SEX BBQ have been wailing a unique brand of psych-pop/surf-rock throughout the Atlanta local small venue scene for just short of a year. In that time, they have emerged as a powerful force delivering a dynamic mix of fierce, sassy, and creepy tunes. Their vibrant performances reveal a collective of entertainers who embrace mischievous humor, drunken camaraderie and sophisticated instrumentation with equal fervor.
What’s the first gig you ever attended?
At 15, skateboarding, Dungeons and Dragons and drugs were my only escape from the horrors of everyday life. But I soon added a new ingredient to my delinquent stew. Some kids from my school were in a death metal band and invited everyone to their first show. When my best friend and I got to the venue, my world changed. It was a shithole bar in a shithole part of my hometown. Kids were skating in the parking lot, smoking cigarettes and weed.
Inside, the bands were sitting around waiting to get started. We sat next to a guy who looked like a filthy Thor. He was the bass player for opening band Luke Skawalker. Next to him was a guy with thin sideburns and a short pompadour scribbling words on a crumpled piece of paper. Filthy Thor called us over to mock Sideburns-Pompadour, his singer, who was writing lyrics just minutes before the show.
When they hit the stage, they were wild. Everyone danced and thrashed in the pit, a manic display of constructed violence in movement. We caught on quickly and jumped in. There was no ego. No pomp. Just straightforward momentum. Was Luke Skawalker good? Hell no. They were sloppy but fun. They kicked their trumpet player out of the band during the second song. They made us laugh and carried us along as one of them. Bands I’d seen before at county fairs with my parents, like Steppenwolf and 3 Dog Night, and the bands on MTV were something separate. They seemed higher, untouchable. Here, in this dingy bar with a low stage and makeshift dance floor, it was an inclusive community. We, as the audience, were as much a part of the show as the bands.
This one night was my introduction to a world I didn’t know existed. It wasn’t until I graduated high school that I started my first band Dr. Killbot. After rocking faces with them in Chicago for 10 years, I moved to Atlanta where I now consummate sound with SEX BBQ. The band shares my passion for supporting local music and we strive for the same feeling of inclusiveness and community that I fell in love with as a kid. [Steve Albertson – multi-instrumentalist]
What is the best gig that you ever played/performed?
Actually, the first gig I ever played. Been chasing the dragon ever since. I was 14, and the Catholic youth group my parents made me go to was hosting a talent show. I knew a few chords, so I decided to put a band together. It was me on guitar, my best friend Ryan on bass, and Robbie— a buddy from school—on drums. We barely knew how to play, but we picked a cover we thought would impress the girls (which was really my main goal), and practiced our asses off. After rehearsal, we settled on the name Discomposure, and Ryan pencil sketched us a super-sweet logo of a stoned headband-wearing hippie smoking a joint.
The church didn’t have a separate hall for events, so the day of the talent show, the youth leader and his cronies set up the stage in church—on the altar. Later that night, after sitting anxiously through New Age dance numbers, Jesus-friendly comedy skits and some amateur juggling, our name was finally called. “Up next—Discomposure!”
And there we were under a towering crucifix, fumbling through a tuneless instrumental version of Led Zeppelin’s “D’yer Maker.” The stuttering music we made echoed to the church’s ceiling. I eventually broke into a guitar solo that sounded like a raccoon mauling a cat. Things weren’t exactly going as I’d hoped, but I wasn’t worried. I had an ace in the hole.
On a stand next to me, was an acoustic guitar a friend and I had graffitied the previous summer with slogans like, “STRAIGHT EDGE HARDCORE ” and “MEAT IS MURDER,” plus a lot of peace signs and, to balance them out, anarchy symbols. I grabbed the acoustic and on cue Robbie started spewing chaotic snare and tom fills while Ryan thrashed dissonant, bone-rattling bass chords. I held the guitar high over my head, and looked up for a second at the crowd, catching the horrified look of recognition in the youth leader’s eyes. At that moment, I smashed the shit out of my guitar at the foot of the altar, splintered wood and spastic strings exploding in every direction.
A few kids cheered. But most of ’em just kinda stared at us like were a bunch of freaks. In the end, we lost to a puppet show. Been trying to get the feeling back ever since. [Steve LaBate – guitar]
What is the best gig you have ever seen?
Besides Black Star and OutKast in 1998? I’d say it’s three-way tie between Descendents at Roseland in New York, The Skabs and The Banned at CBGB sometime around 2000, and Juliana Hatfield at the Roxy in Boston circa 2001.
Recently, I’ve been hopped up on a bunch of Gun Party and have replenished my mojo at local Atlanta shows. I j my p’s every time I see Brain, Todaythemoon Tomorrowthesun, Coathangers and Concord America.
Also, I’d like to add The World/Inferno Friendship Society to Everett’s dream lineup. I think SEX BBQ would kill it as supporting accompaniment-cum-conspirator in the Inferno’s musical adaptation of The Bridgewater Astral League—spoiler alert: there’s gonna be LARPing. [Kate BBQ – guitar, vocals]
Gig you would most like to play?
All I care about is playing the BET Awards. [Bunny McIntosh – keys, vocals]
What would be the lineup for your dream gig?
In SEX BBQ, each of us has such different musical tastes, and come from such diverse musical backgrounds that a dream lineup would have to cover a lot of bases. We’d need some really fun bands, some rockers, some innovators, and someone to represent our Atlanta roots. I’m thinking SEX BBQ, Echo & The Bunnymen, OutKast, Led Zeppelin, Frank Ocean and Die Antwoord. And maybe Lynyrd Skynyrd to round things out. I’d go to that. Also, Boyz II Men is there, but they’re just working the merch table. [Everett Steele – bass]
Catch Sex BBQ Tonight at The Earl.