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Blasting Away

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Heads of Their Time: The latest incarnation of heavy-metalers Bazooka mug for posterity: (clockwise from upper right), Don Carroll, Steve Reed, Jeremy Keller and Vince Meghrouni.

Bazooka reloads for another three-chord attack

By Nicky Baxter

UNTIL BAZOOKA came along, heavy metal sans the guitar was a laughable oxymoron. Perhaps the jazzlike mauling the trio inflicted on fans was attributable to the cultural miasma that was Orange County back when punk ran things. With its weird, wicked polyglot of free improvisational music (think Albert Ayler on acid), Hendrixisms (sans his Fender electric lady) and noisy punk, the group never seemed sure where it was headed at any given moment. Its original methodology was "fuck the rules," as former bassist Bill Crawford once put it.

A trio back then, the unit sounded like an "arkestra" from hell. Listening to a song like "Strictly Square," you got the impression that everything could fall apart at any moment. But that was part of Bazooka's, er, charm. And in any case, true chaos rarely occurred. But the band's horn-centric vision went out the window when tenor player Tony Atherton beat a retreat to San Francisco. Then Crawford walked. So drummer Vince Meghrouni reloaded, enlisting the heavy-duty services of bassist Steve Reed, keyboard player Don Carroll and guitarist Jeremy Keller.

The new Bazooka flexes a groove-ier sound; the foursome is darn near--dare we say it--accessible even to teenyboppers who like their rock served up with a maximum of three chords. These days, the band comes off like a cross between avant-funk troupe Defunkt, (literally) heavy-rock band Mountain and future-fusionist combo Mahavishnu Orchestra. With a new disc just completed for long-time recording home SST, Bazooka is gearing up to blast off once again.


Bazooka plays Thursday (July 4) at 9pm at the Agenda Lounge, 399 S. First St., San Jose. No cover. (408/287-4087)

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From the July 3-10, 1996 issue of Metro

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