Oxtail and Tecate With He Whose Ox Is Gored

Yes, it's kind of a religious experience.

Dressed in standard-issue doom-rock black, the four members of He Whose Ox Is Gored peer into two takeout boxes. "Oooo," they all mutter at once. But the shredded oxtail will have to wait until after the slam-off. Cans of Tecate are passed and poured into glasses, and keyboardist Lisa Mungo does the count. "One, two, THREE!" The glasses land on the table with a bang, and there's a brief dispute over whether bassist Travis Brenden's or guitarist Brian McClellan's glass hit first. But soon the entire band—including drummer Patrick Huerta—have another beer in hand, and any need for a winner seems to have been forgotten. For a band with an Old Testament–inspired name referencing gutting chattel (Huerta admits to have been a bit turned off by the name at first, and still refers to the band merely as "The Ox") and music much heavier than most of what you'll hear in the precious sound of the zeitgeist, Ox is an awfully upbeat bunch. McClellan says the name was inspired by Jewish laws of restitution. "I think if someone wrongs you, you can gore their ox," McClellan supposes. That's not quite right. But the name isn't so much about religion as about reaching the band's punk fans. "Hasn't everybody been wronged?" Mungo asks. At first it was hard to put Ox's sound together, Mungo says. But by the time the band released Op Amps, an EP you can download to your smart phone by scanning a bar code on the band's MySpace page, they had found their groove. That's most evidenced in the six-minute epic "Exodus"—the kind of song you want to blast at full volume in a post-breakup rage, but which still contains a smile-inducing melody. Mungo describes it as a "collecting vibe." As if that weren't enough to convince you this isn't some dark, depressing hardcore band, Huerta confesses "We cheer like little girls when we finish [writing] a song." He says that if he could be doing anything, it'd be touring with Ox full time. Everyone else nods. "We're gonna take over the fuckin' world, man," McClellan adds for emphasis. But first they must conquer the oxtail. None have before consumed the animal that is their namesake. Mungo passes around plastic forks, and everyone dives in. Huerta thinks it's a bit gamey, but Mungo disagrees. "I could totally get into that," she declares. "Anything that close to the ass that tastes that good." Like the band's name, it's really only the food's name that's off-putting, Mungo muses. People hear the word "oxtail," or their phrase-length name, and cringe. "But when they participate in it, they're like, 'That's pretty fuckin' good.' music@seattleweekly.com

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