by John Noyd
March 2000

 - photo by Rökker

photo by Rökker

Plastic - sturdy, modern, and ubiquitous.  When referring to the musical group Plastic, the same qualities come up - plus adaptable, durable and multi-faceted. With current influences ranging from Radiohead, Bowie and the Cure, the eight-year-old band has dabbled in everything from greaser rock to British pop soul without softening a thing.  The axis on which Plastic turns are original members Joe Price and Joe Williams, the bass and drums, the backbone to any great sound.  Besides sharing first names, Joe and Joe share a telepathic intuition that cut through the rainbow of musical rosaries to move the beast along.  They do so with swift Swiss movements, like a funky Missing Persons meets son of Primus; intricate and propulsive, precise and explosive.

Going from White Zombie to the Thin White Duke takes an open-mindedness and spirit for adventure that marks all of Plastic’s various incarnations.  From a fairly straight ahead rock quartet to a Marshall stacked, two guitar band and finally its current line-up of guitar, synths and turntables, the band’s survival depends on a democracy that fosters new ideas.  For a good example of the band’s receptive nature, ask guitarist Jeremy Roseland how he joined the band. Apparently Plastic was playing the same bill as Jeremy’s band when they called it quits on stage after their set.  An hour later he was with Plastic.  Four years later he has proven to be the best choice for this blissed out marriage of psychotic guitar psychedelia and inner city syncopation.

As with many bands, Plastic has had their share of vocalists.  In fact,a disc was almost in the bag two years ago when their lead singer departed and the band had to choose between pushing what they had or doing it over again.  When they chose to go back into the studio their replacement was obvious.  As the person who had been producing them, Jake Johnson had already laid draft vocal tracks down for the band.  Reinvigorated and rejuvenated, Plastic rose again like some party hardy Phoenix for the new millennium.

While the resulting disc, “Spiritual Kung Fu,” may have been years in the making, some of the strongest cuts were those that came the quickest.  The muscle bound magic of, “Shine,” a natural single, only took a few minutes for the lyrics and an hour for the tune.  Jake says the best things come from little jottings and scribbles and that the collaborative emphasis of the band makes it the natural choice.  The disc is a collision of kaleidoscopes highlighting the chameleon quality of its members.  Smoky late night yodeling collides with quicksilver synths and a chorus of wah wah pedals.  It’s as if your ears were channel surfing a rave.  Not surprisingly it was a rave where Plastic chanced to hook up with Tim Thompson, a.k.a. DJ Lovecraft.  Equip with sampling keyboards, turntables working DJ Rectangle vinyl and a host of vintage analogue sounds, Tim is a self-professed gearhead whose Chicago house music background adds another loose cannon to Plastic’s punk rock metal hop pop soul destiny. 

Amazingly, the synergy outweighs the schizophrenia and the different perspectives culminate in an envelope pushing skid mark sound whose impulses sound familiar, even if you can’t place exactly where.  Being road warriors and music explorers gives Plastic no shortage of road tales, from beer bottle throwing Nazis to solar powered gigs where the band outnumbered the audience.  Drum circles, wet bars, police harassment, you name it.  Live, the band stretches and spills their joyous indulgences with a generous hand.  Whether jamming out to an extended, “Fascination Street,” putting their own spin on the Car’s, “Moving in Stereo,” or covering a twisted Simple Minds tune; Plastic is simply having a blast.  With most the member working day jobs in the music industry, this band of dedicated fun-seekers hold no illusions of fame and fortune.  They like to play and it shows. 

With a record deal with Milwaukee’s Crustacean Records and a successful foray into on-line music through, it looks like Plastic will be around for a while.  Check them out at or see them live at BOMBLASTICA 2000: A MUSIC PARTY FOR THE PEOPLE on March 23rd with The Pimps , Rebels Without Applause, and Angels or Insects at The Annex in Madison - 1206 Regent St.

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