Imagine Mike Ness fronting ’80s-era Metallica. That describes the most recent turn in the progression of Thousand Watt Stare from punk roots to something approaching metal-ish hard rock. They look like punks on metal, for that matter, which is to say metal minus the formula. 2011’s Silver Dimes is a head-bruising collection of darker themes set in a clean, dynamic approach. Tight, no slop, lean, and to the point. Guitarist Christian Martucci has an encyclopedic knowledge of power chords and heavy riffs in his left hand, and he delivers more of that in Thousand Watt Stare than in any band in his past. They would include Black President, a run as Dee Dee Ramone’s guitarist, Chelsea Smiles, and road time with Corey Taylor from Slipknot, who is no stranger to ear-bleed.
Even Slash, when he was in need of a second guitar, auditioned Martucci. The gig went to someone else, but that’s okay; if he’d landed on Slash’s payroll, Martucci might never have launched TWS.
- Friday, May 30, 2014, 8 p.m.
3615 El Cajon Boulevard,
There’s a local connection: in 2010, Martucci recruited a couple of members from Poway’s Unwritten Law to join him in Thousand Watt Stare. They are bassist Pat Kim and drummer Dylan Howard. The three spent one day recording their debut EP. After a West Coast tour, they brought in Trevor Howard on guitar. A listener may hear cliché in this band’s music, but I say forgive. By the time Alice Cooper brought shock rock to the nation’s arenas in 1971, every cool guitar riff had already been exploited. And besides, Martucci’s okay with the shift in genres. He told a reviewer once that he resented convention, that he didn’t much care for expectations. “There’s no rules,” he said about Thousand Watt Stare, which leaves the door wide open to wonder what direction the follow-up to Silver Dimes might take.