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[whitespace] Naked Ape
Pass the Eyeliner: Naked Ape dresses up for gothic new-wave rock done with angst and a pop sheen.

Notes From The Underground

Planet of the Ape:
More than guys in makeup, Naked Ape rocks like a nightmarish Gene Loves Jezebel on their debut disc

By Matt Koumaras

IS AN APE ever not naked? I did some brainstorming and discovered that, in addition to Robin Williams, the Phoenix Suns basketball team has an ape mascot who can dunk and wear a Hawaiian shirt. It's good to know that not every ape is flashing the family bananas at every opportunity.

The band Naked Ape emits nightmarish impressions of Gene Loves Jezebel offering candy from their stretch limos to little surfer children at a Billabong contest. Naked Ape plays a thick, dark and humorous blend of alternative, goth and rap. Even when the doom and gloom leans a little more toward Ted Danson than Marilyn Manson, it's still a wicked pleasure. There are more hard-to-chew samples before each song than a Jeffrey Dahmer fondue. The evil Bobby McFerrin-with-Tourette's reggae heaves on "Cup O' Tea" remind me of what my mom used to tell me: "If you have something bad to say, don't say it." (Reader, please pause here for winter hibernation.) But then the band fires away with a full cartridge of straight-ahead rockers that are really good and blow away the bad and the ugly.

The seething "It Kills Me" gets a seriously infectious groove going a la White Zombie with Todd's sandpaper-gruff vocals nailing a plethora of angst to the cross. "Ain't Life Grand" and "Euphoria" are solid pop tunes destined for mass London Underground hummage. "All We Are" (a rebuttal to Nirvana's "All Apologies"?) waxes and wanes to a pretty pop sheen. "Chillin" features the vortex of all guitar solos and drives with a full tank around the kid-tested, mother-approved rock highway.

I asked a fortuneteller recently how to save the Santa Cruz music scene. Her reply was simple and well worth the serious coinage: "More dudes with makeup." Visit the band's website at www.NakedApe.net or email todd@nakedape.net.

Coming and Going

Melanie from the Applicators played a farewell-to-Santa Cruz party Oct. 16. She's heading up to Portland (and unfortunately taking all her Lene Lovich vinyl imports with her) to reportedly stalk a man in a gorilla suit (hey, wait--there's another instance of an ape not being naked) and to partake in "cheap rent and plentiful Tab." Best wishes!

On a positive note, Mari, bassist for the Gorehounds, has returned from teaching in Japan. She's also recorded some truly significant pop nuggets that further expand the glory of "Megumi Tsukemono" off the Gorehounds' Bringing Stockton to the Slopes. Axe-man Chris has been busy forging a slew of tough, progressive-metal Ford Bronco chase-type songs in addition to solo side projects (Alice in Wonderland, the John Cougar album), Exploding Crustacean drum duty and the occasional Damones laundry-room panty raid. With the new leprechaun movie Lep in the Hood around the corner, expect the Gorehounds to sink their fangs into the scene again.

Upcoming

The Thrones, Spaceboy, the Lowdown and Pleaseosaurus play the Stevenson Rec Room, UCSC, at 8pm Thursday; 30 Years War, The Roots of Orchis and Pocket for Corduroy play at the Stevenson Rec Room, UCSC, Saturday at 7:30pm; also Saturday, the Huxtables play on KZSC's "Gangsterbop" show 2:30 to 5pm and take the stage with Schlep and Robot God that evening at Callahan's.

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From the October 20-27, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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