The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower
Bubba's Bowling Club
Wednesday, June 8
Turns out Germans are still sensitive about that whole Nazi episode from six and seven decades ago.
So learned the pestiferous personnel comprising The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower when they embarked on their European tour earlier this spring.
This San Diego contingent has been raising eyebrows this year with the release of its second full-length album, Love in the Fascist Brothel. Seemingly summoned from a garage in hell, its 10 songs spit and snarl like one infernal track of scuzz-blasted punk rock. Song titles like "Reichstag Rock" and "Love in the Sex Prison" openly mock fascism and other elements of control The Plot see in our current political climate and even in the punk rock scene.
"You gotta go for the highest sensitive point if you want to get a reaction out of people," Plot guitarist Charles Rowell said by cell phone while the band was enjoying an off-day on tour by visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. This tour, with The Blood Brothers and Big Business, stops June 8 at Bubba's Bowling Club.
"In no way are we condoning [fascism]. If you read our lyrics, you realize all we're doing is taking things people have to deal with every day and putting them out there as parallels to the SS and World War II. It's a stretch, but it's there. It's feeling like the punk scene has gotten so liberal, it's conservative, and feeling like you have to follow all these rules. It's also the political climate of the country. It made sense to throw it in that context. It's sensitive, but I think it was right. We were just saying lots of things take on that shape and form, like fascism."
Courting controversy isn't new territory for The Plot. Beginning with the jazz-punk stew of 2003's Dissertation, Honey, they've attracted danger wherever they've gone.
"Some of the stuff we did that caused controversy and rumors was for the right reasons," Rowell said. "We wanted to cause a stir. That's why our early tours had lots of crazy stuff happen. Whether we caused it or other people caused it, we've got this air now that we're this really mean band and crazy stuff happens around us."
Sporting Nazi garb, developing a reputation for destroying microphones and challenging complacent audiences are but a few examples The Plot is known for. Given Germany's continued sensitivity about its past, the band toned down its appearance for its shows there, but not the rhetoric.
"Obviously, there was a little bit of weariness because of the artwork and lyrical content of our new album, the uniforms and whole aesthetic we have right now," Rowell said. "But in the end, there was no violence or anything. Most of the time kids just really wanted to talk about it. They were open and always understood where we were coming from. In Germany at least, every night was like fuckin' C-Span - talking and discussing it. But it was good; it was meant to be talked about."
The Plot's musical alchemy and atavistic boldness in the punk rock scene are by no means designed for comfort, and that's deliberate.
"All my favorite bands have always incited fear, but also love, in their fans," Rowell said. "So I figure we're on the right path."