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MUSIC THE BEAUTIFUL : New Looks : The trio's brand of rock 'n' roll is a little like Jane's Addiction meets Metallica.

November 22, 1990|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Ever look through the Sunday Calendar section of The Times and you don't know who any of those bands are? Don't know Electric Peace from the Electric Angels from the Electric Boys from Pacific Gas & Electric? Can't tell the difference between Sting and W.A.S.P. or Big Daddy Kane and the Gear Daddies? Are you confused by the Mudheads, Mud Honey and the Chickasaw Mud Puppies? Perhaps rock 'n' roll has passed you by? I hear the record store is selling "The Sound of Music" really cheap.

Anyway, The Beautiful (they're not really) is one of those Happening New Bands No One Has Ever Heard Of. It will be playing the Carnaval Club in Santa Barbara on Tuesday night. The trio, based in New York, is on a cross-country tour in a thinly veiled effort to promote sales of its latest and only release, a self-titled five-song EP on Giant Records, a Warner Bros. affiliate. One song, "Highway," is a video on MTV.

Beautiful music is sort of murky guitar rock, maybe like Jane's Addiction meets Metallica. They definitely don't sound like U2 or R.E.M. or the Stone Roses. And they make a lot of noise for just three guys, the basic power trio. The Beautiful is Jonathon Lacey on guitar and vocals, Frank Ferrer on drums and Perry Bottke on bass. In a phone interview from a hotel in St. Louis, Lacey described the life and times of The Beautiful.

How's the tour going?

Oh man, it's the Totally Destructo Tour From Hell, the Tour of Death. We're just happy to be playing. We're having lots of fun.

We're living out of bags and a U-Haul. So we're going to do this club tour until Christmas, take January off, play February and March, then do a full album in April and May. So now we're in St. Louis and I can see this giant arch thing from my window. It's like the McDonald's from hell where they make nuclear burgers as big as cars.

How's the record doing?

It's doing OK, but our label, Giant, is really new, so it's sort of like being with an independent label--and Warner Bros. doesn't care about us yet. Right now, it sort of seems the record company is doing "the let's wait until the full album comes out thing. Retailers seem to play our songs in their stores all the time, but the damn thing costs $10.99! Can you imagine that? $10.99 for five songs?

How did The Beautiful come about?

We all got started for different reasons. The drummer, Frank, is this total Led Zeppelin, John Bonham freak--that's what he's all about. He used to play in salsa bands, all sorts of stuff. Perry is from the Midwest and totally into AC/DC, Ted Nugent and stuff like that. I was into the Texas punk scene and liked bands like X, Generation X, and Stiff Little Fingers. We're three totally different people. It's like most bands put an ad somewhere and end up with the same guy five times, if you know what I mean. I guess we just got together by default.

Describe Beautiful music.

It's a logical extension of what rock 'n' roll should be.

But is it beautiful?

It is very beautiful. It's just real rock 'n' roll. We don't spend time wondering, "Is this going to work?" We just do it.

What's the best thing about being a rock god?

We don't have to be home.

What's the worst thing about being a rock god?

We don't get to be at home.

What's the New York music scene like?

Well, it's weird. For a while, everyone was into that glam junk. Then a couple of other bands like us came along that were totally original. People are gradually becoming more accepting of new music.

Is there a basic Beautiful fan?

That's the really weird thing. We get the little heavy-metal chicks who say, "You guys are great, wanna get naked?" Then we get the little weirdos in black who say, "I just killed my mother, but you guys are great." Then we get these old dudes that say, "You guys are great, it was just like seeing Hendrix or the Who for the first time. I guess people like us because we don't have an attitude.

Your EP only has five songs. Do you guys just do five real long songs, or is there more Beautiful music than that?

Yeah, we do five songs for 2 1/2 hours. No really, we have a whole album worth of songs, all ours, no covers.

What does The Beautiful want?

We just want to have the time to do everything, and do it right. We just want to keep getting better as a band.

Why should people come to see The Beautiful?

Because you can't see us again. If you miss us, you're gonna have to wait another year.

How 'bout those Giants?

How 'bout 'em?

WHERE AND WHEN The Beautiful at the Carnaval Club, 634 State St., Santa Barbara, 965-8422, Tuesday night. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets $5 to $8.

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