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Photo By Todd V. Wolfson

The Winks

In case there's anyone left who doesn't tune in to the Fox network hit show, here's a glimpse of next week's The OC. Ryan, aka ex-Austin High footballer Ben McKenzie, is unable to reconcile with girl-next-door-gone-bad Marissa, so he heads back to Tejas for some punk rock love on Red River. The band tearing it up onstage would have to be the Winks.

One by one, the Winks show up (late) at Beerland on a placid Wednesday evening looking like they came straight from this as-yet-fictional episode's casting call. Guitarist Penny Tration sports a jean jacket, electric-blue hair, and a stud above her upper lip. Flame-topped singer Amanda Hugnkiss opts for a Ramones tank and handgun necklace blingy enough to make 50 Cent drool. Bassist Maria la Fantasy is the only skirted Wink, fishnetted and ready to roll, while drummer Elyse Navidad goes the Johnny Cash/Sid Vicious all-black route.

Obviously these young ladies, each in her mid-20s save 21-year-old Maria, have loads in common. There's the tattoos, Chuck Taylors, and ginormous hoop earrings. There's also the easy banter and incessant ribbing of fast friends, as well as an abiding love for trash-punk greats like the Ramones, Devil Dogs, and the Oblivians.

But the Winks don't just look the part. Theirs is some of the most combustible, ass-flattening music to come along since the Bates Motel shut down. Simply put, they make people lose their shit, which makes sense once Penny divulges her primary songwriting motivation.

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"Killing people," she says.

Her bandmates are somewhat aghast, but she's serious. It's worth noting that the Winks' sole recorded output so far is the Super Secret Records 7-inch "You're Gonna Die."

"Seriously, that's what I think about," continues Penny. "Like if somebody pisses me off at a show, or if a certain client pisses me off, rather than kill them, I'll go home and write a really nasty song."

The Winks are 2 years old, but their true origin came a few years prior. One night Amanda's ride, whom she vehemently insists was not her date, sent Penny into the girl's room at the Blue Flamingo to see what was taking so long. The Blue Flamingo was in all likelihood the stankiest, most low-down joint to ever qualify for a TABC liquor license.

"She looked at me all pissed off," swears Penny. "I thought she hated me."

"Dude, I was wasted," interjects Amanda, immediately. "I was 17. I could get drunk off two beers back then."

SXSW showcase: Wednesday, March 17, 11pm @ Beerland

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