Summer won’t let go with its humid grip. Even the calm black evenings hold on to the heat like a fever. The Belly Up is filled early, collectively sweating with a warm air of anticipation for the bands to come. It’s a night of locals on the rise and a strong way for Bunny Gang to catapult the release of their debut CD, 1. The Gang is opening for Dead Feather Moon and Little Hurricane. The temperature aids their efforts, the sweat-touched room a perfect clime for their dirty grind of electric blues. They ran numbers on their new song with pounding drums, heavy guitar riffs, and Megan Liscomb’s sultry rasp. With slow serpentine movements she slides across the stage demanding attention. In “Bump Bump Bump,” she growls, “Every shadow that you taste is gonna move like me.” With each song of the set you can see the shedding of timidity. It is an exciting pace to take in.
Earlier in the week Liscomb and I grabbed some sandwiches from Krakatoa and found a shade tree in Balboa Park to cool down our conversation. We got into all things musical, the origin of Bunny Gang, and the return of Arrested Development.
“I was hoping to do something like this, where I just sing, and Dustin approached me out of the blue,” says Liscomb. Drummer Adam Eidson was playing with Of Sons and Ghosts, which had a gig with Old Tiger. Eidson saw Dustin Lothspeich of Old Tiger wielding a flying V and asked him, “Do you ever get wild with that thing? Like, turn it up to 11 and rock out?” Due to the proximity of neighbors and the volume “11” entails, there had been no rocking out. The remedy for that was Adam’s rehearsal space. According to Liscomb, “They had a whirlwind bromance. They wrote a bunch of tunes in December. At the end of the month Dustin hit me up because the riffs wouldn’t work with his vocals.” She received a couple of tracks and penned lyrics for them. “I just got to do whatever I wanted with them. I had never written before without having an instrument in my hand, having control over the parts, and knowing how they fit together, and it’s a very different way to write. Sometimes Dustin will write a part and think that he’s written a verse and I’ll say, ‘Wait, that’s the chorus.’”
The debut disc was recorded in their practice space, Superior Sound in Kearny Mesa. Lothspeich mixed it and a friend of a friend mastered it. Everything was recorded live. Citing early Black Keys and Zeppelin as influences, vocally, Liscomb feeds off Billie Holiday and the Kills.
Bunny Gang has climbed the ladder quickly in San Diego. Their first show was in May at the Whistle Stop. “I like that it doesn’t have a stage,” says Liscomb. “You’re level with the crowd. It was a Friday, so it was crowded — hot and sweaty.” Before the show the band needed a name: “Dustin kept wanting names with Gang in it.... It was decision time, and I got in a car accident ’cause I slammed on my brakes for a bunny. The bunny was fine and Bunny Gang was born.”