By Steven Yuen
Evoking nostalgic feelings of early punk, Quaaludes is safely the most memorable band of 2014. The fierce foursome have been gaining a very dedicated and sizeable fan base, playing everything from actual caves to record stores and have just returned home from their first tour. I managed to catch them on their tour kick off and record-release show in a dingy bar in the outer Mission District of San Francisco. Nearly two years into their existence, Quaaludes’ releases have been very sparse and hard to find but have always been undeniably addictive. Their first release, “She’s Weird Like Us,” went public in January 2013, and it took until November for them to self-release their self-titled tape. Almost a year later, they released a 7”, “Nothing New,” which represents everything right with California punk rock. Further, they were able to release it through their own label, Dollskin Records alongside Thrillhouse Records. The EP is reminiscent of bands like The Crucifucks or Bikini Kill – it has not left my record player since I got it. There is both a pink and a black edition of the record – pink being the more limited one.
Quaaludes’ songs are raw and straight to the point. You will be compelled to hop up and down, dance frantically. “Gin,” the opening track, beckons you to sing along before it’s over. There are some softly layered vocals that give it a subtle, dreamy feel. The title track, “Nothing New,” perpetuates this tidal tone. If you ever had to deal with business people running through a big ciy’s bustling downtown, you’ll get “I’m For Them.” There’s a strong sense of resentment most of us hold for SF’s Financial District, making the song instantly relatable. “Drool” is the token faster song, as it sweetly fades into “Stiff Little Single,” which is a song off their old tape (rerecorded for this release) I commonly find myself humming throughout my day. CCP went ahead and bothered Aimee, their front femme fatale, with some questions:
CCP: You just got back from touring. Do you have any crazy stories you’d like to tell or shyster promoters you’d like to call out? What were the best and worst stops on the tour?
Aimee Cruciphix: Let’s see…stories. First of all, I f$$&ing failed on tour. I got sick. Cold/flu/flagellation/runny nose/body aches – 2nd day of tour. The crazy fever came in Las Vegas (4th day). Me rubbing ice cubes on my body to bring the fever down in the car before our set. Then exposing young punks (as young as six) to my crazy fever. …five-song set and very sweaty and delusional. My glasses were literally on their last arm the whole time on tour. The arm was taped with black tape with skulls, and the left lens kept falling out due to a crack. (My glasses were in three pieces most of the time.) I once used double-stick tape at a friend’s, and then my hair would stick to ’em. (In Vegas, we also stayed in our friend’s time share and experienced some fun high life in a suite, and the place had a lazy river). Suzy (drummer) got pulled over for speeding. She was very polite and replied she was rushing due to sunscreen in her eye. It worked. No ticket. Use it. You’re welcome! Courtney (bass) and Morgan (guitar) took weird ghost selfies and did stick-n-poke tattoos. We all went to a strip club in Portland. We almost lost our friend’s cat in Olympia.
The venue in Seattle only gave us $8… (shakes head) Las Vegas wasn’t my fav, but I was sick so I’m biased.
My fav stops were L.A. at Timewarp Music with a lot of friends and Vial, who rocked. Flagstaff, Arizona was so f$$&ing nice, and people were very receptive; and I loved the downtown. Portland was amazing. We played at the Punx house (local punk house, duh), and the energy was great – maybe our best set – and I really dug Piss Test. The other show in Portland was rad too. …loved the Chemicals as well. …very fun show.
CCP: Your new release is put outon your own Dollskin records with Thrillhouse records. Are you going to use it to only release your own music, or do you plan to bring on other bands as well?
Aimee Cruciphix: The plan is to grow the label and add other local bands, however, we are going to take our time and pick bands sparingly to begin with and ones [bands] we really enjoy.
CCP: How exactly did the band come up with the name “Quaaludes”?
Aimee Cruciphix: I suggested the name. We all wanted a shorter one-word name, and we all agreed on Quaaludes.
CCP: I know you all just put out a record and just went on tour, but do you have any plans for anything aside from local shows right now; and when is the next show?
Aimee Cruciphix: We have goals for venturing out, come spring time. Other than that, we are going to be playing slightly fewer shows and focus on writing some new stuff. Our next show is this Friday at Rickshaw Stop with PINS (awesome all-girl UK band).
CCP: Also, you all played at the cave show, and the police came a few minutes into your set. I left once they began to make their way through the crowd; exactly what happened after that?
Aimee Cruciphix: I actually was so full if adrenaline I didn’t think the cop was going to shut us down. We got 2 1/2 songs in. He came to my mic and did in fact tell everyone to shut it down. He had a shaved head and kinda looked like a hardcore singer. He could have joined, but he probably sucks ’cause he’s a cop.