NIGHT LIFE : THE CLUB SCENE : It's Not Top 40 : Something for Nothing is carving a niche with a style that's intense--or diverse . . .or confused.

Intense. Dodgers, 150. Giants, 0. Top of the third inning, that's intense. Colonel Sanders chasing a flock of chickens; Roseanne Barr reaching for a sweetroll; Charles Manson as state director of tourism--pretty intense. Local rockers Something for Nothing are pretty intense too.

Fact is, when they play, singer/songwriter John Lombardo is so vein-bulging intense, you think he's going to explode, which would be quite messy and an amazing story.

In a recent interview with Lombardo and his roommate and bass player, Jason Bays, it's apparent they're doing what they want to do, well, almost.

"We've been hanging out together since we were little kids at Anacapa Junior High," Lombardo said. "Ever since we were 12 or 13, Jason, myself and our drummer, Steve Jensen, used to pretend we were a band."

"We've been together for about 2 1/2 years," Bays said. "We play two to four gigs per week and practice at least five hours per week. We all have day jobs and we'd all like to quit our jobs."

Something for Nothing recently released their first tape, "Static." It features slow ones, fast ones, in-between ones, all pretty, you know, intense.

"We're shopping our tape right now," Lombardo said. "We've got enough songs for at least two more albums. A company like Frontier, Restless or Enigma would be perfect for us. But the thing is, we're not going to compromise. If we were into just making money, we'd be doing Top 40."

"The local music scene is pretty tough," Bays said. "There's a lot of good bands and not really that many places to play. We do Charlie's, sometimes Hussing's and once in a while, the Ventura Theatre--that's about it for around here."

"Santa Barbara's got more clubs. We used to play The Grass Shack in Goleta with Toad the Wet Sprocket, and The I-Rails with about three people in the audience and all the beer we could drink. Now we're trying to get a gig at The Coconut Teazer in Hollywood so some industry people can check us out."

Citing influences as varied as XTC, Pink Floyd and Husker Du, how can the Something for Nothing sound be defined?

"Confused," said Bays.

"Diverse," said Lombardo. "We can be really mellow or do hard rockin' Led Zeppelin kind of stuff--and everything in between; our fans, mostly drunkards, seem to like it."

There's another side to Something for Nothing. In fact, the far side, in the form of Knight Diamond. "It's our satanic alter egos, which only surface every four or five months," Lombardo said.

Knight Diamond, same guys, different band and about as satanic as Beaver Cleaver saying "darn it."

They're just goofing off with Knight Diamond--a speed metal band that plays to warp 10 intensity and yet they're better than all those foofoo hair bands on MTV that are actually trying and making lots of money.

Anyway, Something for Nothing (and maybe Knight Diamond) will be performing, certainly with The Mudheads, at Charlie's in Ventura this Saturday night.

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