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Lyrics are ‘challenging,’ Buzz Poets’ album warns

By Joe Pinchot Herald Staff Writer
Sharon Herald
January 13, 2000

The Buzz Poets’ new album “Pretzel Sex” not only carries a parental advisory warning sticker, but the first sounds that play are stock voices warning that the recording is “challenging” and the listener will hear “more than one unpleasant surprise.”

Aside from the lyrics, which get raunchy on a couple of songs, the music is not for the faint of heart. Styles veer from rap-metal-jazz-punk-techno-jungle on “Rollercoaster Ride,” which also features some classical guitar, and the Beach Boys-style chorus of “Barbie Q” to the piano-guitar ballad “Candy Raindrops” and the disco tune “One More Dance.”

“We have an anything that goes attitude,” explained Tim Gaber, the three-year-old band’s manager, who slipped onto stage playing bass two years ago.

“We’re all influenced by all these different styles. Instead of trying to do one thing we wanted to be honest.”

The Pittsburgh-based band’s honesty frequently makes for some goofy songs, Gaber said. In the rocker “Copenhagen Girl,” the band sings “Watching football on Sunday afternoons and we’d always share the same spittoon.” The poor guy in “Clone” laments of a lost love: “She’s run away to find my clone.”

Gaber promised that close listening to other songs will reveal deeper meanings.

The band, which plays at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Hot Rod Cafe, Sharon, has somewhat of a split personality, taking one approach when it records and a second when it plays live.

“I would say they’re two different animals,” Gaber said. “The way we look at the studio is, ‘what does the song call for?’ If it calls for a trumpet or some female backup vocals we do it. Live, we do an interpretation that works. We’ll even change tempos.”

Buzz Poets have found a receptive audience up and down Route 79. The band has sold 10,000 copies of its three albums, with 2,000 copies of “Pretzel Sex” selling in its first five week of release.

“Pretzel Sex” is what the band has built up to over three years, Gaber said. “On the first two we didn’t have a budget,” he said. “This one, we were able to spend some money and spend some time. We’re really happy with how it came out.”

The band was even able to afford to produce 1,000 “clean” copies of “Pretzel Sex,” meaning the potentially offensive language is edited out. It’s a common practice for major-label bands who want their recordings stocked at Wal-Mart and other retailers that won’t sell recordings with warning stickers on them.

Buzz Poets won the 1998 Pittsburgh Graffiti Rock Challenge and toured the eastern United States and Canada on the 1999 Vans Warped Tour. A year ago, the band beat out 5,000 other bands in the Ernie Ball/Vans Warped Tour International Battle of the Bands, which culminated in a show in Los Angeles. The band makes a return trip to L.A. Feb. 3 to host the next Ernie Ball competition and end its year-long reign with a concert.

“The band’s game plan has always been to create a compelling enough story to track the best people in the industry,” Gaber said.

For Gaber, that means that he soon hopes to give up the band’s managing duties and concentrate on bass.

“I’m tired,” he said. “There’s so much to do. It just can’t be done by one person.”

The band’s recordings are available at Waves Music, Hermitage, or over the Internet at:

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© Kimberly S. Grimm 2001
Last updated August 28, 2002