"No other band will be as crazy as Motley Crüe," says Gasoline Please bassist Dan Maier, between drags from his cigarette. "Blink-182, Jackass, Kut U Up... whatever. They don't hold anything to Motley Crüe. They were insane."
It's a strange scenario-five members of an abrasive math-punk band sharing stories about butt-rock's baddest bad boys. But on this Sunday afternoon, smoking cigarettes behind drummer Marcelo Grazo's father's house, it's how San Diego's Gasoline Please unwind.
"Ever watch the Behind the Music on VH-1?" Grazo asks. "Motley Crüe had this competition to see who could go the longest without showering and still get laid. I think Tommy Lee won. He went 30 days without showering until somebody finally turned him down."
It is inside this house, nestled in the suburbs of Carmel Valley, where Maier, Grazo, singer Ryan Douglass and guitarists Andrew Miller and Noah Chase rehearse their jagged art punk. Grazo, who initially played guitar as a teenager, had one room in the house soundproofed long before he joined the band. Even with the insulation, he says, they still get noise complaints from time to time-a repercussion every band faces when they need to get their ya-yas out.
But when Gasoline Please does it, it's especially fucking loud.
The most obvious reference points to use when describing GP's skull-rattling sound is any Gravity Records band from the mid-'90s-Clikitat Ikatowi, Antioch Arrow, et al. But the most frequent comparison is to San Diego's defunct icons of math-rock, Drive Like Jehu. And, quite frankly, these five gents are ready to move on.
"I think it's easy, especially coming from San Diego, to fall into that," Maier says. "I think we definitely have a San Diego sound, but I don't think we just sound like Jehu. There are a lot of bands from San Diego that have influenced us... Swing Kids, Clikitat Ikatowi or Heroin.
"We're still a pretty young band and we always want to be pushing the boundaries. We want to make our own dent."
Whether they sound like Jehu or not, Gasoline Please boasts an unpredictable bombast that has brought down the house at the Che Café and The Epicentre, among other venues from here to Seattle. Though they occasionally play San Diego's rock dive, The Casbah, GP is similar to other local punks like The Locust or The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower in the way they view age-restricted gigs.
"There's not a lot of people over 21 involved in the punk scene," says Miller. "Playing 21-and-up venues is drastically different in crowd response. There's more energy at all-ages shows. It's not better or worse, it's just different."
Maier suggests that if they chose to primarily play bars, they'd also be choosing to exclude kids a lot like themselves.
"You grow up playing punk music and you end up playing all-ages venues," Maier says. "And even after you're over 21, you continue to support those venues, because they are few and far between. When you play an all-ages show, you know [the crowd isn't] just there to drink. They're there to watch you play. You feel a little bit more appreciated."
Plus, save for Maier, the members of Gasoline Please are too young to order a drink.
"It kinda sucks because none of us can actually stay inside [the bar], except for Dan. And a lot of our friends can't come watch us, but [The Casbah is] a great place to play-it has great sound."
The youth who populate places like the Che have been enthusiastic about Gasoline Please-appreciative, even. But when it comes to the post-show banter, Maier says they tend to clam up.
"Especially when you play to a crowd of 15- and 16-year-old kids, they get kind of nervous," he explains. "A lot of kids who are new to underground music think that the band plays and you can't go up and say "Hi.' It's sorta silly, but it's totally understandable. If you're just getting into punk and you're used to seeing Tool playing on some huge stage, you don't see them walking around or selling their own merch. [So] you maintain that sort of mentality.
"I think it's awesome when people say, "What's up?'"
Teenage punks emboldened by the band's openness, take note: if you plan to say "What's up?' to Gasoline Please, study up on your Motley Crüe. They'd like that.
Gasoline Please hold their CD-release party at Off the Record (all-ages), 4 p.m. on June 26. Free. 619-298-4755.