Art Irritates Life
'Serenity now! Serenity now!' 'What is that?' 'The doctor gave me a relaxation cassette. When my blood pressure gets too high, the man on the tape tells me to say 'serenity now!'' 'Are you supposed to yell it?' 'The man on the tape wasn't specific.' - Seinfeld Leave it to one of the world's richest comedians to create the perfect band name for the rock project from singer/guitarist Erik Fong. The phrase "Serenity Now!" (a verbal relaxation method that instead bottles anger and leads to permanent insanity) fittingly encompasses all of the sarcasm, anger, deadpan humor and frustrations with everyday society that first drove the frontman to pick up a guitar and seek rock superstardom. The Bay Area band's first EP - the three-song effort Art Irritates Life - is a dose of solid songwriting, hook/crunch riffery and engaging vocal melodies that were honed by producer/engineer Bryan Wright (The Trip Device). With percussion help from Eric Bateman, Fong manages to present a style of rock that slickly marries the tightness of legendary axe-wielders James Hetfield (Metallica) and Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) with the clever pop-influenced grooves of Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters). An angry old man in a 25-year old's body, Fong uses little subtlety in hammering on the undeserved praise of society's empty-headed, culturally-void vixens in the EP's closed-fisted opener, "Waving from the Car At the Street Parade." "Tick" takes a quick left-turn, delving into the anxieties of neurotic perfectionism and life-impeding nervousness, all over a series of riffs and grooves made up of equal parts Brainiac, Nirvana and black album-era Metallica. The EP's trifecta, "Stairmaster," is a stoned exploration into Freud's perverse studies, a hazy musical journey into the sexual repressions of the id. Those involved in the Bay Area rock/metal scene may recognize Fong for his contributions to several local and national publications including Hardradio.com, Infernal Combustion, West Coast Performer, San Jose Metro and his own now-defunct webzine, Perfect Pitch. Currently, the frontman continues to involve himself in music as much as possible, working at Apple's iTunes Music Store by day, and finishing songwriting for Serenity Now!'s debut album (tentatively scheduled for a summer 2006 release) and seeking permanent band members by night. The story of rock n' roll began decades ago, but chapter one in the book of Serenity Now! Is a firm step in the progress of a neverending tale that continues to present itself in numerous mutations and forms. Here's hoping Art Irritates Life brings serenity to it's listeners... or at least doesn't make them too f***ing crazy.