Box Office Poison at Mary’s Pizza Shack

Box Office PoisonYesterday while ingesting about a week’s worth of calories in pizza, beer, and brandy, I over-heard my waiter mention that he had a band. Given that he looked something of thirty years old, I figured his band might actually be interesting. (Yes, I am an ageist; other than chess players and Olympic gymnasts, I don’t think much of anything teenagers do.) His name was “J.D.” or—it seems—Josh Danger Clem and he informed me that the name of his band was Box Office Poison. That was a pretty clever name, I thought. Too clever it turned out. It took me a while to find JD’s band. It is not, for example, the more popular but far less interesting London based band.

Box Office Poison’s Facebook page contains five highly listenable songs. Clem told me that his band was post-punk but immediately took it back; artists never seem to be able to agree with themselves as to just exactly what they are. I wouldn’t necessarily call BOP post-punk myself. They do have wonderful rhythms that would make Gang of Four proud, but other than this, their sound is more retro and I am inclined to call them neo-punk, even if they have relatively broad influences. For example, they often sound like early Nirvana (Bleach, not Nevermind), but more they sound like Black Flag and the Ramones without the catchy hooks. In fact, if there is a problem with the band it is that the songwriting is just okay—kind of like what Mark Eitzel was doing on The Restless Stranger before he blew us away with everything from Engine on.

The musicianship on this collection is very good and the arrangements are first-rate—I’d like to see what a great producer could do with these guys. The recording is a little weak, but this may just be a result of the MP3 compression. In particular, there is some low frequency distortion that I found somewhat annoying. Overall, however, it was 15 minutes of very enjoyable music. I suspect that these guys kill live, so I’m going to try to find them. If I do, I will update here. In the mean time, give them a listen. And if enough of you do, maybe J.D. can stop waiting tables. (Of course, D. Boon never quit his day job!)

And yes, I tipped him very well.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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