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Sarah Tomlinson

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The Kinison
Honest, Passionate, Tipsy

It could be the opening salvo to a dirty joke: What happens when a Midwestern farmer named Bub (guitarist Guy Knight), a guitarist (Aaron Fuller) and their mouthy best friend (Chris Lewis, who has a yen to do standup) move to the LA area, rope in a bassist (Mike Villayicencio) and drummer (Mike Rivera) by telling them their bands suck, and find a basement in which to abuse one another with cheeky jokes and their instruments with speedy, punk-blistered new wave rock? They name their band for smutty, out-of-control comic Sam Kinison and release their debut, What Are You Listening To?, on LaSalle Records, headed byBlink-182 drummer Travis Barker. Duh. They’ve got songs such as the deliciously titled “You’ll Never Guess Who Died,” which opens with a tart, cocky riff that sounds like it leads into a Cars song before melting into something darker and heavier, and “I Have Something to Say,” an amplified epileptic fit with a jaunty salsa shimmy. Plus front man Lewis has a mouth hurting for a rinse with soap, for the profanity as much as the candor. His assessment of band beneficiary Barker? He’s a great guy and supportive label boss; Blink-182 is fantastic for taking them to tour Europe; he doesn’t like Blink’s music or their fan base, who couldn’t tell music from a Louis Vuitton knockoff. But “the cool thing is he’s not whoring us out!” See, a band’s worst liability is an audience’s best friend. And what guarantees a dance-party red dawn better than a front man with a big mouth? Says Lewis: “We’re honest, passionate and a little tipsy!”