and spent the better part of two hours taking requests from an intense, raucous, and close-to-full house. The audience -- mostly kids, mostly guys -- knew damn near every word to every song, some of them grabbing the mikestand from Burns during "Did You See" and screaming the words to "Remember" like they'd written it themselves.
From stage presence to songs, Quit is a fairly modest bunch. There ain't a lot of posing going on: Rocha sways back and forward a bit, lurching to the microphone during the choruses while Serafini lays down a racing, freight-train rhythm -- simple, powerful, effective drumming that's low on flash and perfect because of that restraint. Burns hangs close to the mikestand, singing with eyes clenched tight, his hands a blur across the neck and body of his sunburst Stratocaster. His lyrics are straightforward variations on some of punk's set themes, especially romantic frustration ("Could Be Wrong," "Dedication"). There's one song about the looming specter of adulthood -- "Changes" -- that takes on even greater meaning in the face of Quit's breakup. "Everybody in the band is starting to have other obligations," Burns explained of the breakup, a few days before the Cheers show. "Nobody can put what we used to put into the band any more."
Based simply on their one album, I think it's safe to say that Quit is -- or was, whatever -- a fine band. Earlier Thoughts, Quit's self-released 1990 debut, recorded when lead guitarist Russell Mofsky was still a member, is a sharp, evocative snapshot of pop-laced punk from the pre-Nirvana era, framed by the roaring rhythm of Serafini and Rocha and built on Burns's winningly frail voice and aching, forthright songwriting. Reissued last June by the local Rojo label and remastered with finesse by Lounge Act's Mike Boudet, Earlier Thoughts retains much of its vitality because of Burns's vulnerability, frustration, and the whining timbre in his voice, which only underlines the pained sentiments in "Dedication," "Could Be Wrong," and "Searching."
At Cheers, though, there was something else at work beyond really good songs being played with more relish, gusto, and ability than they were seven years ago. It was something in the faces of Burns, Serafini, and Rocha as they tore through their nine years' worth of material, as they goofed around on covers such as the Police's "Next to You" and the Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" and fragments of "Master of Puppets" and "Sweet Home Alabama." They were smiling, confident, relaxed, banging out songs without a hint of self-consciousness, obviously having a hell of a good time, playing for the sheer fun of it.