Monday, February 23, 2009

Fontana's Losing Streak

“So I guess I should tell you about our stupidity,” Fontana guitarist/vocalist Paul DeRochie relents with a deep sigh. “Oh man, people aren’t going to feel bad for us at all.”

The pains of touring can be immense. Where will you sleep at night? Is the weather going to warrant the roads undrivable? Will you get paid? Is your shit safe? A momentary lapse in these paranoiac states of frenzied thinking and you could be looking at a situation similar to that of Detroit punks, Fontana.

“We were standing in 7/11 and Colin (Simon Fontana’s Drummer) and Geoff (Ives Fontana’s bassist) come up behind us and say, ‘Did you guys load the stuff out of the car?’” Derochie recalls of the group’s January trip to Philadelphia. “My heart just sank. I already knew what happened.”

After loading the band’s gear out into their touring vehicle, the band delayed leaving the City of Brotherly Love for a few hours. In that time, their car was broken into and everything from hand-built guitars, amps, drums, records and birth certificates were stolen. “It was a professional job. They had the tools to break the lock. They staked it out and knew what to get,” DeRochie says. “They didn’t waste time on shit like drum seats.”

It’s been a hard road for Fontana in the past few months, aside from the group’s gear getting stolen in Philly, they were also involved in a car crash that left DeRochie’s prized Mercury Tracer for dead. “We just played this show in Ohio, it was a Friday night and it was only a five hour ride back to Detroit,” DeRochie says. “We figured we would make it home that night and than just rest up on Saturday.”

As the boys pressed crossed another county line, snow began to fill up the road, which had not been prepared prior to the onset of the powdery white stuff. Cars were spinning out left and right, the group tried to navigate themselves, but ultimately they hit another car. “I just looked over at Geoff and his face was all bloody. An ambulance had to come,” DeRochie says. “Geoff’s parents were nice enough to come pick us up. It was my mom’s birthday and I had to call her and tell her we just got in the really bad accident. ‘Happy Birthday Mom.’”

Fontana, who plays a brand of punk that mixes free jazz with ‘80s American hardcore, will be playing a show February 26 at PJ’s Lager House with X! Records label mates, Terrible Twos. While Derochie, Ives and Simon have insisted it not be, the bands friends have suggested that all proceeds go to the band in order to get new gear. “It would be bull shit for me to put one together for myself,” DeRochie says. “I don’t really feel right about it now even though we aren’t putting it on, but I feel a little better at the same time knowing people want to support us.”

Fontana/2-26/PJ's Lager House

4 Stars
“Not A Leg To Stand On” b/w “Miss Calhoun”
Milk n’ Herpes Records

Recorded at DNA Studios while on tour in Lincoln, Nebraska, Fontana’s brand new seven inch from Milk n’ Herpes Records is nothing short of a slap in the face. The A-side, titled “Not A Leg To Stand On” meshes a choppy Chuck Berry riff into all out punk rock rage fest complete with Black Flag background vocals. It sort of makes me feel like punching someone in the face, but then, the breakdown comes. A bit of that “early R.E.M.” dream-pop sound that most indie rock bands dream of trying to encapsulate, but Fontana nails it in the matter of ten seconds. Then, it’s back to the rage.

On the flip side, Geoff Ives leads the sonic assault of “Miss Calhoun,” which features the Fontana formula of “fast then slow and repeat,” that has worked so well in the past. Paul DeRochie’s guitar is the hallmark of this track with shredability that can’t be deemed lame. In addition, Fontana’s lyrics are also one of their strongest attributes. “Every time she touched me/I was glad to be alive” dares you to wonder just who Miss Calhoun is/was.

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