Dance and Cry

She Wants Revenge: the latest hip commodity among the cognoscenti

Speaking to a music journalist last year, Justin Warfield explained the raison d'etre behind She Wants Revenge, the rock duo he shares with fellow Los Angeles DJ Adam 12. The quote was too good not to repeat. It appears, along with the rest of the story from the Sheffield Rock Times, on the band's Web site and has since migrated to several other publications.

It's like a freaking mission statement.

Warfield said simply, "We just wanted to make a record that would make girls dance and cry."

Which pretty much sums up what 90 percent of the world's rock 'n' roll bands have been trying to do for more than 50 years. If there were any justice in the world, that quote would win him a place in Bartlett's in perpetuity.

He clarified further: "Not in some manipulative or malicious way. It's just that it's like the highest honor. What could be better than having someone want to cry, fuck or get up and dance to your music?"

She Wants Revenge will visit Tucson for a gig on Monday night, March 6, to inspire tears, sex and terpsichorean improvisation. They will be sandwiched between opener Rock Kills Kid and headliner the Electric Six.

Sadly, it wasn't possible to interview either Warfield or Adam 12 (born Adam Bravin) for this article. It's been written that She Wants Revenge, the duo's remarkable debut CD--released Jan. 31 on the Geffen-connected label Flawless Records--invites comparisons to contemporary neo-post-punk acts as Interpol (OK, that's fair), as well as lesser acts The Killers and The Bravery.

Actually, Warfield and Bravin are invoking the spirits of the same acts that inspired those contemporary groups: Joy Division, David Bowie's collaborations with Brian Eno, early Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus and Pornography-era The Cure.

She Wants Revenge also focuses on a style of music from one of those wonderful times in the history of rock when music of black and white audiences were mutually informing each other.

We'll let them explain. In the Sheffield Rock Times piece, Warfield said, "Our music is a modern extension of a time in the late '70s and early '80s when music was colliding in ways it never had before. We're talking about New Order hearing what Arthur Baker and (Afrika) Bambaataa were doing in New York and what was going on with Chicago house, then taking that back to the U.K. and incorporating that into their dark Northern view of punk rock."

If you're like me and were coming into adulthood during that time, you know that Warfield speaks the truth. The world of music quite simply was a place with more hope and possibility than it is now.

Of course, the infectious danceability of the tunes on She Wants Revenge seems at odds, and brilliantly so, with the dark emotions, bleak depictions of sex and S&M, and sometimes out-and-out misanthropic attitudes presented in the music. Sample song titles: "Out of Control," "Broken Promises for Broken Hearts," "Disconnect" and "Someone Must Get Hurt."

Friends for some 18 years, Warfield and Bravin are both in their early 30s and have been kicking around Los Angeles for years. Bravin did some DJing in clubs and lots of remixes for artists such as Esthero. Warfield did a little rapping; his Prince Paul-produced debut album, My Field Trip to Planet 9, was released in 1993. Two years later, he made a complete about-face to release the classic-rock-sounding album The Justin Warfield Supernaut.

Both of his early albums are out of print, but can be found on eBay easily enough, at reasonable prices.

As a guest artist, Warfield also has recorded and played with such bands as Placebo, Chemical Brothers and Cornershop, but She Wants Revenge--for which he sings and plays guitars and computers--is his most notable recording project in a decade.

Naturally, since She Wants Revenge is being positioned as the latest hip commodity among the music cognoscenti, the band is scheduled to play the massive Coachella music festival in the California desert in April.

Such indie-rock notability almost requires that the band have a music video directed by a famous, nonconformist actor. Thus did the band's friend, one Joaquin Phoenix, end up behind the camera for their video for "Tear You Apart."

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