Bad Sports is like the punk band your little brother started that outwitted and out-shined your own punk band, if you had years to get used to the idea of this happening. The kids played in a fistful of other groups before getting together and you stood in the front row every time, narrowly missing more than a few concussions by drum stick/guitar neck/crowd surfer, because you craved the music.
You can't hate guitarist Orville Neeley, bassist Daniel Fried and drummer Gregory Rutherford for mastering the sunglasses-wearing, one-tone loving, playful insult spewing mosh party, because they seem so darn earnest. Their mission isn't ironic. Neeley and Fried sing their oh-oh-ohs with the earnestness of skateboarders playing their very first show at the venue they watched their heroes bow with volume, because at least one of the guys completed that rite of passage in the town where Bad Sports is based.
Follow the three members to practice spaces or search for their names on other records and you can draw a veritable map of punk rock in Denton: High Tension Wires (The Riverboat Gamblers' Mike Wiebe moonlights as frontman), Silver Shampoo, The Wax Museums, the Wiccans, Chief Death Rage, the Bleach Boys and Video are just the projects we know of. That scene will be cataloged on Denton, Denton USA!, a compilation by Play Pinball! Records (props to the Dallas Observer's Daniel Rodrigue for that tip.)
The disc isn't expected to drop until November, and Bad Sports sold out of the band's latest 7" All the Time on tour this summer. So the opening Free Week show at Rubber Gloves tonight is a must for fans and a homecoming of sorts for the guys.
We checked in with Bad Sports on the road a few weeks ago to get their impression of the faux house party that was the Dallas Observer Music Awards ceremony at the Granada (they were up for Best Punk Act and slayed on the living room set), gather some recommendations for cuisine they discovered on tour and to make sure no one lost a limb. Fried, who is in the annals of Rubber Gloves history for attempting pyrotechnics onstage, did the answering where noted. All other answers were decided democratically.
How do you think the fake house party went at the Dallas Observer Music Awards ceremony? We got robbed. 'Nuff said.
Daniel, what did that couch cushion on the side stage taste like? Better than anything that I know how to cook.
And Daniel, did you wear the Minnie Mouse-in-the-house t-shirt as an intentional reference to the awards show theme? No. It was the cleanest shirt that I had at the time.
The best meal? We went to a KFC buffet in Wisconsin. We all had about three plates each of just mashed potatoes. Either that or Pete's Pizza in Chicago.
The most serious injury? Daniel: Orville rolled up the window to the car which was where I was resting my head. My hair got caught in the window and I screamed like a 'tween girl at a Jonas Brothers concert until he rolled it back down.
Free Week opens at Rubber Gloves tonight with Fred Xeppelin & The Meatles, The Uptown Bums, Drug Mountain, and Bad Sports. Doors open at 9 p.m. And, if you haven't figured it out yet, you can keep your money. Check out the music video for Bad Sports' "All the Time" below.