Hale Zukas

Thurs Nov 20


Hale Zukas played the "Fuck Shit Up House" in Cedar Falls, Iowa, but were a little disappointed. "We were so looking forward to it," explains bassist John Benson. "Playing at the Fuck Shit Up House, we thought it was going to be so crazy. But we got there and everyone was so well behaved and straight edge! We didn't see a single can of beer! Everyone was just standing there with their arms crossed, just smiling at us," he giggles.

There must have been mutual good feelings at the Fuck Shit Up House, because Hale Zukas, a band from Oakland that plays clanky, linear, loopy-rhythm tunes on the organ, guitar, bass, and drums, says their express purpose is to make positive music. "A lot of bands are dark, and I think that's great," says Benson, "but we're not very good at doing that. It makes me feel self-conscious if I'm trying to be all art damaged. I think bands like Lightning Bolt are really inclusive, but we're really into the Beach Boys, cause they're about the positivity."

Not all sandy harmonies and bonfire party tunes, Hale Zukas' music is more like the sitar era of the Beatles, imbued with a hint of disjointed psychedelia, like if Sonic Youth--or fellow Bay Area band Curtains--had a gamelan stage. It's crazy euphoric, with occasional improvisational parts and guitar-scrapers, both epic and kid-like, extra neat and confounding, with humming, onomatopoeic man-vocals. They used to be called Creepy Crawly Claw when they had a trombone player (CCC's lone Portland show was a notorious party, which also featured an Orc metal band who dyed their skin green). With the Hale Zukas incarnation, though, the trio's getting really ambitious. According to Mark, who also drums in a SF metalcore quartet called Burmese, "We're working on a piece based loosely around a musical Mass. We were talking about just grabbing a bunch of people from the neighborhood to use as a gospel choir." Hale Zukas' Pet Sounds, perhaps?