I saw a band called the Dateless Losers at the Ould Sod on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights. I liked their songs and their sense of humor. After their set I asked Tim Curns to tell me about the band.
“Growing up in upstate New York,” says Tim, “Gabe [Lander] and I looked to the west to find a solution to our humdrum existence.… I followed Gabe out to Southern California after hearing how much fun he was having in Tijuana. I came out with the intention that we would start a full band and become the next Radiohead and then realized that we were complete nobodies who had no car, no money, and no women.
“Despite all of this, we kept playing our guitars at open mikes and for friends until we discovered that juxtaposing congruent-sounding songs seemed to wake up the audience to sing along and drink copious amounts of beer. We kept on doing that, and it has morphed into a techno/audio/visual/metal nightmare that we refuse to let people wake up from. Keep in mind that we are still nobodies with no money, though.”
Best song: Beck’s “Loser,” Petty’s “Even the Losers,” or the Beatles’ “I’m a Loser”?
Tim: “I prefer Beck’s song because of the bilingual nature. But Reel Big Fish’s ‘Dateless Losers’ is kind of our inspiration, to be honest.”
Gabe: “Definitely Beck’s version. It’s great hearing people who don’t know he’s saying ‘Soy un perdedor’ sing along with it. When you ask them what they’re singing, you get some pretty great answers: ‘So open the door’ or ‘Sore head to toe.’ Although Tim will confirm that I am king of making up horrendously butchered lyrics for songs.”
Best dating show?
Tim: “I think Blind Date is amazing because host Roger Lodge has nipples that poke through even the heaviest of armored sweaters. There’s no hiding those suckers. And you gotta love the captions that pop up. But I’d say Cheaters is just about the funniest thing in the world. Did you see when the cool-guy host Joey Greco got stabbed and fell off the boat?”
Worst date you ever had?
Tim: “I once tagged along on a date that my friend had with an older woman, and this older woman just happened to bring a friend of hers who was also older. So I’m not sure if it was technically a date, but I thought it’d be interesting to get to know an older woman…who just happened to have an ‘enhanced’ chest. Anyway, the night went along swimmingly, and I made sure not to come on too strong, like holding the b button down for too long in NES’s Excitebike. By the end of the night, I thought I had swayed her. When it came time to make a move, however, she contracted SARS or something and began coughing like she was going to implode. Then her nose started running. I sat and stared. Then she fell asleep, and I watched the end of a surprisingly good episode of Matlock on TV. So I guess it wasn’t all bad.”
Gabe: “Date? Are you kidding me? Dateless! Never been on one, ever.”
Best date movie?
Tim: Shaun of the Dead. “It’s romantic, it’s scary, it’s funny, and it has zombies.”
Gabe: “What’s with the dating questions?”
Best bar for acoustics?
Tim: “I think we’ve had the best sound at the Gig in Hollywood. We usually have to do our own sound, and we cause feedback, and everyone looks at us like we’re wolfmen. The Ould Sod in Normal Heights is our favorite place to get drunk. And our favorite place to play. Often both of these go well together.”
Gabe: “It’s not something we usually pay attention to. Sometimes we play a show with other bands, and they take eons working with the sound guy to get every nook and cranny of every instrument’s sound tweaked to glorious precision. Makes us crazy. We plug in our guitars and iPod and just hope it doesn’t sound too terrible. Hell, the worse the acoustics, the less likely the audience is to notice how terrible our playing really is.”
Your thoughts on drinking and performing?
Tim: “We’re occasionally drunk by the end of the night, but we always sound as if we’re completely hammered. That’s just how little talent we actually have.”
Gabe: “Oh, my goodness. It’s a necessity. I’ve been known to overdo it a bit from time to time. I can think of several instances where I’ve irritated Tim with my complete inability to play or sing on account of too much beverage. I turn into a Tasmanian devil.”
Tim: “Well, his hair looks like one, anyway.”
Most overrated singer-songwriter of all time?
Tim: “Elton John. I’ll give him some credit, but ‘Benny and the Jets’ might be the most annoying song in the history of music.”
Gabe: “People get angry when I say this, but I’ll say the Beatles. Listen to any of their later stuff and pretend it wasn’t the Beatles. Pretend some unknown band had written it. Is it still good? Would anyone bother listening to it more than once? The answer, my friends, is no.”
A song you like that you usually don’t admit to liking?
Tim: “Every Britney Spears song. Actually, I do admit to that. She’ll always be my girl, no matter how many cankles she has.”
Gabe: “Anything by *NSYNC. Definitely a guilty pleasure. Especially ‘O Holy Night’ off their Christmas album. I normally despise Christmas music and all things related to Christmas, but I get the chills when I hear their version of this song.”
Best/worst band names?
Tim: “We’ve changed our name several times over the years, and I think, in my humble opinion, we’ve probably had the greatest names. Some examples include ‘Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Select, Start,’ ‘My Name Is Enigo Montoya,’ ‘You Killed My Father,’ ‘Now Prepare to Die,’ the related ‘Wesley and Princess Buttercup,’ and ‘The Wrath of Kahn…Kaaahn!’ I heard once of a band named Boyzone. That’s pretty bad.”
Your dream date?
Tim: “It’s pretty obvious. Britney Spears — we go see Shaun of the Dead and have a drink at the Gig in Hollywood while we badmouth Elton John.”