Ill Communiqué

A couple of former punks score a bull's-eye with Poison Arrows, their punk-inspired non-punk debut

Of course, it doesn't hurt that the band is led by a punk Baudelaire. "I'm easy, I like to have a good time," Henderson laughs. "I'll go wherever the wind blows." Earlier, he'd mentioned how Gowan had to pick him up for the interview, because he'd spent the night on a trampoline with a couple of girls he'd just met. "I've been instant gratification my whole life -- that means I get myself in a lot of trouble and I get to write about it."

It's not that Arrowsreads like Penthouse Forum. But there is the, um, extended sexual metaphor of "Perfect Weapon," as well as a striking number of drug references, most blatantly in the heroin-chic number, "My Bay" (which also includes Henderson's disquieting boast that he's "abused most everything"). "I made a conscious effort to sing about exactly my lifestyle, about my friends' lifestyles, and to reference real things," Henderson says. "Rather than be this kind of stern, asexual soapbox singer."

Whether it's a reaction to the heavy vibes of Sept. 11, or merely an attempt to recapture the decadence of the '80s, over the past few years rock music has grown increasingly re-enamored with hedonism. What sets Communiqué apart from its peers is that its party-hearty lyrics contain an edge. Songs like "Ouija Me" -- in which the lead singer stages his own death, then tells his former love to contact him in the afterlife -- are rife with gallows humor, as if Henderson knows we're all doomed, but he's not going to stop partying because of it.

Communiqué: Five guys with a taste for 
Springsteen, the Supremes, and 
Piper Ferguson
Communiqué: Five guys with a taste for Springsteen, the Supremes, and trampolines.

So far, there seems to be no sign that anyone's going to harsh Communiqué's buzz. Aaron Axelson picked the band to be one of two local acts performing at Live 105's annual BFD concert, alongside the Beastie Boys, the Violent Femmes, and the Strokes. Tours of the U.S. and Europe have been scheduled. Magnetand Rockpilehave already done interviews for features on the group. MTV even played one of the band's songs in the background of a news segment -- on the Strokes!

As for all of American Steel's pissed-off fans, Henderson has some advice. "Go buy a Supremes record, dude, it's the best fucking band ever. Listen to the Supremes -- it'll change your life."

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