June 6, 1997 in Seven

Sickos Keep Their Day Jobs So They Can Cut Loose At Night

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Talk about your Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome.

It seems the members of Sicko are leading double lives.

By day, they masquerade as big-brained techno geeks with steady jobs.

By night they turn into pop punkers with tendencies toward silliness and sarcasm.

And then there’s singer/guitarist Ean Hernandez who … gasp! … collects tea sets.

Heaven only knows what other horrors lurk in the Sicko closet.

Maybe we’ll find out Saturday when their punk personas come out to play at Ichabod’s North.

“I think it’s very possible to be involved in a fun, hard-working, good-quality band that really puts out good music at the same time as having a cool career that’s fulfilling,” Hernandez says.

He and bandmate/drummer Josh Rubin both work as computer programmers at Saltmine Creative in Seattle, where they customize Internet web pages.

Singer/guitarist Denny Bartlett, who grew up in Spokane, works in technical support at a digital phone company.

“I’ve just never understood the mentality of ‘I’m going to push a broom at Burger King while I wait to be a rock star,”’ Hernandez says.

Don’t be fooled. This trio may be a bunch of techno joes, but they still know how to rock.

Sicko formed five years ago and has since kicked out three albums and several 7-inchers packed with catchy, punky tunes that wrap the guys’ goofy humor in tight melodic hyperactivity.

Clearly, with songs like “60 Pound Mall Rats” and “Dateless Losers” - not to mention an album named “Laugh While You Can Monkey Boy,” - these guys don’t take themselves too seriously.

In his song “Computer Geek” off Sicko’s latest album, “Chef Boy R U Dum,” Hernandez sings about his “techno weenie gig.”

The time has come to talk about the place I work/My name’s Ean and I’m a computer dork. … I answer questions that come as phone calls/ features, drivers, upgrades and net installs

Hernandez says he digs the dual existence for the freedom it allows them to make music on their own terms.

“We’re able to keep the music pure in a way. Make it about us and our lives, which is what it’s always been about, instead of trying to turn it into a way to make money,” he says. “It’s supposed to be fun, and it is fun.

“To make it into a career would suck. Then it really would become work.”

Not to say these guys don’t work hard at their music.

“We put in tons of hours, tons of time and sweat each line out,” Hernandez says.

Next month the Sickos will finish a fourth album they hope to release by October. A brand new three-song 7-inch will be available at Saturday’s show. Check out the cover art; the trio are all suited up for a tea party.

“I’ve got this strange fetish for English tea,” Hernandez confesses, explaining that his girlfriend first fostered the addiction.

Nowadays, he hosts tea parties as an alternative to the same ol’ drink-beer-with-the-buddies affair.

Surely it takes a strong man to admit such a thing - a man with nothing to hide.

Tea time starts at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Ichabod’s. The Jimmies and Quitters Inc. open. Cover is $4.

Sign on the dotted line

Looks like a group of our hometown boys are getting a shot at the big leagues.

If you haven’t heard already, the members of the rock quartet The Mayfield Four put their signatures on a contract with Epic Records Saturday.

This multialbum deal makes them only the second Inland Northwest-based rock band signed to a major record label.

The Mayfield Four, whose members all grew up in Spokane, play an engaging guitar groove with hints of Jeff Buckley. They plan to tour this summer and begin recording their first album by late summer or early fall.

It’s nice to see our Spokane sons getting a chance to put their music out on a national level. Now, what would be really cool is if the hometown crowd came to their show tonight and gave them some support. They deserve it.

The Mayfield Four headline at Outback Jack’s. Cry Manna and The Elements open. Show starts at 9:30. Cover is $5.

Eugene’s hippest swingsters, The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, also have struck a record deal.

Mojo Records, a division of Universal, will distribute the Daddies’ latest album “Zoot Suit Riot.” The album was previously released by the band’s own label.

Apparently the Mojo folks, who handle the likes of Reel Big Fish and Goldfinger, realized what we Northwest folks already knew: The swing/ska Daddies are a fantastic group with buckets full of talent and boundless energy.

The band will begin filming a video to the title track from “Zoot Suit Riot” this month. Mojo also will release the Daddies next album, due out in 1998.

Look for the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies to pop back into town the last weekend in July.

News you can use

Stand back everybody - Swackhammer’s is taking another whack at live music.

Starting tonight with one of the Northwest’s best-loved reggae bands - Jumbalassy - the nightclub on the North Side will begin opening the floor to bands on Fridays.

Imagine that - real human beings playing instruments instead of canned dance tunes.

Don’t get me wrong. Dance music is fine. But with the Northern Corner closed, it’s nice to see another venue opening up to living talent.

However, we’ll have to see how well it works out.

Swackhammer’s took a stab at live music more than a year ago. The turnout was dismal, and they quickly went back to their dance formula.

But new bar manager Mike Wilson says he’s dedicated to bringing quality acts to Swack’s Cadillac Club. (Wilson previously booked bands at Outback’s.)

“We want to bring bands here that don’t play all the time,” Wilson said, explaining that he’s trying to book acts like the Super Sonic Soul Pimps and the aforementioned Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.

“I want a show here every Friday; I want an event,” he says. “Our hope is that we can attract some people that have never been to Swackhammers.”

He also hopes to clean up the bar’s declining reputation. In the nine weeks since Wilson took over as manager, there hasn’t been a single fight, he said.

Swackhammers has a lot to offer both patrons and bands. With its 450-person capacity it is slightly larger than Outback Jack’s. And it offers hard licks to boot.

Check it out. Jumbalassy plays all night. Show starts at 9:30. Tickets are $8.

Moving on

The Heeters will play what is likely to be their last Fort Spokane Brewery gig tonight and Saturday.

The Spokane-based blues band plans to disband at the end of the summer. Front-man Chip Busch is graduating from college and heading into social work while the drummer, Steve Nelson, is leaving for Olympia. Their final show will be at Pig Out in the Park later this summer, Busch says.

Catch them at the brewery one more time tonight and Saturday at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $4.

The Pamela McGuire Quartet will be losing keyboardist Brent Edstrom but not before jazzing it up with him one more time Wednesday at Ankeny’s.

Edstrom is heading to South Carolina for a university professorship. Give him a listen before he takes off. Show starts at 8 p.m. There is no cover charge.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo


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