Garage Rock With Fangs – Weekly Volcano by Matt Driscoll
On Thursday, July 19, the Snakebites — or Skky Phoenix and Starr Harris as their friends probably call them — will pack into the back of Le Voyeur and be just one of the interesting things happening at the club this month. A retrofitting mash of country and fuzz — cooler than tube socks, velvet, cigarette stains, dark shades, or all of the above — the Snakebites call Seattle home but are no stranger to the South Sound.
On paper at least, the Snakebites seem to come off a little like another powerful two-piece with a great image you may have heard of — Jack and Meg — but such a classification is really just being lazy. Music journalists seem most susceptible, and during an interview with Skyy and Starr earlier this week, even I couldn’t help but slip in a question about being compared to the White Stripes.
“I think people expect us to be compared to them more than we really are,” explains Skky, the Snakebites’ ace drummer, and the female force within the band. “We like to use our own comparison, like ‘the Carpenters on speed.’”
If the Snakebites were just ripping off the Stripes, no one would give a shit. If the Snakebites were just ripping of the Stripes, we wouldn’t be talking about them.
The Snakebites officially self-released their first full length record in Octover 2006, Love.Hate.Rage & Sorrow. Their chemistry was instantly apparent. But more than just chemistry, Skyy’s songwriting skills carry the Snakebites. Song after song on Love.Hate.Rage & Sorrow touches you, but it does so with many different hands.
All of them manipulated by the Snakebites.
Love.Hate.Rage & Sorrow was rated the 16th best record of 2006 by threeimaginarygirls.com. So it’s not just me spouting off about this band. It’s a lot of people.
“We keep it pretty simple. I write the songs, and when I have them finished I bring them over to Starr and she adds her touch. We’re usually already thinking along the same lines,” says Skyy
“Looking back, I would’ve definitely done some things differently, but considering that we recorded it after only being together for a couple of months, I think it’s great, and I’m proud of it.”
“We started recording in a basement four months after we met,” says Starr.
“All in all, The Snakebites have been around for about three years. I formed the band originally when I was still living in LA, because I was tired of fighting with four other guys about who gets to sit in the front seat,” adds Skyy, shedding light on the band’s formation.
“I like simple things and I like the intimacy of a duo. Most all of my favorite bands were duos. I moved back to Seattle about two years ago, and I met Starr. That was the real beginning of the band as far as I’m concerned.
“Sometimes we talk about buying farmhouses in Vermont. We’ll be neighbors and we’ll build a giant barn in the middle that we can rehearse in. I’d like to think we could at least get to that point. I’d also like to get a couple of roosters.”
Along with their show at Le Voyeur, the Snakebites will perform live from the KEXP 90.3FM studios this Saturday at 8 p.m. PST. Make it your duty this week to familiarize yourself with the Snakebites. It’ll be time well spent. I promise.
Up & Coming 10/5 – The Stranger
THE WHORE MOANS, THE SNAKEBITES, NICE SMILE, THE ZERO POINTS
(Funhouse) The Whore Moans may be the headliners and the current attention grabbers on this bill, but tonight is all about loud and luscious local duo the Snakebites, who will proudly unveil their debut CD, love. hate. rage & sorrow. Led by a freewheelin’ scoundrel named Skky Phoenix and (barely) grounded by funny and fearless drummer Starr Harris, the Snakebites strike sharply at the throat of bubblegum pop and let the blood spill all over the garage floor, bashing out gritty, punk-flecked blues with occasional glints of sunny pop shading. HANNAH LEVIN
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