Theft of Center | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

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Theft of Center

"It had to be someone we know," mutters Zelick, bassist for Miami rap-metal quartet Endo. "Or someone we used to know."

Along with like-minded (and like-tattooed and like-pierced) local brethren Puya and Nonpoint, Endo pumps out angry music that seethes with life-sucks rageism. Now the band really has something to be pissed about: the theft of all its instruments, which were locked inside a van parked in South Miami-Dade County. The four hit the Culture Room on Friday, February 8, packed up their gear into their maroon 1999 Chevy 15-seater, and returned to Miami in anticipation of a South Beach gig the following Tuesday, February 12.

Hold on a sec -- rap-metal on South Beach?

"We did it for the money!" laughs Zelick.

But no one so much as giggled when the members awoke on the morning of February 11 and discovered that the van was gone. Two days later, it was found about a mile away, barely scratched, but with all $30,000 worth of the band's gear missing. The band filed a police report, for all the good it'll do: Zelick describes the cops as "not extremely helpful."

The culprit ripped off the van purely for the equipment, reckons Zelick. And the thief used a key to do the deed, he adds, which narrows down the suspect list considerably.

"Whoever did it, did it out of spite, not just the money. And it's kinda got to be someone who knew the van was loaded and ready to go."

The van was insured, but Endo never got around to extending coverage to its contents, laments Zelick. The group lost virtually everything it had, including Zelick's entire rig. His amps were built by Trace Elliot (now out of business) and are likely irreplaceable. On the bright side, only drummer Joe Eshkenazi's kit was purchased with his own allowance. Almost everything else the band used was bestowed on behalf of endorser-sponsors. Pearl drums will kick down a new kit for Eshkenazi, and guitar manufacturer Washburn is seeing what it can do for Eli Parker. Singer Gil Bitton, of course, has it easier.

The cases are all marked with Endo or J Eshkenazi, pawn shops have been alerted, and the band has even hired a private detective to scan the classifieds, among pursuing other avenues.

"[Someone] is gonna end up buying a top-dollar bass for 100 bucks," complains Zelick. "All that gear is getting sold for, like, $5000."

Since the incident, the band has performed on borrowed instruments (Al Is Well happily loaned Endo its equipment for a show just a few days later) and may even have to hit up Drowning Pool for drumsticks and such when the two groups play Club Ovation on March 9 alongside Coal Chamber.

"We're going to do [that show] no matter what," promises Zelick. "But it's looking scary right now. If we had to play a gig tomorrow, we couldn't, unless we rented gear. We haven't rehearsed in two weeks."

Endo struck it rich with a Columbia Records deal two years ago, issued a venomous album, Evolve, and has toured with the likes of Static X and Nothingface. Now the band's ready to labor on a follow-up, which will take the quartet's collective minds off the apprehension and interrogation of the robbery suspect at large.

"We know who we think it is," says Zelick, the smile vanishing from his voice. "Let's leave it at that."

Can't the band, which has made a career out of such turbulent music, at least threaten a few spilled corpuscles if its members were to collar the perp before the cops?

"Well, besides pressing charges and suing the bastard, we'll probably fuckin' kick his ass!" Zelick growls. "Whoever it was, he'll never steal again."

Maybe it's not springtime yet, but funky pheromones are in the air. The chemicals collided and commingled last week when Le Tigre visited Miami's Polish-American Club and Weezer wrapped up a tour at MARS in West Palm Beach. Everyone wanted to get down and make love -- with each other, with the band: A young femme-fan promised Le Tigre leader Kathleen Hanna a good time if she'd just visit the bathroom with her.

The lipstick lesbians and curious alt-kiddies who showed up to hear Le Tigre and the teenaged hetero throng who lifted lighters for Weezer may not seem to have much in common, but they do in terms of musical taste: Le Tigre's synthetic Euro-pulse and Weezer's circumcised swagger -- both descended from 1980s New Wave -- usually aim just below the belt.

Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo exclaimed, "We came to rock your butts!" whereas Le Tigre, taking back the night via an ass-kicking "On Guard," drew from the obscure palette of '80s synth-pop -- robotic, toe-tapping, Tinkertoy tunes like those of former Ultravox singer John Foxx. (By the way, the essential Foxx album is 1979's Metamatic.)

Weezer's war-horse vocal harmonies and perfectly coifed power-pop often win Beatles comparisons, but its true antecedent is Todd Rundgren's Utopia, which could have been the world's first emo band if Rundgren didn't have such long hair. By the way, Runt, A Wizard a True Star, and Hermit of Mink Hollow are Todd albums you need like your cupboard needs oatmeal; Utopia's 1980 platter, Adventures in Utopia, and its eponymous 1982 release are also ripe for a revisit. Just saying, is all.

Despite Bandwidth's displeasure with the recent name change affecting Boynton Beach's concert venue, at least the place isn't yet saddled with one of those unwieldy corporate-sponsor handles. Good thing, 'cause the world isn't ready for "The Snuggle Bear Fabric Softener Club Ovation" just yet.