The Blue Flamingo, Austin's mid-1990s punk/drag queen hangout at the corner of Seventh and Red River, was the site of Scared of Chaka's first local gig. The Albuquerque, N.M., pop-punk trio performed alongside Flamingo mascots the Motards.
"That show was just completely out of control," recalls vocalist/guitarist Dave Hernandez. "It felt like we were in a movie, and there was a prank being played on us."
For nearly a decade, Hernandez & Co. soldiered around the country brandishing two-minute missives like "I'm Atomic, Baby" and "Toilet Duck" that mixed punk swagger with a contagious gob of Who-style power-pop energy. After SOC split in 2002, Hernandez formed Broadcast Oblivion in Seattle with Murder City Devils/Melvins drummer Coady Willis. Then he rejoined fellow Albuquerque expat James Mercer in the Shins, replacing bassist Neal Langford in 2003.
At the behest of 702 Records head Stickerguy Pete, the best-known SOC lineup – Hernandez, bassist Dameon Waggoner, and drummer Ron Skrasek – reunited in February for a one-off gig in Nevada, which led to shows in Chicago and Minneapolis with former tourmates Dillinger Four. The Shins have given Hernandez a new perspective on his old band.
"One thing that's cool about something that's slower paced and more melodic is being able to re-explore songs I wrote 10 to 15 years ago," he says. "Now I couldn't be happier plugging into a loud amp and screaming onstage. The grass is always greener, I guess."
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