From somewhere inside the winding labyrinth of shelves at a local bookstore, and in a soft voice that barely climbs out from a whisper's shadow, Matt Friction, lead singer and guitarist for the Pink Spiders, is quick to correct an assertion about his band. "We never said we wanted to be the best band in the world," he quips, "we said we wanted to be the greatest band."
The astute and witty front man hopes TPS will one day achieve a level of household familiarity on par with names like Bowie or the Beatles. Lofty expectations? Certainly. Possible? Well, a deal with Geffen Records, a Ric Ocasek-produced album called Teenage Graffiti, and a spot on Alternative Press' list of the "100 bands to know in 2006" is a good start.
Sure, it's easy to dismiss the band's choice of contrasting hot pink and black clothing as poor fashion sense. It's easy to view the plastic, clearance bin sunglasses, the angular haircuts and the cooing pack of threadbare teenage girls who flood their live shows as standard issue props. It's easier still to call their desire to be the "greatest band in the world" nothing but an ambitious, bug-eyed imperialism as seen through youth-colored lenses.
But, these Nashville-based boys -- including Jon Decious (bass) and Bob Ferrari (drums) -- know that props and gimmickry are only a means, not an end. They know their music must still bear what Friction sagely describes as "the burden of social proof." And, while a vast number of the current generation of image-first bands unwittingly gum listeners into a cataplectic pulp with their toothless bite, their sophomoric elegies, and an array of smoke, bells, mirrors, and whistles, TPS's sense of style and catchy song-writing combine to form a venomous pop confection that is as potent as it is sweet.
Conquering the big, bad world may yet be time away, but come Nov. 15, the Pink Spiders will thoroughly rock your little one.