Words – Kurt McVey

When your latest EP is called Template Hair, you run the risk of evoking the entire history of music’s celebrated uniform coifs. The logical place to start is The Beatles, with their boyish Liverpool bowl-cuts, then moving on to the Ace-Ventura like space-pompadours sported by Flock of Seagulls, with a quick segue into the hair-metal mullets of Def Leppard and their likeminded brood, and of course the Aztec pyramid molds hiding beneath Devo’s trademark red plastic caps. For the women in Desert Sharks, a sort of washed out, reverb drenched riot girl four piece punk outfit from Brooklyn, they fall a little bit closer to The Ramones, but with decidedly more pleasant mugs beneath the long straight black raven strands they all seem to share.

 

Desert Sharks consists of Stephanie Gunther on bass and lead vocals, Rebecca Rose on drums, Stefania Rovera on guitar, and Sunny Veniero on lead guitar. In their latest video for “crazycrazy” which features Matt Elkin of the So So Glos, who also wrote, shot, and directed the video, incites man’s greatest fear; genital mutilation. The video was shot on an old Hi8 camera at the conveniently creepy Oakdell Motel in Waterford, Connecticut, which gives the whole thing a sort of late-80s Jason Voorhees meets Norman Bates type vibe, with a healthy splash of the relentless female vigilantism found in I Spit on Your Grave.

 

The castration of course, is only a metaphor (thank God) for a sort of reverse, verbal castration inflicted on women by men. Too often women are referred to as “crazy” as a sort of immature and often times insecure response to what are usually valid emotional reactions to a conflict, however big or small, within a relationship. That’s not to say that there aren’t some crazy women out there, as the women in Desert Sharks would most likely agree, but “crazy” is too often used as a lazy scapegoat employed to disregard a woman’s feelings and diminish the emphasis placed on the wrongdoing perpetrated by the man in the relationship or at least his inability to confront a romantic obstacle. And now for the inevitable masculine rebuttal! Women, in a similar capacity, often overuse the word “creep/y” to describe a man who makes an otherwise respectable advance. The point is, know when to dish it out, and think twice about your own role in the scenario before using terms that are unnecessarily dismissive.

 

Back to music: These girls kick ass! They’re playing tonight at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar in Greenpoint with Diarrhea Planet and Hop Along, which should be a great way to spend your Halloween night, or at least a portion of it. Stephanie Gunther, Desert Shark’s badass front-woman was kind enough to answer a few questions. Enjoy!

 

Token lame music interviewer question: How did you and your band mates meet?

 

We met through Craigslist as total strangers. Not the most enthralling story, but true. We really lucked out that we meshed well together musically. Sunny and Rebecca are from New Jersey originally, Stefania is from the Philadelphia area, and I grew up in Michigan.

 

There’s a lot of 70s/80s punk, some 90s grunge happening, who are your influences?

 

Our influences are all across the board. It’s really hard to list bands because our tastes vary so greatly. When we’re on tour we take turns controlling the music. We end up listening to everything from stoner metal to top 40 pop to 80’s goth and cowboy psychedelia. 

 

Can punks write love songs?

 

Anyone can.

 

How crazy are you? Really?

 

It depends on your definition of sane. But really the song was inspired because one of our members was called crazy by a lover. That tends to be a very dismissive and silencing phrase used toward women these days. And once you’re called crazy, it’s a losing battle. If you try to defend yourself, the response can be “See? Look how crazy you’re being.” We sort of embraced that idea and one-upped it. Like “oh you think I’m crazy? I’m double that. I’ll show you how crazy I can be. I’m crazycrazy.” [laughs]

 

Who has the best hair in the band?

 

Well considering we were once told we had template hair (the inspiration for our EP title) I think we’re pretty even there. 

 

Who is the most “shark-like?”

 

We’ve all got dead eyes.

 

 

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