Punk trio to play at Fitzgeralds

HealthJane's Addiction (music group)John ColtraneMike Watt

Over the last half-century, pop musicians have come up with all kinds of stylistic fusions – country-blues, folk-rock and so on.

Still, no musical stew may be more unlikely than the one whipped up by Hellride, the three-man supergroup coming to Fitzgeralds on Saturday.

The band, which consists of former members of Jane's Addiction, Porno for Pyros and the Stooges, takes classic punk tunes and meshes them with long, jazzlike improvisation in the style of John Coltrane.

In other words, it takes songs meant to be short, fast and tight and stretches them out to eight or nine minutes.

"I'm not afraid to stretch things out if it doesn't sound boring or repetitive," said drummer Stephen Perkins, who sometimes glances at the faces of the audience and his bandmates to determine whether to continue a jam. "Listen to the original version of the Doors' 'Light My Fire.' There's, like, an eight-minute solo. Those guys are going for it. And to me, that's a punk-rock attitude."

Hellride came together a decade ago when Perkins, bassist Mike Watt and guitarist Peter DiStefano, who mostly recently had been three of the four members of Porno for Pyros, began jamming together at home. The band performs strictly live and writes no original songs, taking all of its material from the Stooges' songbook.

The typical formula, Perkins said, is to perform one verse and chorus and then improvise from there.

Even without a stack of CDs to promote the band, Hellride still amasses a loyal following, said Fitzgeralds owner Greg Coleman.

The band has played at his venue twice before and packed the house both times, he said.

"They're a big deal," Coleman said of Hellride. "People go out of their way to come see them."

Saturday's show will feature opener Evil Twins.

He reserved special praise for Watt, famous for his work as a solo artist and with Firehose, whom he called the best bassist he had ever seen.

"He just beats on it like crazy," Coleman said. "Just the speed he plays it with is incredible."

With the band members often involved in full-time projects – Watt still plays with the Stooges, Perkins with Jane's Addiction – Hellride fits in just four or five shows a year. When an opportunity arises, though, Perkins is happy to take it.

"As a player, you want to get better every day," he said. "You want to get better every show. You don't want to repeat yourself."

If You Go

Who: Hellride, Evil Twins

Where: Fitzgeralds, 19171 Magnolia St., Huntington Beach

When: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday

Cost: $10 presale, $12 day of show

Information: (714) 968-4523

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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HealthJane's Addiction (music group)John ColtraneMike Watt
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