"At the last show we brought in goat skulls from [a party supply store] and painted pentagrams on them. We ran gauntlets and wore black metal shirts. I'm guessing that's why we've never been asked back to the Funky Buddha Lounge," Simone Puleo, singer and rhythm guitarist for Dr. Martino, explains.
Puleo walks through the door of my apartment with Paul Mc Bride, the bassist for the band and heads immediately for the back porch. The band mates both have long hair and fidget with their respective packs of cigarettes. A sense of solidarity between the two is apparent, which could very well be from years of playing together, Dr. Martino is just one of the mutations on their musical journey.
Puleo continues, "But for this show," he stops to question the legitimacy of the interview, "is this on the record?"
Puleo seems to hold his cards close to his chest, choosing his words carefully. A post graduate student studying literature, he also plays in indie folk duo Amy and Sim. He seems to consistently pause throughout his dictations to find the most effective word, and he typically does, as if professing on theory.
After showing him that the device sitting on the ground between us is actively recording, he nods his head and submits to finishing his thought, "We have inflatables for this show. A big banana," Puleo admits without hinting whether he's changed the direction of his story based on it being recorded.
McBride speaks up, "There's a bear that we are going to fill with party favors, only it's going to be like, lozenges and store brand candy," a broad smile occupies his face, "the shit nobody wants. Sugar free Werther's."
The two of them both seem to be pretty tickled by this idea, but it is exactly the aesthetic Dr. Martino represents: an oddball collection of sounds and influences played by musicians who know their instruments well, all in one weird and sometimes peculiarly dressed up package. Puleo and McBride describe the tomfoolery involved in their shows as if discussing the measurements for some deranged anatomical monster they've been piecing together in a lab.
After describing the last details they've come up with so far for their album release party for Right to Work this Saturday, June 1, at Propaganda in Lake Worth, a short lived sense of disappointment comes over Puleo's face.
"We were working on getting a clown. We had our hearts set on this 'adult party' clown, but our schedules conflicted," though conflicting schedules haven't stopped the band from searching. "We've got a Lake Worth clown lined up. We'd like to get some face painting going."
"Terrible face painting, though," McBride follows up. "Just smeared nonsense, like everyone walking around looking like a Juggalo."
McBride, who also plays with Suns of the Morning Star, seems less hesitant to think before he speaks, but his word choices come out naturally, as though he wears his vision on the tip of his tongue and can readily describe it to you, without misstep, at a moment's notice.