The Musicians of !!!: Making Their Own 'Myths' The nine-member band !!! has a raucous, rollicking sound, and a name that's open to interpretation. The bi-coastal band met in a dingy basement in Nashville, Tenn., to record its latest CD, Myth Takes.
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The Musicians of !!!: Making Their Own 'Myths'

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The Musicians of !!!: Making Their Own 'Myths'

The Musicians of !!!: Making Their Own 'Myths'

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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The nine-member band !!! (pronounced "chic-chic-chic") has a raucous, rollicking sound.

(Soundbite of music)

SEABROOK: This is from third album titled "Myth Takes." And the band has to get creative to record it. See, the band members live thousands of miles apart -more on that in a minute. !!! came through Washington this week and we hopped on their tour bus to have a chat.

It's a big bus but for nine band members, sleeping bunks line the sides, floor to ceiling, and in back, stray vocalists and percussionists sprawl in the leather couch watching television.

For this interview, we settled on just two of the band members, singer Nic Offer and guitarist Mario Andreoni. And the first question, always the first question with this band is about the name. !!! is actually written exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point. It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

Tell me about your name. Explain to the NPR audience how you pronounce three exclamation points. We're going to call you !!! but why?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. MARIO ANDREONI (Guitarist, !!!): The - you...

Mr. NIC OFFER (Vocalist, !!!): Come on. I've answered it more times than you have this year. Maybe I could do it faster. What do you want...

Mr. ANDREONI: You can do it faster.

Mr. OFFER: Okay. We wanted - we - when we started, we felt like we were making a totally new kind of music. We wanted something that separated us from all the other bands. We wanted something that stood out. So we - I mean, we took it from the bush language, which makes the sound cluck, cluck, cluck(ph) and we used it as that. But we weren't sure if everyone would be able to pronounce it, which was stupid because - of course, they can't. So we changed it to any three repetitive sounds of your choosing and so it's bam, bam, bam(ph), pow, pow, pow(ph).

(Soundbite of finger snapping and beatboxing)

Mr. OFFER: And somehow over the years, I think because we're always playing at punk clubs and you couldn't understand us over the P.A. so that thing that caught was chk, chk, chk. That's the only theory I have for why that particular one stuck.

SEABROOK: It also happens that you're almost impossible to search for in Google.

Mr. OFFER: I mean we were - this is done pre-Internet.

SEABROOK: What song on the new album, "Myth Takes," most, sort of, solidifies that, sort of, raucous nature for you guys?

Mr. OFFER: I would say either "All My Heroes Are Weirdoes" because we've always called - that's like our punkiest one kind of and that's...

Mr. ANDREONI: I always looked at that as our most Dead Kennedys that we've ever been.

(Soundbite of song, "All My Heroes Are Weirdoes")

Mr. OFFER: Tell them about the marching band.

Mr. ANDREONI: All right. Yeah. We were - I was driving home from work. I happened to drive past the school and there were these kids that were practicing in their drum corps and it gave me goose bumps when I was listening to them, and I was like, I have to try and get a hold of these kids to play on our record. And so I sent one of the guys in the band the next day to go to this high school. And so we arranged, like - three days later they came down to the studio and ended up recording, sort of, like piece by piece, like each section of the song, just three guys. And we just kind of, like, looped them over and over again so they were playing off of each other, sounding like an army.

(Soundbite of song, "All My Heroes Are Weirdoes")

SEABROOK: Even without the marching band !!! has nine members and that makes their sound big and wild, but it's also a challenge. Part of the band lives in Sacramento, California, the other in New York City. And so to record their new album, they gathered together in the middle, in an old rented house in Nashville, Tennessee. Nic Offer and Mario Andreoni describe their setup in the basement as cheap and crude.

Mr. ANDREONI: This looks like the place I want our record to be from, like, you know, it seems like you want to imagine, like, some dingy, like, that it's coming from other places and it was, like, deep in east Nashville in a dirty basement.

(Soundbite of song, "Myth Takes")

Mr. OFFER: (Singing) It only takes a little bit of glamour glimmer, only just a little bit of shake-or-shiver. Nothing never matters 'til it's shattered, spluttered and covered splattered all over my ass and sha, sha, sha sha sha-doobie. Sometimes it's really just like in the movies.

Mr. ANDREONI: You can hear it and people say that it's like, you know, there's like this, sort of, like scary, sort of spaghetti western-ish sound, kind of Kraut-rockish, and I think that at that point, that's exactly like what it sounded like.

(Soundbite of song, "Myth Takes")

Mr. OFFER: (Singing) It was a glimpse, little bit and nothing make a difference and nothing's been the same since the chain of events. It's the place where dreams come true. Dreams can still be nightmares too. And sha, sha, sha sha whoa whoa, so much it's close that we have to rock and roll.

Mr. ANDREONI: People come up to us and tell us, best show I've ever seen and -I remember the best show I've ever seen in - and it feels lucky to me is that we can be one of those bands that people talk about and people are really excited. I'm going to say the best show I've ever seen is either Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. I mean, Fugazi was life-changing and - so we like it strange and funky and raw.

SEABROOK: Strange and funky and raw, the music of !!!. Their new album is called "Myth Takes."

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