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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

No Use for a Name
Brian Archer

Taste Sensation: No Use for a Name gets a bite of success.

Popularity Contest:
San Jose's No Use for a Name survives hit single 'Soulmate' to record again.

WHEN PUNK-POP band No Use for a Name struck gold in 1995 with the radio smash "Soulmate" (from its Fat Wreck Chords album Leche Con Carne), it was immediately hit with an identity crisis, caused in part by an infectious disease called the Hit Single. The symptoms worsened during a stint on two radio-station package tours during the past summer. "It was weird," admits NUFAN guitarist and vocalist Tony Sly. "Toward the end of the tour, it seemed that all people wanted to hear was that song. We started to think, Are we No Use for a Name or are we Soulmate?"

Furthermore, the Cupertino-born, San Jose­based band felt disappointment for the small cluster of fans who would pay hefty prices for 25 minutes of NUFAN. After being appeased with "Soulmate," the rest of the audience could have been entertained by trained monkeys. "When you play with Bush, nobody's there to see us," Sly remarks. "We felt like we wasted a little bit of time doing those radio shows. Luckily, we got to go back and play the same cities on our own for five dollars."

It's been a while since No Use for a Name has been in the public eye. Its tour ended a year ago, and since then, the band has recruited a new bassist and guitarist (Matt Riddle and Chris Shifflett, respectively) and pushed out a new album, Making Friends. The group celebrates its CD-release party at the Cactus Club on Saturday (Aug. 9), with Crack, the Other and ex-Slip members the Forgotten. On the album, No Use's testosterone-rich punk pop hits harder than before on new songs like "The Answer Is Still No," "On the Outside" and "Secret." According to Sly, "Matt plays with his fingers as opposed to all our other bass players, who played with picks. Our guitarist Chris had more influence on the leads. We haven't slowed down at all. This album is faster than the last one. It sounds way more aggressive."

Asked about the South Bay music scene, Sly says, "There's a lot of great bands here that have been overlooked. I love the Odd Numbers, Crack, Concerning Eye and Sloe. If you took these bands and put them in a different city, it'd be a different situation. Take San Diego. San Diego supports its bands so much! Blink 182 and Unwritten Law--they play a place in San Diego called SOMA, and they sell out 1,400 seats. There are bands like Sloe or Concerning Eye who are just as good as they are."

There are 12 numbers on Making Friends, including two hidden tracks. One is a cover of the Kiss song "Beth" (the other you'll have to figure out yourself). Sly isn't predicting if there's a radio hit in the mix, but he says that the new songs are tight enough to withstand the gravitational pull of the Hit Single. "Leche Con Carne kept selling after the radio single faded off," Sly notes. "When we went off on tour by ourselves, people were singing the songs other than 'Soulmate.' That felt good to see."

Body Shots

Way before there was a SoFA District in downtown San Jose, there was D.B. Cooper's. The San Pedro Square club took pride in the lively atmosphere it created. D.B.'s was the spot to see and be seen. Plenty of local celebs hung out, drank and danced on its tiny dance floor under the twirling parachutist hanging from the ceiling. Well, a reunion has been arranged for past employees and fans of the club. The date is Sunday (Aug. 17), 7pm­2am, at Waves Smokehouse & Saloon, 65 Post St., San Jose.

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From the August 14-20, 1997 issue of Metro.

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