There?s a band from Hollywood called [PRE]THING. Well, there are a million bands from Hollywood. And they?re all full of people from all over the country?across the world, actually?and they all want to play music and they all want to be famous.
Which is why when a guy with a vision, like [PRE]THING?s guitarist/singer, Rust Epique, meets up with two amazing musicians, like drummer Dinolicious and bassist JonTroy, who not only understand him, but actually enable and further that vision, you have something that transcends normal.
You should know that [PRE]THING isn?t a normal band. You should know Rust is an artist?as in an accomplished painter, as in ?different,? as in occasionally ?difficult,? as in eccentric?as well as a musician. You should know that Rust insists Dinolicious and JonTroy are more important than he is to the band. You should also know that [PRE]THING is more than the sum of its parts.
Yeah, they?re a power trio in the every-player-is-a-badass tradition of Cream, The Police, and Rush?but they don?t sound like an every-player-is-a-badass, old-fashioned rock band. There?s a reason the threesome?s debut is called 22nd Century Lifestyle episode: RUSTANDTHESUPERHEROES SEXDRUGSANDSOUTHERNCITYROCK: this is the music of the future. Rust envisioned it as Crystal Method meets Willie Nelson and he?s pulled it off. Well, sort of. Maybe if Willie ate ?shrooms with Linkin Park. 22nd Century Lifestyle is a cross-pollination of art-rock, alt. rock, blues (check out the coda of ?Assscending?), and full-throttle rock. Fluttering, wavering digital effects sometimes color Rust?s vocals and the drums, dozens of guitars fill every crack, the occasional electronica sound burbles through, and the rhythm tracks are so solid you could build a trailer park on them. Yeah, Southern City Rock?greasy, but not backwoods.
A couple years ago, Rust was living a rustic life in a trailer in Modesto, California. All he really had were some clothes, maybe a guitar, and a four-song demo CD for the project he was calling RUSTANDTHESUPERHEROES at the time. He?d left a Platinum-selling band after realizing that selling a million records didn?t change anything. (Here?s a hint: [PRE]THING?s first L.A. show was billed under the name Daisytown. Google him if you still don?t get it.)
22nd Century Lifestyle makes the case for changing his career?s direction. There?s tension and power in the thick, dense torrents of guitar and the onslaught of drums. It?s dark, it?s heavy, but it?s melodic. Rust?s voice is a surprisingly potent weapon. He can deliver a gruff whisper that Michael Hutchence would die for (?Faded Love?) or he can get way into a falsetto like Jeff Buckley (?Won + X?), but his smoky baritone primarily coats songs with the world-weariness of Mark Lanegan. None of the vocal talents would mean a thing if the music didn?t back him up. There?s certainly more depth to the songwriting than your average big rock record. Weird, spooky whispering ends the ?Tigh it High,? which opens with a sonic assault that makes the Smashing Pumpkins sound wimpy, but there are shining acoustic guitars on ?Staay Alive? that showcase a crisp, minor-key delicacy. True to its title, this is a record that looks to the future.
In addition to spending all of their time together, the band?s closeness shows itself in the communal deadpan humor. One person will start a story and the other two will add details, until it starts sounding believable. Like, how Barbara Streisand sings on a track on 22nd Century Lifestyle. When they start, they won?t stop: JonTroy will bust into a capella Guns n? Roses songs with little prompting. He risked arrest in Las Vegas for his nude rendition of Use Your Illusion I on a downtown hotel rooftop. Makes sense then, that Rust says the band?s motto is embodied in their record?s ?22nd Century Lifestyle.?
Just don?t expect Rust to explain everything; in his case, the music really is the message. ?This band is all about going for it,? Rust says. ?It?s about starting from something, breaking it down and becoming more than something.?
[PRE]THING is more than something. It?s something else. It?s the sound of things yet to come.