The Moans’ music is a straightforward, high-energy brand of rock ‘n’ roll, supported by lyrical references to Mary Shelley, George Romero, and cloning. A recipe certain to attract both geeks and punks. This is a perfect combination for the Ramones-esque side project of Matt Bennett (West Memphis Trio, The Dumb Fox, Shitty Ramones), Danny Secretion (The Secretions and The Knockoffs), and Jeff Hollandsworth (Hit Reset). Bennett, the bassist, describes their sound as inspired by, “bands that aren’t afraid to be non-nonsensical, don’t worry about every song being a masterpiece, and just make fun music for themselves as much as the people who listen to it.” Lucky for us, this Central Valley three-piece has the musical chops to make it work.
Spread between Sacramento, Stockton, and Lodi, the Moans have learned to deal with being a band in a long distance relationship. “We have to be more deliberate in our punk rocking and make plans ahead of time,” Bennett explains. Guitarist Danny Secretion, who drives to practice from Sacramento, has a different take, “Matt just has to go home. Jeff just has to wake up from his marijuana-induced slumber and drive about 5 minutes.” The Moans all have different stories about how they came together. “Matt and Jeff would always bug me about getting their shitty bands onto Secretions shows. I would let them hop onto the bill, mostly out of guilt,” says Secretion. Drummer Hollandsworth claims, “Matt was the creepy old dude that started talking to me at shows. He baited me with candy and other pleasures of the world and now we’re jamming.” Bennett had a slightly more serious story, “for the most part we met at shows in Stockton and Sacramento. We were all in other bands and so The Moans were able to be born in the vacuum of a no-pressure atmosphere. Everything about this band was fresh and just for the fun release of it.”
If you can stop blitzkrieg bopping to the band’s upbeat style long enough to listen, a frightening pattern emerges from The Moans lyrics. Zombies, werewolves, mad scientists, and a plethora of spooky locations are wittily built into the bloody scenes they paint. Hollandsworth is quick to point out that, “a lot of the horror and sci-fi references are all Matt’s doing.” Bennett admits, “I was a comic book guy for most of my life, and movies have always been there for me. Horror movies tend to be my favorite types, because they already have that stigma of being ‘less than’ other genres of movies, and so they get this freedom from some of the formula trappings that other movies have…anything can happen.” He also notes, “I always wrote love songs in my other band(s) so inserting monster movie characters into those situations is a pretty fun way of making the song writing exercise new and challenging…The cool thing is that all three of us are all kinds of different geek. When we were first talking about the themes of all the songs, I realized that I’d never have any arguments with a wrestling nerd and a gamer dork about the direction of the band. We were all on the same page.”
To take their ghoulish theme a bit further, TUBE. asked the Moans a somewhat silly question:
If you were a Scooby Doo character, which character would best describe you and your role in the band?
Bennett: “I don’t know who I’d be, but Jeff would be Shaggy. I think Danny would be Fred, and, sadly, I’d probably wind up being Velma.”
Hollandsworth: “I’m not sure what Matt was talking about, but I’m Daphne for obvious reasons. He’s Velma and Danny’s Fred.”
Secretion: “I’d be the grizzled fucker that they unmask at the end, because after all is said and done…it was all MY idea…and I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids!”
Speaking of meddling kids, The Moans recently partnered with Salt Lake City’s The Hung Ups to create a 7-inch vinyl record scheduled for release late in the summer of 2013. “There’s this awesome little unofficial community of Ramonescore-pop punk bands that all share support of each other through Facebook and Bandcamp. I liked The Hung Ups and always wanted to do a cross-country split with another band. It’s a project with built-in cross promotion,” says Bennett. When asked why they chose to include a digital download option and CD along with the vinyl pre-order package, he continues, “I love CDs! I’ll be a CD guy forever. When I do buy vinyl, I get pissed if there’s no CD or at least a download code so I can put it on CD myself. When I say, ‘my stereo’ I’ll always mean my CAR stereo, and you can’t blast a 7-inch in my CD player.”
The Moans went on their first tour in March and tried to relate a printable story from the trip. Here’s Secretion’s best effort.
“It was Jeff and Matt’s first tour in that it was the first time they left home, played a show, didn’t go home that night, drove, played a show, didn’t go home that night, drove, played a show, didn’t go home that night, drove, played a show…Jeff was repeatedly spanked in public by a slutty nurse in Las Vegas. Later that night, a prostitute (who we were pretty sure was a 6 foot tall black man) tried getting Jeff to ‘purchase the goods’. Matt hoarked a full day’s worth of drinking and eating into a flowerpot that belonged to the fiancé of the bassist for The Queers. How’s THAT for name-dropping?! In all honesty, I was super proud of these two fucks. They never complained. They took turns driving. They weren’t slobs. They supported every band we played with. They partied their asses off. They played at 1000% every night. They were consummate pros!…But yeah, Matt’s mouth shat into a flower pot.”
To find more about The Moans visit Facebook, download their album From Underground on Bandcamp. You can buy stickers, t-shirts, CDs, and pre-order the upcoming vinyl from The Moans Store. For the really good stuff (like brand new patches and sing-alongs) come see The Moans with Ashtray, The Secretions, and The Harbor this Saturday, July 6, at The Blue Lamp in Sacramento, CA.
Words: Autumn Brown.