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This could be your last chance to get pummeled by Victims Family. Don't miss it.

Wednesday, Aug 6 2003
During the altrock signing frenzy of the early '90s, punk power trio Victims Family seemed like a sure bet to rise from the underground. The Santa Rosa band had been slogging it out since 1984, opening for the likes of the Butthole Surfers and Dead Kennedys and delivering a ferocious yet tuneful sonic stew of hardcore, noise, jazz, and math rock. Despite the fact that they could play circles around the quirky virtuosos of Primus and write intelligent songs with barbed-wire hooks, the Victims somehow never got snapped up, even as a dire parade of lame local punk-funk outfits scored major-label deals (Wherefore art thou, Psychefunkapus?).

So guitarist Ralph Spight and bassist Larry Boothroyd kept it independent, beefing up an already brilliant catalog -- 1990's White Bread Blues can still scorch the brainpans of unfamiliar listeners 13 years after its release -- with a trio of solid albums for Alternative Tentacles before retiring the band name middecade. After that, the pair continued to work together in left-field act Saturn's Fleacollar (with Boothroyd ably switching over to drums) and the decidedly Victims-ish Hellworms. But die-hard fans pestered, cajoled, and pleaded for a resuscitated Victims Family, so in 2001, Boothroyd and Spight picked up drummer David Gleza (formerly of Tacoma, Wash., punks My Name) and VF was reborn to much rejoicing.

The band unfortunately drifted into limbo when Gleza moved back to the Northwest last year, leaving the future of Victims Family up in the air. However, the recent reunion of comrades in punk weirdness Alice Donut and that group's subsequent invitation to play a few dates on the East Coast persuaded Gleza at least temporarily back into the fold. This warm-up gig/drinking-money fund-raiser at the Bottom of the Hill may be your last chance to experience Victims Family's hectic time changes, sardonic lyrics, and volcanic blasts of slide-rule hardcore at a local venue.

About The Author

Dave Pehling


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