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The Atoms are a young band, barely old enough to play the bars around town. The members came together at Bonita Vista High School in 2003 with a dream to play music. They have a forthcoming EP produced by Sweet Tooth Records and can be seen at alternative side venues such as the Casbah’s Atari Room and the stage corner of UCSD’s Ché Café. The band recently served as the “opening act” for the Ken Cinema’s showing of the Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense. Their tunes are retro, early ’80s, influenced by the punk/pop/new-wave sound of early Devo, Blondie, and the Boomtown Rats.

The five Atoms are Joey on vocals, Dee on guitar, Kaitlin on keyboards, Branden on bass, and Christy Beats “on the beats.” I caught up with them rehearsing for a gig; half the members were getting over the flu.

BEST/WORST GIGS?

Branden: “Best, any Ché show. Worst, any bar show with fewer than 15 people in attendance.”

Joey: “The gig we did with Gravy Train at the Ché Café was both the best and worst. It was the best because we were sort of starting out around that time. It was the first sold-out show we ever played, so you can imagine our excitement. The kids were digging the show so much they started physically and sexually assaulting the band [onstage]. That’s when it got messy, concluding with us all having busted lips and a whole new bag of issues to rant to our shrinks about.”

WHAT IS IN YOUR CD PLAYER TODAY?

Joey: “Sparks, Propaganda.”

Branden: “Talking Heads: 77.”

Dee: “Wire, Pink Flag.”

Kaitlin: “Jay Reatard, Blood Visions.”

Christy: “CD?”

WHAT DID YOU DO PROM NIGHT?

Branden: “Hung out with my band.”

Joey: “The band attended prom together in 2005. We digested an unhealthy amount of mercury at Benihana, arrived to the dance late, took cues from the other students, and danced ridiculously all night. Later we engaged in underage drinking and unprotected sex. Nothing special - just some American kids getting American kicks.”

Christy: “Motel 6 and Denny’s.”

Dee: “My hand.”

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT…WHAT ABOUT IT?

Branden: “What about it…”

Christy: “Yes, what about it…?”

Dee: “What?”

Joey: “What’s that?”

Kaitlin: “Sticky!”

FAVORITE QUOTE?

Joey: “The fittest shall survive, yet the unfit may live.”

Christy: “If you can put ketchup on it, you can put BBQ sauce on it.”

Dee: “There’s no such thing as hair-do’s or don’ts.”

BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED…

Branden: “Follow your mind.”

Joey: “Anything Branden says.”

Christy: “Stay the course.”

SEXIEST LOCAL PERFORMER?

Branden: “Austin from the Power-Chords.”

Dee: “Jeremy Rojas.”

BEST TIME YOU EVER HAD DRUNK?

Joey: “At a gig in Vegas our publishing company took us out for a night on the town where we drank from dusk till dawn, ate a dangerous amount of pizza, and I ended the night by shouting obscenities in a four-star restaurant. Naturally I embarrassed myself, the band, and the publishing company who was letting us abuse their plastic…I wandered the streets of Vegas all night, but that’s another story. Wow, that was awesome!”

WORST JOBS?

Branden: “Dishwasher.”

Joey: “The only job I’ve ever had is working retail…it’s great for observing human behavior, but I barely got a bowl of rice a day.”

FAVORITE DEAD CELEBRITY?

Branden: “John Lennon.”

Joey: “Hugh Hefner.”

WHO WILL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT?

Dee: “Obama, because he’s so cute!”

Joey: “The Atoms support the right to vote, rather than any particular person or party. Who knows? I mean, didn’t the guy who won eight years ago only end up making a documentary?”

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