They can't spell aggression and they probably wouldn't want to spell mellow. Agression with one g is coming to town, and I'm not talking about your mother-in-law. This is a veteran punk band from Oxnard that did something few do anymore: They actually left California.
But now they're coming back. Hide your womenfolk, dust off those combat boots and make a Blue Cross payment. It's going to be a swell concert.
Agression is on tour from their Denver home, spreading mirth, merriment and mayhem all over the Western states.
"We played this club in Denver the other night," guitarist Henry Knowles said during a recent phone interview. "Anyway, these dudes started to slam (dance), and the owner pulled the plug on us. That happened about three or four times, and finally when he had enough, he started to close the curtains on the stage."
Things, it seems, progressed from there, Knowles said, as singer Mark Hickey tried to open the curtain while the owner choked him.
"So I had to hit the owner over the head with my guitar. I guess they've never seen slam dancing before. But we got paid and everything. We'll be playing the Carnaval Club in Santa Barbara. It'll be pretty safe."
Sure, and so was Kuwait. Thus far, Agression's sort of show hasn't launched them into mega-stardom. They remain about as trendy as the Black Death and tour nearly as often.
"We started the band in 1981 or so and played all around California," Knowles said. "But now we live in Denver. There's not so much of a punk scene in Denver anymore. Everyone is more into thrash.
"This tour will just be a West Coast tour: California, Arizona, like that. Someday we'd like to headline one of those Monsters of Rock arena tours--headline over Led Zeppelin, maybe."
Don't expect any Tracy Chapman, Don Henley or Sting covers in this show. So what would you expect from a band whose logo is a leering skull? No whiny, introspective songs for Agression. Their repertoire includes tunes such as "Body Count," "Brain Bondage," "No Mercy" and "Stop The Clock," which contains lines such as: "Get out of the house/take a vacation. Can't find a job/total frustration. Got no money/totally broke. Life is boring/there's no more hope. . . ."
"Punk, thrash, it's pretty much all the same," Knowles said. "It all pretty much blends together. We've got over 40 songs, maybe. It's high energy. We play to metal crowds, speed metal crowds and skinhead crowds. The only bummer is, a lot of people think we're white supremacist skinheads, and nothing could be further from the truth."
The Carnaval Club has survived many such high-energy shows. No one reportedly died at the Circle Jerks, Lock Up or Agent Orange shows at the same venue. This will be the band's first local appearance in several years, and it should be considerably more exciting than the time Agression did Richmond.
"That one was a trip," Knowles said. "The promoter had never put on a show before. It was this real posh place--killer stage, killer lights, killer sound system. Except he didn't know he had to advertise. I mean, he didn't advertise at all. I don't know whether he thought we were going to do it or what. Anyway, we played for him and five of his friends."
* WHERE AND WHEN
Agression plays tonight at the Carnaval Club, 634 State St., Santa Barbara, 965-8422. Doors open at nine. Price: about $5.