Hard-hitting, often naked, punk rock
The Jabs don't actually leap off the stage and attack each audience member at their shows; they sound like they want to, though, especially if it makes for a better punk rock moment. Doug Perdue, left, Jade Gordley and Ben Schimmel of The Jabs
Drawing members from various semi-legendary Indianapolis bands, The Jabs deliver exactly what their name implies: quick bursts of rock and roll energy that is as dangerous as it is mesmerizing.
The Jabs were put together from the remnants of the Mighty John Waynes, which disintegrated over the summer of 2002, and Dirty Little Secrets, which disbanded around the same time. Drummer Andy Fark was added to an already strong lineup of Doug Perdue on guitar, Ben Schimmel on bass and Jade Gordley on vocals.
A few months ago, Justin Allen, formerly of the Waynes and currently of The Slurs, joined the group on guitar. The members of the band joke about Slurs leader Jim Kuczkowski breaking Allen's left hand to keep him from playing guitar with The Jabs.
"He can still hold the mic with his good hand," Kuczkowski reportedly said.
Adding Allen on guitar brought The Jabs' sound closer to the frenetic garage sound of the Waynes, a band beloved for its two singles but reportedly the subject of a curse, something which all former members agree upon.
"The Jabs are more straightforward," Allen says. "There's not too much difference. We all listen to the same shit; we all feed off each other. I joined this band so I could play guitar."
"All due respect, but this band is better than either the John Waynes or Dirty Little Secrets," Fark says. "I looked at joining the band as a great opportunity to play with some of the best musicians in this town. Doug is a great guitarist. Jade is a great vocalist and songwriter."
One of the centerpieces of The Jabs' live show is Perdue's stage antics, which have ranged variously from taking off all his clothes to breaking guitars for seemingly no reason.
"If I could smash a guitar every night, I would," Perdue says. "If I could get naked every night, I would. If I could set fire to something every night, I would. If I can give whoever wants to see us a chance to debase ourselves and throw down rock and roll, I'll do it."
He does have limits, he says, but not necessarily the ones enforced by law. "If [getting nude] is done in the name of performance in some weird way, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Take me to jail for that, I don't care," says Perdue, an ex-Marine and new father.
"I do have a wife and a kid and I do have investments and I do run a business," he says. "But when I do what I do, it's not for anybody else. I'm not doing it for fans. I want to give a good show, obviously. Here's an example of a band that's having fun and not giving a flying fuck about what's going on. And I can play the instrument well enough to pull it off."
The Jabs got together and stay together because each member enjoys creating rock and roll together, not for some idealized notion of fame or fortune.
"There's no money in this shit," Perdue says. "Even the bands that make it don't make money. They make enough to get by; they make enough to be pseudo-famous with it."
"If you want to be broke, join a band," Allen says.
"We do it because it's fun, it's my release valve," Perdue says. "If they want to take me to jail for blowing off steam in front of however many people we can pack into a club, then that'll just bring more people to see us. If you think we have something that needs to be stopped, then come on."
The release, however, extends only to the time when the band is on stage. "I'm back to normal the minute I step off stage," Perdue says. "There's no transition time whatsoever."
Fark says, "I grew up watching people like Keith Moon and Tommy Lee, people who had so much fun and flair. From the age of 12, I wanted to be that crazy fucker behind the drums. The first thing I learned how to do is twirl the stick; I didn't know how to play or keep a beat. But I can play the hell out of the drums. I'm not interested in the technical aspects. I go into a drum store and say, 'I need one of those little plastic thingies for my cymbal stand.' I don't even know what they're called."
The band recently recorded a 13-song album and is shopping it around to regional and national punk labels. If they don't get any substantial offers, they'll self-release the project.
A sampler from the disc shows the band in fine, drunken punk form. Gordley virtually howls as much as he sings and the songs are about classic rock and roll topics: women, alcohol, women and alcohol and punk rock. "Comin' On Strong" is a classic in that genre, similar to the Waynes' "Kill That Girl" or "Eyes All Over You."
For more information on the Jabs, see www.myspace.com/thejabs.
Who: The Jabs
When: Saturday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. (bubba's) and 11 p.M. (melody)
Where: Bubba's Bowling club and the melody inn
Admission: $6 at the door (melody); TBa (bubba's)