Through at 2: Morning in Fremont With Blunt Mechanic's Ben Barnett

An ex, a Shark, and Ben Gibbard.

The Situation It's around 1 a.m. on Thursday, July 22. I'm milling around in the alley behind the High Dive with Ben Barnett of Blunt Mechanic; his current drummer, Emily Westman; and his roommate, Handful of Luvin' drummer Michael Knight.

Intoxication Barnett's just finished a solo set at the High Dive. I think he's more exhausted than drunk, although I can't say the same for myself. Tired, tipsy, whatever—we all end up slouching down on the curb for our chat.

How He Got Here Barnett spent his day at the School of Rock, where he serves as music director. "Honestly, I really like them," he says of his students. "Most of them." He's wearing sneakers that he found in a storage area at the School (an occasional source for his daily wardrobe), and his favorite tattoo right now is an homage to the School—seven sharks on his left bicep, one for each day of the week, representing the School's official band, Shark Week. "They get better gigs than Blunt Mechanic does," he says. "They're playing Seafair."

Shop Talk In October, Blunt Mechanic hits the studio with John Goodmanson (the Globes, Blonde Redhead) to record the follow-up to this year's World Record, tentatively titled Lay It Down and Work It Out. He wants it to be "music you can bone to."

Barnett and Watson tell me about a new song called "No Planning Is Bad Planning." "I stole that from my ex-fiancée's urban-planning diatribes," says Barnett. "She was always concerned about how long you wait at a stop light and stuff like that. She thought urban planning was punk."

BTW: Ben Gibbard played drums in Barnett's former band, Kind of Like Spitting, and once told Barnett that he wanted the artwork for Death Cab's The Photo Album to be a shot of the band members with their pants down and their hands over their mouths, with the title So You Caught Us Masturbating: What's the Big Deal? scrawled across in hot pink cursive. Taste is everything.

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