From Half A Cow....
So ... who are the Exbats?
Arizona garage-punks The Exbats didn’t set out to reinvent family. They set out to recapture the spirit of rock n' roll, and on their debut seven incher “Hercules” (Half A Cow Records) they manage both. The song is taken from the debut LP E is for Exbats (Burger Records). There are two previously unreleased songs on the b-side “Revolution (all the time)” and “Fortune Cookie”.
19-year-old Inez and her weirdo father Kenny McLain are naturally opposed to an ordinary life. They reject common paths and find their happiness writing songs together. Think X-Ray Spex or The Coathangers meets the Bad News Bears, a little more troublegum than bubblegum. The Exbats are about finding your love without compromise. It's about fighting to be heard and understood, the product of a girl and her dad happily stuck with each other; messy, loud and colouring outside the lines. They remain devoted to each other and the power of rock and roll. They're itinerant messengers carrying the torch for urgent, opinionated love songs.
The Exbats are no-frills rockers focusing on solid songsmithing. They obsess over the idea of the single from the golden age of rock n' roll. They write intimate yet fun songs that harness 60s girl groups and modern punk in equal parts. Inez got her first drum kit at 10 years old, so Kenny picked up an electric guitar. They learned to be musicians together. They put an old piano in their living room and treated it more like a practice space. They read a lot of Greek mythology, watched Xena: Warrior Princess, and wrote tons of songs. They played their first show when Inez was 12. For the next six years they wrote scores of songs and played out wherever they could. They left their home in Portland and moved to a desolate corner of the Navajo Nation in Pinon, Arizona. Kenny taught second grade. Inez went to High School. They won first prize at her sophomore year talent show, playing "Cracked Heart." They packed the car and logged thousands of miles for the slimmest of audiences, as if it were a privilege. Two heroes on a quest.
"We cope with society by driving around the desert playing shows and finding our people," says Inez. "We keep writing, striving the type of song that can reach everybody at once, that can put a cracked person back together in two and a half minutes."
At a low point when they were thinking about calling it quits, they played a show while on vacation in Prague. the audience went crazy and made them play their set twice that night. When they got home they wrote “Are We Dead Yet.” The obvious answer was no.
"Man, that little basement bar looked just like The Cavern Club," Kenny says. "Inez’s voice just cruised into their hearts like an arrow."
They returned home from Europe rededicated to The Exbats and quickly found an ally in Matt Rendon (Resonars) at Midtown Island Studios in Tucson Arizona. They booked a couple days and drove the eight hours off the reservation. Rendon loved these songs. He immediately alerted Burger Records who released their first two cassettes, A Guide to the Health Issues Effecting Rescue Hens and I Got the Hots for Charlie Watts.
The Exbats have now relocated to Bisbee, Arizona. They regularly tour the West Coast, playing with bands like Mike Watt, SadGirl, No Win, Starcrawler and Skating Polly. The Exbats want people to remember how it felt when they first heard a song that made them feel bigger than the world, like finding love after years alone... like your first kiss. The Exbats are in the studio now recording their next album. We have so much more to look forward to with this father/daughter duo.
"We made lots of friends along the way," Kenny says. "We're pushing 300,000 miles on the same Ford Explorer we left Portland in. We're both a little older and wiser. Inez has joined a ceramics cult, drawing and making clay vaginas. I'm still teaching and silk screening show posters in our living room, and we're always writing new songs. We just added Arizona punk-utility-god Bobby Carlson on bass. We're full steam ahead. We're on an all-out campaign to spread the message that rock and roll isn’t dead. In fact, it still sounds totally killer!"