Next stop: your town

Austin's party-crashers Those Peabodys just want to play.


Crocodile Cafe, 441-5611, $7 9 p.m. Thurs., April 25

THERE'S THIS GUY I know. The first show he ever went to was Seaweed. It was 1995 or so, the Spanaway tour. He was about 17. He and his friends drove an hour to the show. I bet they listened to a Mudhoney tape on the way. A few years later, the guy's band is playing at the Rendezvous. They finish their breakneck, classic rock cover of "River Deep Mountain High" and rip straight into their own "Party at My House." At the end of the song—during the repeated gang-chorus question, "Why's the party always at my house?"—former Fastback Kim Warnick works her way to the microphone, seizes control of it, and leads the entire room in a punk rock sing-along. This guy I know, he isn't in the Catheters, and he's not in a Murder City Devils spin-off band. Although he knows enough about these parts to liken our winters to "swimming in a Slurpee," the guy's from Austin, Texas. His name is Adam Hatley, and his band is called Those Peabodys.

Released last year on Austin indie label Post-Parlo, Those Peabodys' self- titled debut full-length takes the fuzzed, metal-influenced guitars of the early '90s, slams them up against the blues the way AC/DC did, tempers the chaos with enough Southern comfort to make a junkie out of any joker in a pickup truck, and then unleashes it loud and proud like they've got both the MC5 and Jon Spencer ready to be called in on backup. When the record was made, core members Hatley and Clarke Wilson were barely legal.

"It's nice to have youth on your side," says Hatley in an even, easy drawl over the phone from his home in Texas.

When I point out that most guys his age are playing mopey indie rock or aping the latest emo band, Hatley defers to his salad days in Temple, Texas, a town that he says is "all right till you graduate high school, but you gotta get the fuck out after that," and blames it all on long hair and heavy metal.

"When I was a little bitty kid, I was a metal boy. But, like, metal that a little kid could be exposed to, like Motley Cre and Metallica. I had cousins who were total honky rockers," says Hatley. "It wasn't until I got into 10th and 11th grade that I started finding bands that weren't just the ones that anybody could find by watching MTV. We were all into Drive Like Jehu then, and Rocket From the Crypt."

Hatley and Wilson formed Those Peabodys while they were still teenagers, and after moving to Austin to attend college, they found drummer Aaron Franklin and guitar player J.D. Cronise. After a "dumb-ass" summer- long self-guided tour with just a box of T-shirts and some tapes to hawk for gas money, Those Peabodys and their new lineup spent last year getting down to business. And the good people of Texas took note.

A long-standing tradition in those parts dictates that once you've eked out a little success, you grab the best band from your local club and take them out on tour. Merge Records indie pop- sters Spoon took them out first; both bands were here on Spoon's Girls Can Tell trip when Those Peabodys joined the Briefs, Weird Science, the Carving Knives, New Luck Toy, and the Charming Snakes at that now legendary Rendezvous show last summer. Then the megamess makers/ "saviors of rock" . . . Trail of Dead took them out for a dozen or so dates after the release of their major-label debut. In the in-between time, they've found time for minitours with the Tight Bros and the Gossip—and they've played just about every house party and backyard barbecue they could find.

"We're always all about getting in the van and going out and playing, and you know, it's not all peaches. People who can put up with going on tour and representing when it's time to do it—I'm very thankful for that. If you have that, you can at least do something. With most bands, someone always has a kid or a job or something they can't get away from; somebody always has something that will prohibit you from taking your band all around the world."

But not Those Peabodys. Where there's an interstate and a town with some kids who like to rock, they'll make themselves at home. And the party is, after all, always at their house.

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