No genre better encapsulates the carnage of the Wild West than powerviolence. And Chest Pain uphold the genre's classic parameters -- brevity, winding song structures, cartoonishly monstrous vocals -- so well that Drugged Conscience head honcho, Chris Donaldson, compares the act to three bands: "Crossed Out, Crossed Out, and Crossed Out."
We shot Chest Pain some questions about 30 second songs and why the band's singer sounds like a minotaur with a megaphone.
Crossfade: Who, what, when, where and why is Chest Pain?
Chest Pain: I'm Matt Needles and I play bass in Chest Pain. Travis Smith is the vocalist, Brian Chamblee is our guitarist, and Jesse Jones plays drums. We drink a lot of coffee.
Why are your songs so short? Why not write a 27 minute powerviolence opus?
I think we write songs with just as many parts and riffs as other bands. We just play them three times as fast (we drink a lot of coffee). Writing long songs isn't out of the question for us as a band but it's been done before and doesn't interest us as much as trying to create interesting music within a limited amount of time. I don't think any member of Chest pain would have the attention span to play a 27 minute long song, we drink too much coffee.
How did you master the "bear-man yelling" voice?
Travis spent his formative years pushing the wheel of pain, gargling gasoline, and wearing those collars that shock dogs when they bark.
About how long is your live set? What are the shortest and longest sets you've played as a band?
It really depends on the day. On our last tour we were playing a set that was somewhere between fifteen and twenty minutes which had a couple of covers, the entirety of a 7" and a few other jams from earlier records. There's a video of us on YouTube from May, filmed the day after I was released from the hospital for a stagediving head injury. I think the total length of it is about 7 minutes and you can see me completely disregarding the doctor's orders. We've been a band long enough now that we have a decent catalogue of songs to pick from when making a setlist so we can be pretty flexible if we want to be, which is cool.
How would you describe the Austin hardcore scene?
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Austin is a weird place but it has a decent scene for hardcore and punk. It used to be a lot smaller and more fractured but things have really gotten big in the last five or six years. It's wild to think about how much it has grown in that time, we now have a long running warehouse DIY space, The Broken Neck, and more record stores and houses that allow for DIY shows then we had since I moved here ten years ago. There are a lot of bands cutting their teeth by playing every week. Some of them are just incredible but hardly anybody outside of Austin ever hears about them (Naw Dude, Recide, Cruddy, and Women in Prison being a few fine examples) It makes for a pretty diverse expanse of live music available for the partier/show attendee to choose from.
Overall Austin is pretty righteous.
Drugged Conscience presents Chest Pain and Mindless with Destructive Bodies and No Children. Tuesday, July 26. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at 8 p.m. and there's a $5 cover. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.