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Stanford Prison Experiment Keeping That Creative Edge

Fri., Dec. 15, 1995, midnight

We’ve been in the era of the guitar rock bands for quite some time now.

The country is swimming in aggressive guitar bands, sometimes tagged as punk, alternative, scrunge or pop.

And you’d think with the glut of guitar-oriented bands piercing the mainstream that there would be no shortage of fertile ideas.


Most rock bands offer little more than the pathetic image-conscious metal bands from the 1980s.

However, there are a few bands, like L.A.’s Stanford Prison Experiment, hovering on the outskirts of the mainstream rock quenching listeners’ thirst for music that doesn’t succumb to trendy conventions.

Stanford Prison Experiment, which plays the Zoo in Pullman tonight, fires out edgy, uniquely crafted rock that constantly twists and turns and treads similar ground as Tar, the Jesus Lizard and Hammerhead. SPE’s sophomore effort “The Gato Hunch” on World Domination Records best exemplifies this.

Like those bands, SPE packs in just enough noise and dissonance to alienate listeners begging for immediate gratification. “The Gato Hunch” requires more than just a couple of superficial listens.

Because of its lack of pop sensibilities, SPE hasn’t really captured a wide audience in this country except its home town.

At the moment, the quartet is a band’s band. The group’s biggest fans seem to be Quicksand, Rage Against the Machine and the Jesus Lizard.

All three bands have taken SPE on the road with them for extensive tours. In addition, both Quicksand, which recently split up, and the Jesus Lizard had the foursome accompany them on their European tours.

SPE recently returned home from a European stint with Primus, during which the four played consistently before audiences of 1,000 to 3,500 people.

Whether SPE will ever break through is hard to say. Certainly, the band’s off to a good start with an ambitious tour ethic, two good albums and plenty of good ideas to mine.

Showtime at the Zoo is 8 p.m. (Opening bands and admission price were unavailable at press time.)

Elsewhere in the night

Veteran Spokane band Safe Sax, a mainstay at Ankeny’s at the Ridpath Hotel, recently added a new vocalist.

Local singer Nancy Sophie Emerson, who has appeared in several area musicals, now fronts the band.

Safe Sax plays the rooftop lounge today, Saturday and Tuesday through Thursday.

Seattle’s Culture Violet, a three-piece funk band, plays Outback Jack’s on Saturday.

The band features former Spokane resident Jason Shumaker.

Opening bands and the cover charge were not available at press time. Music starts at 9:30 p.m.

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