Gay Kiss: Mixed up 

Gay Kiss band members offer up a soundtrack for that I-10 drive from their home to the Old Pueblo


Spend any amount of time dealing with a band, and you begin to realize that each one operates by an internal logic unique to that group. Phoenix-based hardcore band Gay Kiss adheres to a very specific, stringently democratic code of conduct: Interviews are conducted with all members of the band, with each member getting a say.

The band’s egalitarian approach extends to its music; the songs featured on the band’s latest album, Preservation Measures, are lean, short bursts of trenchant, spastic noise that come at the listener all at once. The record is the band’s full-length debut, following a string of singles and EPs that garnered the band significant attention from the punk press and landed the group an opening slot on tour with OFF!, the hardcore supergroup featuring members of Redd Kross, the Circle Jerks and Black Flag.

Tellingly, the group’s parliamentary approach extends to the van stereo while on tour. The driver tends to be in control of the music, drummer Daniel Schurgin explains, but “We always have a good range of things to jam.” With the band coming to 191 Toole on Saturday, June 27, Tucson Weekly asked the quartet to compile, democratically of course, a mixtape to soundtrack the drive down the 1-10 from Phoenix to Tucson. Listen to the group’s brazenly eclectic mix on this article’s online version:

Jirix-Mie Paz, bass:

“I like sad, catchy songs,” the bassist says of his melodic contributions. While listening for the influence of Hendrix or Radiohead on the sound of Preservation Measures might not yield results, the taut no wave feedback wrangling of songs like “Shiver” doesn’t sound far off from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs if you were to sub in barraging drums and grunts.

Roger Calamaio, vocals:

Calamaio’s lyrics on the album are bleak, with multiple references to blood, sweat and one brutal line about “crumpled newsprint, cum and trends,” and lyricists like Leonard Cohen, Integrity’s Dwid Hellion, and Big Black’s Steve Albini are perfectly aligned with his style. As for that Collins song? “Heaviest drum break ever,” the singer writes.

Daniel Schurgin, drums:

The propulsive “motorik” rhythms of Schurgin’s Krautrock selections make for perfect driving music, and it’s the rhythmic qualities of the Siouxsie song that appeals to him as well. “I love how [Banshees drummer] Budgie plays drums against that loop throughout the song; it’s perfect,” Schurgin says.

Mitch James, guitar:

Spanning solo piano from Canadian songwriter Chilly Gonzales to electronic pop from Moev and atonal hardcore from YDi, James’ selections are each extreme in their own right. “These just is songs I like SMH,” the guitarist writes. . ■

More by Jason P. Woodbury


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