Five Seconds Expired – with Otis, Jocobono, Stompbox at the Rat – Review

Five Seconds Expired

with Otis, Jocobono, Stompbox at the Rat
by Scott Hefflon
photos by Joe Reilly

The Stompbox reunion was doomed from the beginning. Stompbox originally broke up because certain members of the band hated a certain other member of the band. We aren’t talking “personal and musical differences” here; we’re talking hate. When asked, after the dust again settled, whose brilliant idea it was to rekindle the animosity, Zephan (drummer) said, “I’d been in San Francisco touring with Chevy Heston for quite some time. When I came home to Boston, I kinda missed playing with Jeff and Pat, and even with Erich. I booked the Rat show even before asking the guys if they wanted to do it. Then Ken Cmar (of Wonderdrug Records) asked us if we’d play the record release party for Take Your Medicine. It had an out-take from Travis called “Cracker Lung” on it, and the bill was really good (Scissorfight, Honkeyball, 6L6).” Evidently, that show ended with arguments, outbursts of rage, and near violence. When asked what transpired after the Mama Kin show, Erich (who happened to stop by during the Tree interview elsewhere in this issue) replied by naming names, gesturing wildly, and saying the word ‘fuck’ more often in the course of one diatribe than I’ve ever heard. I was impressed. Unfortunately (?), he was too far from the microphone to glean any specific information helpful to this article. Erich’s sentiments, as well as Zephan’s quote, “We will never play another show as Stompbox” leave little hope for any additional reunion shows. Both were quick, however, to point out that their other projects, Slower and D-Con, were coming along very well, thank you. Slower consists of Zephan, Jeff, Pat, and superstar bassist, Mikey (from Jocobono, and far too many other great bands than I could list here), and while I’m not familiar with Erich’s D-Con, the guy has a distinctive stage presence and a hardcore roar that will undoubtedly carry over into whatever project he works on. In closing, Zephan commented, “Erich and I parted as friends after the Rat show. Despite all the arguing between us, everything actually turned out OK. But none of us want to endure that ever again.” Whether it’s true or not, it makes a good wrap-up to this intro.

Five Seconds Expired took to the stage first. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there. I’d seen this Burlington, Vermont, band numerous times as Slush, so I have complete faith that stogie-smoking singer Jeff and his merry band of devastating hardcore-heads assaulted the audience with an amount of energy and aggression you rarely see on this side of the barb wire fence. (See the parking lot interview immediately following this live review.)

Next up was Otis. Before they became world-renowned Cherrydisc Recording Artists, their live shows always seemed to take a while to fully warm up. Once they did, however, their dry humor and reserved-motion stage show was, as schmuck journalists would say, captivating. That “less is more” philosophy has since been replaced with making as much noise as possible. I would trace the actual click to the exact moment when Kev-O-Matic leapt from the stage, guitar and all, into the crowd at The Middle East release party for Quintaine Americana. Evidently, some guy had ignored the prominently posted list of rules for proper pit etiquette and elbowed/punched Kev’s girlfriend in the face. Kev proceeded to pummel loud, angry music on the attacker, and the remainder of their stage show was one of the angriest, most on-fire human performances most of us are likely to witness for some time. While nobody with half a brain publicly condones beating the shit out of someone in the pit, a place designated for safe bonding with ones fellow, peace-loving humans, it sure got the adrenaline flowing to near-dangerous levels. Kids, don’t try this at home. Meanwhile, back at the Rat, the sweat was glistening off Otis’ tattoos, spraying from their close-cropped hair, and the smoke poured from either the stage or the first ten rows of the packed audience. It was hard to tell which, but the effect was cool anyway.

Jocobono took the stage while I was taking a pee. These things happen. Jocobono held the stage while I desperately tried to flag down a bartender. Jocobono… oh, hell – I didn’t see any of it, OK? I did get some swell quotes though. Mikey informs me “We’re finishing a demo tape. We have a big chunk of material we’ve been saving. We’re finishing vocals, and last minute things. It’s going to be, um, scouted.” Captain Fuck, who mentioned in passing that he’s currently looking for a 17-year-old girl with no teeth and a flat head, said, “We’re making a demo so we can get a van for our tour in the fall. And we still don’t have enough in the wardrobe budget.” When I juiced up Billy enough, he summarized, “Michael Welsh is going to become a super-model in Details. He’s going to be all over the pages and have no more time for music. He’s going to have a side project, like Keanu Reeves. And he’s going to have tons of money. Todd Perlmutter is going to try out for the Smashing Pumpkins, get the gig, dominate the band, take 75% of the publishing, and make a ton of money. Then both of those guys are going to support my ass while I’m down in the Bahamas, sipping cocktails, shitting in my Depends diapers. That’s the plan.”

And then Stompbox came on. A pit finally started, sometimes these things take a while I guess, and the band was as loud, angry, and tight as ever. You’d barely know the band members hated each other, even as they whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Some folks were openly and unabashedly enjoying the show, quite a rarity ’round these parts. OK, so I didn’t really see them either. I’d drunk myself blind by that point. From what I hear, it was a show that’ll put Stompbox to rest with dignity.

An interview with Five Seconds Expired

Why the name change from Slush to Five Seconds Expired?
Jeff (vocals): We changed the name in March or April, after being Slush for over two years, over some legal problems. There’s a band in L.A. named Slush that got the name two months prior to our use. We’re both got signed to national labels at roughly the same time. We signed to Another Planet Records, and they signed to Discovery Records. Five Seconds Expire is the name of a song we haven’t recorded yet. It’ll be on the next album.

Weren’t you burnt that you had to change the name?
Gary (drums): We really didn’t want to spend a year in court fighting over the name. I think the other band is a cover band anyway. We just wanted to get this album out as soon as possible. So we just changed our name. It’s a stupid name anyway.

But Vermont’s Slush? Come on, that had a ring to it.
Josh (guitar): Slush in Malibu, California? Slush is something they eat at 7-11. It’s like living at the North Pole and calling your band Sand.

(Suddenly, my backstage probing of Jocobono comes on tape. The interview was there too. I must’ve erased the rest of the interview. That’s it, I’m fired.)