Fun Fun Fun Fest Interviews: Sunday

The Justice Society of Texas garage punk

Mike Wiebe
Mike Wiebe

High Tension Wires

6pm, Stage 3

Comprising members of the Riverboat Gamblers, Marked Men, the Reds, and more recently, the Bad Sports and Wax Museums, Denton-based fivepiece High Tension Wires represents a supergroup of Texas' underground garage-punk scene. Austin-based Gambler Mike Wiebe balks at the claim.

"That's very flattering, but if it's a supergroup, then I'm the out-of-place sidekick that wants to be a superhero but isn't quite there," he laughs. "The other guys are pretty super. I feel more like the Wonder Twins to Superman and Batman."

Veteran guitarist Mark Ryan likens the project instead to Frankenstein.

"Every once in a while, we get together and record some stuff, and then I have to figure out a way to put it all together and bring it to life in a way that makes sense," riffs Ryan, who formed the group after the Reds' Chris Pulliam returned from a tenure in Japan a few years back. "We use a lot of spare parts and just see how it works out."

Punching in at less than 23 minutes, the Wires' stellar second LP, last year's Midnight Cashier, channels the Clash's early boredom and Ramones' shock treatment with lean, angular guitars played with the raucousness of a Denton house party. HTW recently started working on a new album and landed on the soundtrack for EA Sports' Skate 2, but there's a glass ceiling on the band's future. For one, the Gamblers are set to spend most of 2009 on the road in support of their fourth LP, Underneath the Owl (Volcom), beginning with an Australian tour in February.

"It's all just a matter of timing for everybody," Wiebe stresses. "I really want to stay as busy musically as humanly possible. Idle hands are bad for me."

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