Egg Gets the Yolk
Among all of nature's marvels, perhaps the egg best symbolizes the paradox of reality. Within a plain, inert, unassuming white shell lies the very stuff of life -- dormant, waiting to break free and have (ahem) a crack at the world.
True to its name, the Hialeah-based band Egg is a study in contrasts as well. What appears on the surface to be fairly mindless, crude, and, let's not mince words here, stupid, is . . . . Come to think of it, there's not much more to Egg than that, something of which the three members of Egg are quite proud. "We aspire to be the Dumb and Dumber of the scene," 28-year-old guitarist Kevin Sacks offers half-jokingly, as he sits in the Hollywood warehouse he and his band mates use as a rehearsal space. "We're very simple," agrees John Alvarez, age 25, who plays bass and splits lead vocal duties with Sacks. "We talk about the basic stupidities of life."
As becomes her no-nonsense demeanor on-stage, drummer Kim Sanchez, 21 years old, remains silent while Sacks and Alvarez ponder the relative merits of stupidity as a marketing strategy. Sacks finally comes up with an observation: "I look at it, like, who wants to go to a concert or a club or anything just to hear someone else sing about how depressed they are?"
Indeed, if the history of rock and roll can be described as a pendulum that swings between the simple urge to have fun and the urgent need to change the world -- not that those endeavors are mutually exclusive -- Egg is an extreme example of the former pole. As such the band is a perfect counterweight to the no-fun, take-me-seriously ethos that occasionally sweeps through rock and roll. Its music is loud, fast, kind of punkish, and, much of the time, sloppy, defined by Sacks's pedal-enhanced power chording, Sanchez's crack garage-band drumming, and Alvarez's Everyman approach to the bass. Imagine the Ramones with slightly less wit and a few more chords per song. On this side of the rock-and-roll continuum, you either like it or you don't.
The approach seems to be working. In just eight months of playing sporadically around town, Egg has amassed a respectable following of fans (affectionately dubbed Eggsters by the band members). "I think what attracts our fans and a lot of people who see us up on-stage is, we're them, you know?" theorizes Alvarez. "I mean, we're not up there to say, 'We're Egg and you're shit.' We're with them. I mean, we go up there, we play, and if we fuck up, it won't be the first time that you'll see Egg stop a song and say, 'You know what? This one just ain't going to work tonight.' And we'll stop a song, and I think the fans, the crowd, will say, 'Damn! They're just like us, you know? They're normal human beings.' We're not out there to superimpose who we are."
All this talk of dumbness is not to suggest that the individual members of Egg are incapable of, say, performing brain surgery, or that they don't work hard at what they do. Quite the contrary. "A lot of our fans every now and then will come to our [rehearsal space] and just be astonished at the fact we do write songs," explains Alvarez. "We don't have time to sit there and drink beers and party and have a good time. I think that astonishes them. They don't believe that we actually write these songs."
Here Alvarez is referring to songs such as "One Cheek Sneak," a tuneful little ditty about the common dilemma one sometimes faces on a date when, hmmm, better to let Alvarez describe it: "You've never been out on a hot date, and you kind of lift one cheek and just kind of let it out so it doesn't make any sound?" he asks. As Alvarez pontificates on the meaning of "One Cheek Sneak," Sacks supplies a whoosh sound effect to make sure the meaning is clear. The song has become an audience favorite, even spawning a new dance among the Eggsters during a recent show. "It was just, pick up one cheek and dance around," notes Alvarez.
What else is in the Egg repertoire? Well, there's "Dick," a song about the ultimate source of strife in male-female relationships. (No, it's not what you might be thinking. Actually, Alvarez repeatedly calls himself a male sexual organ during the verses; for the refrain, Sacks chimes in with the chorus, "You're a dick." It goes on like that for a couple of minutes.) Then there's "Dingo," based on a well-publicized case in Australia a few years ago in which a woman was accused of murdering her child; she claimed a dingo (an Australian wild dog) had carried the child away. "Brain Freeze," which describes the painful sensation of sipping a Slurpee too fast, is also based on a real-life situation. Recalls Alvarez, "Kevin walked into the warehouse screaming at the top of his lungs, 'I have lyrics! I have lyrics!'" he says. "Actually, it wasn't a Slurpee, it was frozen yogurt," Sacks interjects. "Whatever it was," Alvarez replies, "it was something cold."
So it goes in Egg's rehearsal space, which they share with, of all things, a death metal band. Alvarez, Sacks, and Sanchez debate the meaning of the small, everyday occurrences in life that supply an endless stream of inspiration for their songs. Nearby sits Eggy, the band's six-inch Styrofoam mascot, who's comfortably ensconced on a painted wooden throne. The band members have developed a curious obsession with Eggy, making it a point to bring him along to their shows. "You may see him sitting next to you," observes Alvarez. "We put him at the bar, on TVs, maybe up on-stage, maybe behind somebody." The obsession is so complete that Alvarez once stormed off the stage in the middle of a set after Eggy had been swiped. The perpetrators were nabbed at the bar writing a ransom note. "It turned out to be a couple of buddies of ours," explains Alvarez, "but we were like, it wasn't funny any more. It got really emotional."
"John has a strange bond with his egg," Sacks notes dryly. Alvarez makes a motion to disagree, but then concedes, "We're not the most normal band you'll talk to."
Egg performs with the Wilcoxes and Lunabelle on Saturday, October 21, at 10:00 p.m., at Cheers, 2490 SW 17th Ave; 857-0041. Admission is $5.
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