THE BUCK PETS
The combination of youth, noise and attitude is hardly a new one. But seldom is it wielded as deftly as on the Island Records self-titled debut LP by The Buck Pets, the precocious quartet that's emerged as one of the more impressive do-it-yourself rock n' roll success stories in recent memory. Guitar-propelled, high volume screamers like "Little Murder," "More and More," "How Delicious She Looks" and "Inamorata" mark The Buck Pets as one of 1989's most startling releases.
The Buck Pets got off to a homespun start in 1985, with teenaged school friends Tony Alba, Chris Savage and Andy Thompson rehearsing in a bedroom donated by Alba's tolerant mom. "We didn't really start out with any specific idea of what kind of band we wanted to be," Tony recalls. "All we knew was that we wanted to play rock n roll."
The fledgling combo played its first public gig on New Year's Eve 1985/1986. After a few scant months of local performances, The Buck Pets felt the lure of the road. Or as Tony puts it, "We were just sick of sitting at home. We didn't have any plan, other than to just get out of town, and that's what we did. We bought a van and threw our stuff in the back, and went out and played every dive we could possibly play."
Thus began a series of regional tours that brought The Buck Pets to numerous metropoli and forgotten burgs in the US and Canada. "Those first couple of tours were really low-dollar, low-prestige," explains Chris. "We were 17 years old and had never been anywhere. We hopped into this van with no money and went to all these insane places to play for people twice our age. It was weird being out on the road that young, but we did it."
The Buck Pets' unbridled live sets won the band a widespread following and generated considerable word-of-mouth attention, despite the fact that they'd yet to commit a note of music to vinyl. That opportunity arose when Island included their "Snatch Rap" on the Dallas compilation album The Sound of Deep Ellum. Though that track only hinted at The Buck Pets capabilities, their widely-circulated demos (which received significant college/alternative airplay and earned a "Jackpot" pick in CMJ New Music Report) made it clear that the youthful combo's potential was limitless.
After signing with Island in the spring of 1988, The Buck Pets (who now include bassist Ian Beach) headed for Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas to record their first album with producer Ron St. Germain, whose resume includes work with artists as diverse as Mick Jagger, Whitney Houston and Bad Brains.
Explains principal songwriter Chris Savage, "We got most of it within two takes -- we recorded the band live and then we'd go back to fix things or add a tambourine or whatever."
With their debut now available, The Buck Pets are more than ready for what Chris calls "this big strange adventure that's ahead of us. We've never really cared if people liked us or not, but I think we're going to appeal to people who are like us - people who don't need to put music in any scene or movement to understand it." "There's now fancy lights, no psychedelia or anything like that," adds Tony Alba, "it's just simple rock n roll."
"I think the youth factor is our biggest asset," Tony concludes. "That's our saving grace, I guess, because we're too young to be jaded. The band's constantly changing. If there's any predictable factor, it's that the music keeps getting stronger and more forceful."
The Buck Pets are:
Tony Alba - drums
Ian Beach - bass
Chris Savage - lead guitar
Andy Thompson - lead vocals, rhythm guitar