Rise of the Speedmen began as Gene Padigos’s one-man stage show, featuring electronic prerecorded music accompanied live by various instruments, from guitar to synth, bass, and drums.
“I got most of my gear with insurance money after getting hit by a drunk driver,” says Padigos. “The recording equipment turned out to be the best investment I could make. The whole homemade, bedroom-album thing was just starting, but I wanted to do something that sounded more like a band and less like some guy with a hard-drive full of samples and a drum machine.”
In 2008 Padigos recruited bassist Nick Shingle and drummer Rea for the band, both from local punkers Fifty on their Heels.
“I’d call our music electro-rock,” says Padigos, a native San Diegan. “It’s scientifically designed for the vocals to be sung in a low-reverberation wave fragment with minimal poetic lines, underlined with lots of beat-down, driving, electronic percussion.”
The songs manage to sound both old-school and cutting edge. “I like to take the structures of pop music and the minor-chord progressions of goth and top it off with the instrumentation of guitar and synthesizers. Vintage synthesizers, to be specific…only the retro gear has that real, old-fashioned, funky-worm sound.”
WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER?
1. LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver. “I’ve played ‘Someone Great’ off this album about a hundred times lately. It’s more infectious than herpes.”
2. Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago. “With dope acoustic guitars and really nice melodies, this one’s a good winter soundtrack — even though I guess there’s no winter in San Diego.”
3. Guided by Voices, Alien Lanes. “These 8-track pop heroes with Robert Pollard are still leading the pack.”
4. David Bowie, Hunky Dory. “Always gotta have some Bowie in rotation, and this album is his finest work.”
5. My Bloody Valentine, Loveless. “This is a genius album, and if you don’t know it, you need to.”
1. Wild at Heart. “My all-time favorite movie, with my all-time favorite movie quote: ‘This snakeskin jacket is a symbol of my individuality and my belief in personal freedom.’ ”
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. “It’s a love story — kind of, anyway — that explores the dynamics of the breakup, regret, appreciation, and the role fate plays in our daily soap opera. How can you not relate?”
3. 1000 Clowns. “This old black-and-white movie from 1965 is about an unemployed television writer and his nephew and how they’re forced to conform to society’s standards. I remember being on a Kerouac-style trip when I first watched this movie, and it’s stuck with me ever since.”
4. Zeitgeist. “A great documentary about religion and a corrupt government. I’m not gonna say it changed my life — because that’s just cheesy to say about a movie — but it did make me reevaluate certain things in my life. If this movie is even 20 percent true, that’s pretty scary.”
1. The Casbah. “I’ve seen some of the best shows at this legendary place.”
2. Turf Club. “Good jukebox, nice atmosphere, and a smoking grill. What more could you ask for?”
MOST VISITED WEBSITES?
1. craigslist.com. “I’m big on deals, and if you don’t know about or use craigslist, then you’re probably getting ripped off everywhere.”
2. Pandora.com. “Amazingly intuitive internet radio where you type in the name of a band you like and it gives you leads on other bands that are similar.”
3. Thesuperficial.com. “You get the latest news on celebrities — all celebs, all the time. C’mon, don’t frown on me. It’s kinda interesting, like watching what monkeys do in the forest.”
BRUSH WITH FAME?
“I once bused William Shatner’s restaurant table right before he was going to sit down.”
“My computer addiction rules my life. I can’t live without the technology. Maybe I need to live in that forest with the monkeys and do a techno-cleansing.”
“My first and worst job was at a Taco Bell in the mall, where I worked for about a week. Extremely uncool.”
FAVORITE TWILIGHT ZONE?
“Our album The Real and the Shadow was actually inspired by a Twilight Zone episode. I remember waking up from a nap with the TV on, still half asleep, and finding myself in the middle of the episode where the main character, a trumpet player, is being told by this archangel about how he just got hit by a truck [“A Passage for Trumpet”]. Although he’s not dead, he is caught somewhere in between ‘the real and the shadow.’ That line seemed so surreal when I heard it, and it just stuck with me when I was working on the album.”
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW?
“I hate sharing my food. Get your own.”