Spirit Animal:
The TVD First Date

Spirit Animal plays the Black Cat backstage next Monday, February, 27th.

“After moving away from DC in 2003, the act of returning to visit became a guaranteed great time. Re-frequenting the Black Cat, Saint Ex, The Big Hunt, and the other bars where my friends still worked was something I looked forward to every single time.”

“One of these kind souls who I loved to go see shows with was Ana Marin, now a chef at Bibiana (w00t!) and a long-time area bartender. She told me we HAD to go see this band, The Points, ’cause they were doing some legit punk rock at a time when the genre had pretty much disappeared, even in a city as steeped in hardcore and punk as DC. So, naturally, I agreed excitedly.

But then I missed the show.

I don’t know if they went on exactly on time and I didn’t expect them to, or if I was just slacking that night for some odd reason. But when I arrived, Ana handed me a copy of their 7″, “RNR No Rules” —which she had bought me. She said their set was awesome and I apologized for missing them. Then we had beers.

I didn’t have access to a record player until I returned to Los Angeles a week or so later. I unpacked some (and, uh…packed some) and put the 7″ on my turntable to clean up my house and get back into the swing of things. What came out of the speakers, though, shocked me! It sounded like the most incredible sludge I’d ever heard: super heavy guitars, a brooding, deep voice and a mix so crushed with compression it was as if the cymbals were trying to claw their way out of tweeters.

But for all of the things it did sound like, there was one thing it did not sound like at all: punk. It was just too slow. Significantly too slow, in fact. I texted Ana telling her how much I adored the 7″, how “unique” the band sounded, and thanked her once more. She must have been confused by my text. I couldn’t believe I had missed this band.

Having decided that I now knew about the sickest group nobody else in L.A. knew about, I played the 7″ for everyone who came to my house. The reactions to it matched mine for the most part; everything from “whoa, weird” to “yeah, man, that’s heavy.” But one reaction caught me off guard:

“Is their singer Black?”

It might sound like a ridiculous, misguided question (who cares, right?) but the singer’s voice was so deep and different, so unfamiliar for a rock n’ roll song that even with a deep pantheon of incredible Black rock singers, it seemed a legitimate thing to ask.

I was pretty sure everyone in The Points was not Black, but I double-checked the 7″ sleeve just to be sure.

“Nope, they look pretty white to me,” I told my friend. He furrowed his brow, questioning my judgement, and made his way over to the turntable where he looked closely at the record kicking out The Points’ defiant jams: “Rock…Roll…NO RULES!”

My buddy took the needle off the deck and looked at me like I was his four-year-old child.

“Come on, dude. You’re playing it on the wrong speed.”

EUREKA! What an idiot. We laughed and I understood at last why this great “punk” band sounded so unpunk.

When we sped the record up to normal speed it was still very cool, don’t get me wrong, but to me it wasn’t as innovative. I had been listening to “chopped and screwed” punk music for three months and loving every second of it. I had become The Points de facto West Coast PR agent and I wasn’t ready to quit my day job.

I decided right then and there that before my time as a musician was up I would coin a new genre where I would record turbo-charged, two-minute punk songs only to slow them down to 33RPM before releasing them, never letting ANYONE hear the 45RPM versions.

It was a new genre. Uncharted waters. ROBITUSSIN ROCK.”
—Steve Cooper 

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