Soaking Wet: Cop City/Chill Pillars on Creep Rock, Sexual Frustration, and Getting Hosed
For the second time in a row, the hands-up-and-down best rock 'n' roll record released in the United States of America was brewed in... Palm Beach County?
Despite (or maybe as a direct result of) its blandly Floridian origins, Cop City/Chill Pillars — a PBC band always comprised of guitarist Chris Jankow Jr., drummer Jordan Pettingill, and bassist Jimmy Bradshaw, along with a gang of revolving collaborators and contributors, including members of Weird Wives, the Jameses, and Universal Expansion — prance on the cutting edge of blues-based composition like a daredevil tightrope-walker who doesn't care about slipping off a cliff and even kinda wants to take the dive.
With the release of Hosed, both the group's second full-length and second CCCP release for Orlando label Florida's Dying, the Pillars have transitioned out of its already-impressive primate-punk-shimmy mode and plunged — face first, sans bungee — into the realm of (brace yourself) hard-core psychedelia.
New Times spoke with the band to gain further insight into the best new rock music made in 2012.
New Times: What does it mean to be "hosed"?
[Beavis and Butt-head-esque chuckling]
Jimmy Bradshaw: It's, like, bad luck.
Jordan Pettingill: Those situations in life where you're like, "Man... I got hosed."
Can you give an example?
Bradshaw: Being born.
The first time I saw you perform "Steady Wild," the "Just stand there/Don't do anything" chorus was really striking, especially when viewed as an address to the crowd. Were you inspired by immobile audiences when you wrote that song?
Chris Jankow Jr.: I wasn't thinking about that at all. I thought it was a creepy way of talking to someone when you are being intimate with them and not getting, uh...
Pettingill: ... any feedback.
It seems like there's a lot more sexual alienation. I'm thinking of the line, "You never saw the back of the house."
Bradshaw: It's always been a consistent theme, but I would agree that it's more prevalent on Hosed.
Jankow: "The back of the house" is trying to be a little creepy. Not like shock rock but in a way that would really creep someone out if you said it. Same with "Just stand there." We don't really have set parameters for anything. The new songs we're working on now, we're tightening up and trying to write the lyrics, which we've got pretty much together. I brought a little bit of a skeleton as far as rhyme schemes, or even one word that gets used a lot. But then it's like, "Hey, can you guys think of anything to fit in here?" It's pretty collaborative, more than ever.
When we first started, we didn't all sing the way we do now. The idea of a lead singer is weird, so it's become less and less of a thing as we've gotten more comfortable singing with each other. The rhythm of the singing is more important than what we're singing. Although I think we do make an effort to have ongoing ambiguity. Sometimes, I do feel like I'm telling people: "Just stand there." I can get in a mood where I feel like I'm saying that to someone in the dark. You're never saying it the same way.
You tour the garage-rock circuit, but I actually think you guys are a little more experimental than most of the bills you end up on. At the end of the day, is it all just rock 'n' roll? Or do you consider Cop City to be more of an avant-garde exercise?
Bradshaw: I definitely lean toward the second one.
Pettingill: A lot of stuff has already happened, ya know? Might as well do our own thing. We hang out with each other all the time, and it just comes pretty natural. I kind of forget that we sound weird.
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