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The Briefs – Just Like the White Winged Dove…The Briefs’ Steve E. Nix Speaks Out

The Briefs

If you’re real nice to Glenn Plake, he’ll tell you a little story about his pre-punk past. The part-time whack job, full-time extreme sports enthusiast wasn’t always the tallest Mohawk on the Mountain. In fact, there was a time when Plake walked the streets with wavy blond hair and, get this, three Izod shirts—all with the collars turned up. You laugh, but don’t forget there are kids wearing socks on their arms these days. In truth, Plake’s leap from Izods and Swatch watches to vinyl pants and a 12-inch ‘hawk isn’t all that shocking. He hadn’t so much crossed a line as he had extended his attitude to its outermost boundaries. In short, Plake’s transformation speaks to the strange, symbiotic relationship between punk and new wave.

Those who came of age in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s witnessed the evolution first hand. They watched The Specials become The Fun Boy Three and The Beat become General Public; they saw Joy Division morph into New Order and The Sex Pistols evolve into Public Image Ltd. And somewhere in the middle of it all, where Sid Vicious met Max Headroom, punk and new wave became fitting cousins, if not happy siblings. It’s not a hard concept to grasp really. After all, Devo and The Ramones really aren’t that far apart.

Although not an original product of punk’s seminal days, The Briefs are perhaps the living, breathing modern monolith of the era. Think Pretty In Pink with dysentery or Jello Biafra as an OP model—old enough to remember the angst of the ‘70s, young enough to embrace the quirkiness of the ‘80s.

Thank god for The Briefs.

It only takes one listen of its new release, Sex Objects (to be released June 29), to fully appreciate this blend of hate and humor. By track #2—”Halfsize Girl”—you’ll be nodding you head in understanding, praising the fact that what you’re hearing is not another teenage lullaby set to bouncy guitars played by bouncier bandmates donning the latest Hot Topic couture.

You’ll also appreciate The Briefs’ ability to pull off its retro new wave punk vibe without being nauseatingly cliché or void of any originality. Guitarist/vocalist Steve E. Nix spoke to Kaffeine Buzz from the road to discuss the evolution of the band, their role in today’s music scene and the fruits of their labor.

Kaffeine Buzz: Today’s market is pretty much a glut of crappy bands, so it’s nice to see something refreshing like The Briefs come along.

Steve E. Nix: Well, we love punk rock. We love old punk rock and everything about it you know? And that’s where our influences lie for sure, but at the same time we’re trying to do something innovative. We don’t want to sound just like some band from 1978 out of Australia. I think we’re kind of a melting pot of our influences and we try to make it our own thing. It’s a contrast to a lot of the music that’s going on right now. It’s like, “How many different versions of NOFX can you stomach?” And that’s not to diss them at all, but there are so many bands that are just cookie-cutter versions of that. Not much creativity or soul.

KB: Now, you guys are a little older, so the ‘70s scene was more a part of your generation than it was for today’s young bands. Would you attribute today’s rash of generic bands to their lack of familiarity with punk’s roots?

SEN: I don’t know man. That’s just the way the world works. I think everything gets homogenized. If I was 15, maybe I’d be playing the same shit as all these other kids, because I’d be doing it because I’d want to be popular and get laid. I just know what I like and what I don’t like, you know? We don’t go around slamming other bands or saying things like “You guys suck. You aren’t really punk.” We grew up listening to The Adolescents and TSOL. Mostly, the Southern California stuff was popular because we lived on the West Coast in Seattle. And then we just naturally got into the old English stuff and New York stuff.

KB: Do you see The Briefs as having the ability to help the music industry transcend the status quo?

SEN: Our main concern is we want to make our mark, just like any other band. On this tour, we’ve run into a lot of kids starting new bands who have told us that we inspire them. Not to toot our own horn or anything, but to me that’s pretty fulfilling. That means you’re making a difference and doing something worthwhile.

KB: You guys have been busy to say the least. You’ve released several 7-inches, a few full-length albums, tracks on a skate video, and you even have your own skateboard. What more could you want?

SEN: I don’t know man. That’s about as good as it gets to me [laughs]. We grew up with skateboarding and punk rock. Now all of a sudden we’re on skate vids with the coolest punk rock skate company out there, and have our own deck by a company that makes handmade skateboards. And we get kids coming up to us at shows with really bad hair cuts and ugly-ass sunglasses with beat-up ties telling us they’re starting their own band. So it’s like, “Yeah, what else could you ask for?”

Quite simply, the world could ask for more bands like The Briefs. Check them out live when they come to town for two dates. The band will play the BlueBird Theater on June 28 with The GEDS and The Symptoms, and The Aggie Theater in Ft. Collins on June 29 with Lars Frederiksen & The Bastards and The Horror Pops.


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