An Afternoon Practice With Fort Lauderdale Punk Rockers Party Flag
Party Flag reminds us rock 'n' roll is far from dead.
Photo by teajayphoto
Mr. Entertainment is a South Florida musician and herald of the local scene since the 19-somethings and serves as the unofficial Musical Mayor of Hollywood.
I've been tasked with composing regular profiles from the local music scene in which I take up residence with the artists and report back my findings. For my first hang, I join forces with Fort Lauderdale's own grunge squelchers, Party Flag. My journey takes me to a band practice at Casa De Loose, home of drummer extraordinaire Chuck Loose.
So who makes up Party Flag, the group of rowdy, hardcore punk rockers playing shows all over South Florida? Here's what I pick up:
Vocalist Justine Iukine is from the Delray area, with some Ohio connections. She's a do-it-yourself daughter, a badass who's smart, funny, and dangerous — a lethal combination for a hardcore punk singer. She's also known as "Le Stinky" for her rule of stank in the tour van. She smokes Parliament cigarettes, drinks PBRs, and her preferred form of transportation is a bicycle.
Jared Earl is from Chicago by way of Washington, D.C., and now resides in Fort Liquordale — a straight-up, let-the-music-do-the-talking guitarist who plugs straight into his amp with a blasting concepts theory. He has affixed to his amp a mink stole gifted by a New Orleans transvestite for good luck. He smokes whatever cigarettes he can bum from a band mate, drinks PBRs proper, and only rides a bike.
Casidy Moser is a bassist who's part Dee Dee Ramone and part Paul Simonon but no poser and all Moser. I could write a novel of his family follies and the miscellaneous ramblings that drop from the mouth of this made-to-be-in-a-band kid. He's not ashamed to have shaken the hand of a 43-year-old monkey in front of Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor. He smokes L&M blues, drinks a PBR in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other, and prefers to skateboard.
Chuck Loose plays drums and helms as the band mom and its propagandist, a guy known for being late — except when the song counts in. Then this guy's timeclock never misses a beat. He calls off the set list like a field general and keeps the riff-raff in line. He's from Smokeland Park and smokes anything, drinks Boy Howdy beer, and rides on only two wheels.
Introductions out of the way, Party Flag are fresh off their Xmas Vacation Tour, which took them through Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Louisiana. Along the way, they played any welcoming venue, including someone’s kitchen. On their travels, they reviewed the abundant varietals of pizza, including the strangest one, with shrimp still in the shell as a topping, all while dubbing their tour van "Summer Sausage," either after a precious piece of meat a fan gave them for the road or what it smelled like after they were done.
No Work Records has released Party Flag’s debut, five-song EP, titled You Can’t Handle the Truth, on translucent-green cassette tape with stickers and a patch to boot. The band has already worked up six new songs and is looking to record a full-length soon.
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I get treated to a preview of the new songs as I sit through their practice. Some I've heard live; others morph between my ears and eyes, from "Shitbrain" to "Cherry 2000." As they play, Chuck barks out the titles, and they bang out one after another like ducks in a pond. Everything sounds solid, and the band gels well. I'm not sure what's shaking more: Casidy’s leg or his amp head. Jared loses a hat, then his shirt, as the practice wears on. Justine rolls her eyes to the sky as she belts the songs out like a lunatic, only occasionally locking eyes with an audience member (me), to make you feel as if this one's just for you. You'll know how it feels when you see them live.
By the end, I am reminded that rock 'n' roll is far from dead. Maybe the millionaire rock star is, but the real deal is still right here, in this practice room. Somehow, these characters could all make up a Saturday-morning cartoon. Party Flag Saves the Day, I envision. They'd probably fit better on Adult Swim, though. Then they could tell you all the crazy stories I can't repeat here.
With Bonnie Riot. 8:30 p.m. Saturday, January 30, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $10. Visit Facebook.com.
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