"New Bands: The Buck Pets," by Nina MalkinFrom Seventeen magazine, vol. 50, no. 1 (January 1991), page 40
© 1990 by News America Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Main photo by Katherine Davis/London Features International
Caption: Don't try to pet the Buck Pets (from left): Andy Thompson, Chris Savage, Tony Alba, and Ian Beach
The same photo shoot yielded the picture used in the Guitar article
Inset photo by Greg Allen/Retna Ltd.
Caption: Andy Thompson is a wild man in concert
There's no such animal as a buck pet. But if there were, your mother would never let you bring one home. There is a group of rock guys called the Buck Pets, and chances are your mom wouldn't even let them get past the front door. For one thing, the Dallas-based Buck Pets are loud enough to shatter most of her knickknacks.
Their new album, Mercurotones (Island), is thick with relentless guitars -- all buzz, fuzz, and feedback with gut-tugging Iyrics -- sometimes sad, sometimes angry, and always real. The songs draw from the Pets' favorite bands: the punk power of the Buzzcocks; Led Zeppelin's metal-forging; the Beatles' melodic sense; and the raucous poignance of The Replacements. In other words, the kind of intensity that would tear Mama's chintz sofa to shreds!
Maybe you think a little grooming might tame these wild Pets? Not likely. After spending four months in Los Angeles -- the glam-rock capital of the universe -- recording Mercurotones, they left poseur city as scruffy as they wannabe. "It was a sobering experience to see that L.A. scene, all that big hair," says lead singer and rhythm guitarist Andy Thompson. "Kinda funny. Kinda sickening." In keeping with their anti-glam attitude, the guys immediately went out and chopped off their hair!
If you did get up the courage to bring a stray Buck Pet home, he'd probably break your heart by running away. You see, Andy and the rest of the Pets (lead guitarist Chris Savage, bassist Ian Beach, and drummer Tony Alba) have got to roam. "The road is our lifeblood," says Andy. "We've been out on it since we were seventeen." Catch the Buck Pets live, and you'll know what wild is. They play with a ferocious, unbridled energy that's completely natural. "It just comes through us," explains Andy. "We don't go around backstage punching each other in the arm or anything. But once we're onstage, we switch into a different mode. Thrashing around is what we live for."
So go see the Buck Pets. "Pleeease," purrs Andy, as sweetly as a lost kitten. Play their record, cranked to the max. Just watch out for your mom's knickknacks.
-- Nina Malkin