The women of Say Revenge! — half of the co-ed foursome — are the type that, no matter what they say to you, always seem on the verge of laughter.
Singer Christina Rodriguez and guitarist Maria Benavides cut each other off constantly, unable to control their excitement when talking about Rough Night, Sugar? It is the first album by the band that, under a different lineup, used to be called Brass Knuckle Betties. After two members left, original bassist Chris Compean and drummer Eddie Gutierrez, along with Rodriguez, decided to change the band’s name. So there was a vote.
“They wanted to change the name and I didn’t, but I got outvoted,” said Benavides. “Say Revenge! was the only name we could really agree on, and it’s also the first song Christina and me worked on together, ever. We just thought it was funny — Say Revenge! is kind of cute.”
Nothing wrong with Brass Knuckle Betties. But Say Revenge! also has a nice ring to it and, judging by the sound of the album (to be released Friday at Nightrocker Live), they could’ve been called The Fun and The Furious, for all I care.
In just under 32 minutes, the band delivers 12 fast tracks averaging less than three minutes each in a pop-punk fest that includes gems like “Tell Your Boyfriend I Said Thanks” (“He was alright,” says the chorus) and the single “Everyone Likes Zombies,” complete with a Night of the Living Dead-like video that cost $50 to make. What stands out is not simply raw power, but the fact that the band is having the fun of their lives and won’t let any limitations stop them.
While Rodriguez is a hell of a singer, the band’s calling card is Benavides’ guitar work. She’s not Stevie Ray Vaughn, but she grooves. She has swing and rhythm. She knows where it’s at, and she knows what she can and can’t do. “We’re not just trying to make it perfect,” said Benavides. “With the album we got the point across. I think it was good and shows that we can laugh at ourselves when we mess up. And we mess up a lot.”
But the band won’t sacrifice any artistic aspirations under the pretext of DIY spirit — whatever Say Revenge! can do, they want to do it right. “These girls mean business,” says Compean, the bassist. “I’ve been around, and in other bands people get lazy and it’s hard getting them to practice. But these girls are [responsible]. That’s what I like about them.”
Not only did they go for a full album instead of an EP — they even got Tattooed Boy to design the cover and inner sleeve, complete with lyrics for all the songs. “It wasn’t easy to do this, we’re new at it,” said Rodriguez about the making of the album. “But I’ve noticed that if you ask and pick people’s brains, some people help you and some don’t. We thank those who help us. The others? Fuck those motherfuckers.”
“We’ll remember,” agrees Benavides on the verge of laughter, as usual.
“If men rock out with their cocks out, we jam out with our clam out,” says Rodriguez. “We’re doing it because it’s fun and we want it to stay fun, so a lot of what we do is shit talking. That’s it: pure shit talking.” And beer drinking. But for the CD release party, Rodriguez made a promise: no booze for a month prior to the event (she drank Scotch during the interview, while Maria sucked Red Bull).
“I’m not going to drink beer as a reward to myself,” said Rodriguez. “When the CD is released I can have that beer. I might have a few the day of the show. This is the goal: I will not taste beer until our first song ends.”
Benavides is skeptical.
“I don’t know if you can last that long.” •
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When she is not "Gigi Rodden, The Stuntwoman," the singer of Say Revenge! is known as Christina Rodriguez, hostess of The Garage, a WOAI webcast updated every Wednesday. Last May, the show celebrated its first anniversary with a concert at the Limelight featuring Pop Pistol, the Heroine, Yes Inferno!, The River City All Stars, and Chisme. "Doing the booking myself made it a bit of a struggle, since I was new to the scene and didn't know very many bands," Rodriguez said. "So it was really hard to get a start."
But little by little, the webcast developed and became a welcome outlet for both established and up-and-coming local bands of all genres. The show, taped in the station's prop room/garage (hence the name), typically features two songs and a short interview. "The equipment we use is all owned by WOAI studios," Rodriguez said. "We try to capture a live intimate performance as you would see at any other venue. It not only gives the viewers a chance to hear a new or favorite band, but you get to know the band a little better. That's my favorite part."
"A lot of work has been put into this, and I'm so proud that it has continued this long," she said, quick to give credit were credit is due. "If it wasn't for the support from the community and my web guy, Bob Gambert, as well as Jerrod Kingery [the voice of Resistor, a robot that serves as the show's mascot], I don't think any of this would have ever happened."
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