In The Flesh
Pupils tend to bare all, for all
Published: March 21, 2012
Pupils singer Steve Puwalski points out that audiences tend to be happier once the pants come off. "It's about letting go. The show is a microcosm wherein the rules are a little bit different."
It's true, anything can happen at a Pupils show. For example, at the last Metro Times Blowout, the combo wound up performing marriage ceremonies for a pair of same-sex couples, and, a few months ago, the lighting rig at the Lager House wound up on the floor after three songs. During a New Year's show they got half the room to strip.
The band's fucked-up, post-punk, no-wave grooves sometimes hum with surges of drones and feedback, which never overpowers hooks and melodies.
Bassist Matt Luke (also of Legendary Creatures), guitarist Jason Worden (also of Red China) and drummer Dave Jennings (also of Pewter Cub) create a jittery rhythmic bedrock upon which Puwalski (also of Marco Polio & the New Vaccines) free associates. He can provoke strange if not startling reactions through keyed-up musings, sometimes breaking down the stage-audience barrier wearing but bicycle shorts. (What is up with strip teases in local rock circles lately? Factory Girls' singer Kyle McBee's gone Full Monty a couple times already.)
"You might as well be comfortable when you're playing a show," Puwalski says. "If I take those liberties for myself, then the people in the audience, who might not take those liberties for themselves, are encouraged."
This Saturday, these cerebral noise-rockers release their debut recording, an EP (recorded with drummer Scottie Stone, engineer Jeff Spatafora). "Not Another Boring Bone Evening" is a gnarly record filled of sweet groove, modal darkness and surreal lyrics.
The band says the EP defines their birth, but seemingly A.D.D-addled Puwalski says he's ready to make five more albums this year.
Being in this band "certainly keeps the brain going," Worden says.
Pupil's EP release show is Saturday, March 24, at the Old Miami, 3930 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-3830; with Phantom Cats and Growwing Pains.
> Email Jeff Milo