The L.E.S. Stitches Bang Their Heads on the Punk Rock

Written by George Tabb on . Posted in Posts.



Way back in
1994, when most of the current crop of punk panhandlers on St. Marks Pl. were
still into the Power Rangers, L.E.S. Stitches started playing and releasing
records in the punk rock circuit. Since that time, they have released three
albums, their newest one titled, strangely enough, Lower East Side (Ng/Artemis).


Still composed
of the four original members–a very tough trick for any New York band–the
Stitches continue to bang their heads on the punk rock while having a sense
of humor about it. With Curt Stitch on guitar, Mick Stitch on vocals, Damian
Branica on bass and James Baggs on drums, these guys play no-frills punk with
a snotty edge. Well, maybe a few frills, but, dammit, that hair gel looks good
on them.


Lower East
Side
was recorded at the Theater (a studio on Attorney St.) and at Ng’s
studio, and it sounds damn swell. Besides cool songs like "Desensitize,"
"Deadline" and my favorite, "1st Beer of the Day," the band
does a cover of the Only Ones’ "Another Girl Another Planet,"
and a song called "Lisa" by a friend of theirs named Cranford Nix,
who played with the Malakas.


The following
is a telephone interview with Curt Stitch, the guitarist and video game master
of the band. It was done on a recent Sunday morning.


What time is
it, George?


3:15 in the
afternoon.



Oh. Oh shit.
Okay.


Did I wake
you?



No, I got up
when I heard the phone ring.


How do you
feel about playing CMJ?



I don’t
know too much about CMJ. We’ve done it before and we’ve had fun with
it. We just hope the Red Hot Chili Peppers aren’t playing the same time
we are.


You’re
playing CBGB–you like it there?



Gotta love
CBGBs. They’ve always been so cool with us. Louise got us in that Spike
Lee thing and all. The Summer of Sam movie. It’s a New York institution.
You can’t be a New York band from the Lower East Side and not play CBGBs.
Especially if you’re in a punk band.


So you like
the idea you’re playing where the Ramones, Dead Boys, Furious George and
all the other greats played?



Yeah.


Do you think
CMJ helps bands out and gets them signed?



I’ve never
known any bands that have gotten signed from it…but I’m sure it might
happen. I think everyone just goes and gets drunk for the whole weekend at the
thing and they forget who they saw.


How do you
feel about your new album?



I like it.
It was a challenge for us, because we came home from touring on our last record,
and we got back five days before Christmas. Everyone went their own ways to
visit their families, and when we got back we had a meeting at the label and
they said, "We want a new record from you guys!"


Were you surprised?



We got a silly
look on our faces, ’cause we were out for nine months on tour, so needless
to say we hadn’t written anything new. We left the meeting, went straight
to rehearsal and Mick says, "Does anyone have anything?" And I told
him I had a song written out in my head called "Not That Kid" and
hadn’t even played it on guitar yet. It was just in my head. We had little
bits and pieces of other songs and just somehow put them together with words
and music.


On the cover
of the album there’s a map of the Lower East Side. What’s with all
those tiny red dots?



The little
dots are where we wrote and recorded the album. Like our rehearsal studio, my
living room, the recording studios. We usually met in my living room because
it was the biggest.


And ’cause
it has a Sony PlayStation, right?



Oh yeah. We
had one of those running the whole time during the recording session.


The blue dots
on the cover of the album–what do those mean?



That’s
where we went drinking after the recording sessions. A lot of them got covered
up by the artwork, but you can still see a few. Places like the Library, 7B,
Niagara, Ludlow Bar, 9C, Grass Roots…


Continental?



Yup.


Who in the
band can drink the most?



I’m the
one in the band who usually lasts the longest.


Do you chalk
that up to your old age, Curt?



[laughs] Practice.
Lots of practice. You want to be good at something, you need lots of practice.


L.E.S. Stitches
play Sat., Oct. 21, at CBGB, 315 Bowery (Bleecker St.), 982-4052.


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