By Jhoni Jackson
Will somebody let Billy from Portland’s Mean Jeans borrow a guitar for their set at the Mess-Around tomorrow? Because the one he’s been using for years was smashed last week—during the first song of the first show of tour, in fact.
The notoriously raucous party-punks are known for a few things: Wild shows, super-fast jams and pounding Jäger. The latter fact somehow caught the attention of Jägermeister’s marketing department, and Billy Jeans was given a branded guitar. Its sound quality was poor, he says, but the logo-plastered inlay amused him. He decided to use it, but kept his actual guitar nearby just in case.
“During the first song some kid just jumped up on the speaker and [my guitar] fell down,” he explains. “You can imagine: There’s a wall, then my guitar leaning on the wall, then the speaker with the kid fell down onto it and it just cracked in half—which I’ve never seen a guitar do. And I’ve tried to smash a guitar before, just for fun, and you would think from whatever, The Who or Smashing Pumpkins or Jimi Hendrix, that it’d be easy, but not at all.”
A bummer of such epic proportions would test the patience of anyone, especially someone who’s had a few drinks. (I’m assuming.) For a lot of musicians, that kind of mishap might end in a fistfight. Mean Jeans’ pop-heavy punk promotes reckless living and perpetual partying. “Born on a Saturday Night,” “Party Animal,” “Come Toobin’” and “Don’t Stop Partying” are just a few cuts exemplary of the signature Mean Jeans lifestyle. The way Billy responded to his guitar, which he says “cut clean in half,” is a testament to how he is to his party-lovin’ persona.
“I didn’t know how me as a person would react to that,” he says. “I don’t think I was pissed at all. I think it was just an awesome thing that happened.”
Right on, dude. But seriously, he’s probably going to need to borrow a guitar tomorrow.
Mean Jeans play the EARL on the second night (April 27) of the Atlanta Mess-Around festival. The lineup also includes Apache Dropout, Ex-Cult, Parting Gifts, Clone Defects and Dwight Twilley.