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SXSW 2003

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Photo By John Anderson

The Spiders

The Spiders are a small-town band playing big-city rock & roll. Arriving in late 2000 with Sex Is Thicker Than Blood, a glam-baked, punk-fused collection of shoot-out-the-lights party rock, the San Marcos quartet quickly developed a rabid following on Red River, especially unreconstructed rocker haven Room 710. Their sophomore effort, Glitzkrieg, is due in May on L.A. indie Acetate. It's been done a year, so they're getting a little antsy.

"We're just really, really tired and ready to get it out," says singer Christopher Benedict. "And to do new material. We're dying for it."

San Marcos is a midsize college town 30 miles south of Austin, where Benedict, guitarist Eric Shaw, and drummer Gary First still live. Though he calls Austin home now, it was bassist Karl Toft and Shaw's Butthole Surfers-inspired band the Kevorkians that ultimately led to the Spiders.

"I was sitting there looking at Karl and Eric going, 'Man, I wish I could be in a band with those guys,'" says Benedict. "Four or five years later, when the Kevorkians broke up, they were like, 'Let's try it out.'"

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"I was thinking the same thing," adds drummer First. "When I heard the Kevorkians broke up, I was thinking, 'Hmmm, I wonder who's gonna play drums for them?'"

"We practiced once with Gary, and it's like, 'There it is. That's it,'" recalls Benedict. "Gary busted a wall down in his mobile home, and we made a rehearsal space."

Today, the Spiders are so beloved in San Marcos that Toft marvels, "When we play here Friday and Austin Saturday, everybody that was at the show Friday will drive up to Austin."

Then there's John. All of 21 or 22, John hails from San Antonio, where he grew up "straight-up punk rock." He happened across a Spiders interview at San Marcos' Triple Crown and offered his unsolicited, beer-augmented opinion of the band.

"It was like this rock & roll band that was into fuckin' glam-rock shit, that knew the sugar-coated shit that they were into, and it was fuckin' badass to me. It was like the ultimate, 'Wow, dude, this is the fuckin' shit!' This is what's going on in Texas now, and this is what needs to go on in Texas. To me, that was totally questioning what was going on the whole time in Texas.

"It was like some fuckin' rock & roll shit; it was some rock & roll pogo shit, let me fucking knee you in the face, let me make you suck my dick, I got a girlfriend, I don't got a girlfriend, I got a boyfriend -- it was badass, dude. It made somebody want to suck somebody's dick, dude.

"But that's what I'm talking about. It was all-around rock & roll, dude, and I'm serious about that shit."

SXSW showcase: Room 710, Wednesday, March 13, midnight

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