13 Years of Sex, Satan and Hamster Sandwiches
Wednesday 16 July @ 11:59:20
Quincy Punx Tell Us Where To Put It One Last Time
By Donny “Q” Doane
Photos by Tanya De Priest
Praise the Lord! It brings me great joy to herald the highly anticipated if not frequently aborted reunion of St. Paul’s most beloved low-budget booze hounds, the Quincy Punx. That’s right fellow faithful, we’re in for a treat of which we haven’t partaken in three years or more, and it couldn’t come at a more perfect time. What with the lingering lament of Flim Flam Man’s disbanding, we sorely deserve a summer surprise to send the squeamish scrambling to their condos as well as for their lives. Better break out the riot gear for this one, because if they launch into “Pig Roast,” you can bet they aren’t singing about barbecuing a skewered squealer, although squealers should be afraid.
In a largely gutless scene, the Punx have always played by their rules. They thumbed their noses at private college prog/art bands and could’ve cared less about current musical trends or the dandy darlings engineering them. Since the Punx are tight bros of yours truly, all the fine memories are flooding back, and this night should prove to be a kick-ass celebration and retelling of their colorful history. I myself could write a novella about the Q.T. I spent with Q.P. And although I’ll dip into a bit of it here, I’ll be saving most of it for the night of the show.
As luck would have it, the reunion marks the 13th anniversary of a saga that stretches back to a period in these parts where the music industry shone in all its stockyard-like ugliness. Everybody seemed to be clamoring for the brass ring of success (i.e., a major label contract), the result of which was more often than not disillusionment and summary dismissal from the majors that picked them up. Most bands of the day received only half-assed promotion and abysmal record sales from their major label forays. Herein lies the danger of being a hometown hero. If you’re a big shooter around here, it seems you’re a peashooter everywhere else. Whether the Punx instinctively knew this or not, they didn’t give a rat’s ass about it. Though never widely embraced by the majority of the local scene, they did go on to enjoy a wider fan base around the country and beyond, due largely to their tireless D.I.Y. ethic, which included releasing their own records with the help of California indie label Recess Records and extensive touring which they booked themselves.
They started as a bunch of scruffy Highland Park Kids who could just barely play their instruments—a tradition around here anyway, and in their case a good thing—and I’m happy to report that not much has changed. Yet for anyone who knows and loves them, technical prowess never figured into the Quincy Punx’s appeal to begin with. The Punx were always truly about only one thing, good friends having a good time together, with themselves being among the first and foremost they intended to please.
The Q.P.s nearly predated the wholesale slaughter of punk, lived through it as though it never happened and emerged from the other side intact and unchanged. While Cobain, Vedder and Co. were being hailed as the voices of their generation, Q.P. plowed through both the former and the latter with equal parts humor and disdain, as is evidenced by their retort, “Nuke Seattle.” They didn’t care what anybody else thought and were more than happy to offend any and all who didn’t get the joke.
My own relationship with the Punx began in 1995 when I joined a band with whom they shared a practice space. During my “try out,” founding member, guitarist Bob Q., came by to check it out. After the session, we all hung out and eventually Bob and I realized we had met each other some eight years before on the bus.
The My America 7" artwork, a mid-90's split release with the Rejects
“Hey,” Bob asked. “You used to take the #3, right?”
“Yeah, man.” I replied. “I was about to ask you the same thing, I totally remember you.”
Bob and I were a couple of ratty long hairs on a route that ferried all the clean and pretties from corporate downtown to their respective prosaic and respectable neighborhoods up on the low slump of a brow that is the Summit/Grand area. It’s no wonder we eventually picked each other out from the crowd and got to talking, namely about music.
After I had moved, I no longer took that same route, so I didn’t see Bob again until the aforementioned night, but a few years after having first met him, I did come to hear of a St. Paul band known as the Quincy Punx. And though some of what I heard wasn’t so good, the name still intrigued me. In considering the sources from which my reports stemmed, I figured if they’re that bad according to so-and-so and such-and-such, they just might have some charms after all, hence my intrigue remained on simmer. As they say, the rest is history.
The core of the band consists of Bob on guitar, Mike Q. on drums and Dave Q. on vocals. (Note: all last names have been withheld to protect the idiots.) They churned through more bass players than Spinal Tap did drummers with a grand total of nine spanning their 13-year run. Five of these will reprise their respective roles in the band on the night of the show, and Number Ten will also make an appearance, more as a joke than anything serious. And for those who know ‘em, the word “serious” is nonexistent in the realm of the Quincy Punx. This was more than apparent when we got together for the hangout session, because even though all their lives are markedly different from the old days, it still proves the timeworn adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same. So as the beer and shots flowed, I found the guys in fine form despite the passage of time and its accompanying inactivity. In fact, only a week before our meeting they played an impromptu opening set at Big V’s, so anybody worried about whether they’ve mellowed can rest assured that they’ll tear through their set with all the energy, zeal and humor that has earned them gutter punk super-stardom. As Mike said onstage that night, “Just so you know, we all still hate each other,” which is a lie. On the other hand, if he had said that they love each other, well, that could be a lie, too.
Lyrics to the song My America
On the night of the “interview,” the last official active lineup with Number Nine bass guy Troy Q. was present. The purpose was rather simple—to get any remaining background info they thought would be relevant and to see if there was anything they’d like people to know before finally tying the whole thing off. We started at a popular Minneapolis dump by occupying its best booth with backs to wall, eyes on the door. Before long they were arguing about any number of things ranging from the conceal/carry law to other political knee-jerk pap. Unbeknownst to them, the tape was already running.
“So when does the interview start?” asks Bob.
“Yeah,” says Mike, “ask us some fuckin’ questions.”
“We’re rolling,” I explain.
“Aw, fuck,” returns Mike. “You’re not gonna print any of that shit are ya?”
“All right,” declares Bob, “interview’s over.”
After a couple rounds, we decided to head back to St. Paul to one of our old haunts and resume the business at hand. Once comfortably settled, they explained the reasons behind the show. The last time they played publicly was in 1999 with a few attempts at a reunion in the interim that never panned out. This, of course, has left many fans hungry for more.
“Basically,” explains Mike, “the whole idea is to have one last show and never have to play again just get people off our fucking backs.”
“Exactly,” finishes Dave.
“Fine. Here you go,” Mike continues. “We’ll fucking play again because I’m sick of hearing ...”
Here, the entire band breaks into mock whining and wailing of fans making tearful entreaties to just play again already. “Wah, you guys never play!” cries Bob. “I can’t finish puberty until I see you play just one more time.”
“So here you go,” says Mike again, “all wrapped up in one big, fancy-ass burrito. Now leave us alone and go rediscover somebody else.”
“Yeah. Judas Priest.” Dave says then pauses. “Greatest band EVER.”
“Oh geez,” says Mike shaking his head. “Give us more questions because we have no content without ‘em.”
“Yeah,” says Bob. “Unless you’re just gonna tape us while we sit around and get drunk, but that might not turn out so great either.”
“You want details?” asks Mike.
“I don’t know,” I answer. “Whatever you think the kids want to know.”
“The kids don’t give a fuck,” says Dave.
“Can the kids read?” asks Troy.
“I hate kids,” continues Dave.
“Good thing you don’t have any, isn’t it,” Mike returns.
“Exactly,” laughs Dave.
“However, you still have to mow your own lawn,” reminds Mike. “And that’s not a metaphor.”
“I like mowing my lawn,” answers Dave.
“It takes him back to the early years of the band,” explains Bob.
“Don’t you like mowing your lawn?” asks Dave.
“Metaphorically, yes,” answers Mike.
“No, I mean actually the fact of mowing your own lawn,” continues Dave. “Isn’t that cool?”
“I like the fact that I have a lawn to mow, both metaphorically and realistically,” returns Mike, “but it can be a pain in the ass when I get off work and have to go back to work and I gotta squeeze in mowing the fuckin’ lawn. By the way,” he continues, “for anyone reading [Pulse], three-quarters of the Quincy Punx are now homeowners, and one half of us are still actively playing music.”
“Does that leave us out?” asks Dave.
“Absolutely,” answers Bob.
Bob goes on to explain that he’s now playing bass in a Mentors cover band called The Four F Club, while Mike plays with The Unstuck and possibly might be playing guitar with the Ed Gein Fan Club in the near future.
“Would you like to know about the show before you run out of fucking batteries?” asks Mike.
“Shoot,” I say.
“Okay, here’s the deal,” he continues. “Quincy Punx are playing a show. We got Bob, Dave, Troy and myself playing the whole show and there will be guest appearances by ex-Quincy Punx bass players because we had nine of them. Four others will be playing. We have Kyle, Greg, Blake and Frank who will playing as well.”
What follows is a brief rundown and history of participating bass players:
Number One is Greg Q. who had to leave the band for health reasons; Number Six is Kyle Q., who according to Dave, “was our first actual bass player.” Number Seven is Frank who left the band after one tour; Number Eight is Blake, whose RAT pedal was his undoing. However, for the show, the band wants him to plug into as many pedals as possible; and finally, Number Nine is Troy, who is deathly afraid of cephalopods.
“My wife says it’s an irrational fear,” says Troy.
“It is,” I tell him.
“No it’s not,” he continues. “They wrap around your head and suck your brains out. Why do you think they have beaks?”
“Whatever, dude,” I say. “You live on dry land.”
Aside from getting together to play, the band will be selling off any remaining merch and records in stock. They hope to post a Web site so fans can download anything they ever recorded for free. There will be beer bongs at the drunk show, but not the early all-ages show. They even scored a beer sponsorship to better facilitate such debauchery. And since they bothered to do this one last time, they’ll also be playing the 16th anniversary of vinyl merchant/KFAI DJ Earl Root’s radio show The Root of All Evil at 1st Ave./7th St. Entry, Sun., Aug. 3.
After bar close, the night quickly unraveled on the street into All-Star Wrestling and a sand bag toss that left your dedicated reporter with an elbow injury. Back inside, as we wrapped up the interview I ask if there’s anything else they’d like to offer posterity.
“I was a DICK on tour,” says Dave.
“We’re old and fat and used to be punk rockers,” concludes Mike.
“Yeah,” Dave finishes, “but I was the last one to get fat.”
Quincy Punx play the Triple Rock Social Club Fri. July 25 at 5 p.m. w/Code 13 and Benumb, all-ages; and 9 p.m. w/Falcon Crest and Dysrhythmia, I.D. only. Cover is $7.