Words: Yasi Salek
Photos: Alice Baxley
Do you remember the first time you heard a band that made you feel like it had snuck into your brain in the middle of a cold, dark night; silently pilfered all your innermost thoughts and then had the gall to transmute these feelings—YOUR feelings—into songs? If you’re my age (you’re not, you still have the hope and promise of youth, I can smell it from here), then that band and its thought-thieving products are probably still with you, because they were the songs that made you cry, and the songs that saved your life (apologies to The Smiths for that lyric-lifting, and shout out to Nirvana, The Replacements and all my other teenage band soul mates).
Pangea wasn’t my first (because I’m basically middle-aged), but they might be yours. Born of the ashes of singer/guitarist William Keegan’s dying hippie-dom, Pangea makes garage-punk-folk-wop (I came up with that all by myself, thank you very much) that is equal parts bittersweet and biting, so if you’re in the market for a band that you can cry-mosh to, here you go and you’re welcome. (Wait; do other people not do that? Is that weird? Nevermind?)
I sat down with Keegan, bassist Danny Bengston, guitarist Chad Ubovich and drummer Erik Jiminez and a whole lot of tequila shortly before their Altamont-sponsored California tour with FIDLAR and Meat Market. Here’s the interview, minus my slurring and several tangential meanderings into WTF-town.
How did you guys all meet?
William: I met Danny in Tijuana at a whorehouse. It was called Hong Kong and we just hit it off.
Danny: Yeah I saw him with this stripper chick and I was trying to get in on it, and he was like “Instead of double-teaming this girl why don’t we just start a band?”
William: Ok, we’ll answer sincerely. Danny used to have a band called Venus Diode when he was in high school. I was older, and we played a show with him and his band at a coffee shop and Danny fanboy-ed me afterward. He came up and was like, “I really like your band.”
Danny: Yeah and William kind of like totally shut me down and kind of was a dick to me, but I ended up bro-ing down with his twin brother Elliot, drinking 40s near a dumpster. And Elliot was like, “That’s my brother’s band” and I was like, “They’re really good!”
William: Danny started calling me and we started hanging out. But it took a long time after that for the band to actually start. I moved to Canada for a little while, and when I came back, that’s when the band actually started.
Danny: He’d been playing under the name Pangea with his girlfriend at the time Adrian Tenney. It was a two-piece originally, and Adrian had been in my old band, God Equals Genocide. Then William asked me to play bass with them, and we started playing some random shows in like, parks.
Why is your band called Pangea?
Danny: Because William was a hippie.
William: Because at some point I thought it was really important for people to come together …
Danny: This is during the same time that he wrote a song called “Golden Arches”, whereas now he loves McDonalds.
William: I wrote this song “Golden Arches” about how I hated fast food and fast food culture and the idea of killing yourself slowly. It was really awful.
Chad: You should have made that into a concept album.
I heard you guys are usually blacked out when you play shows. What’s that all about?
William: I’m the only one who is blacked out when we play shows. But I only black out for like, 50-60% percent of shows.
Danny: Usually the rest of us keep it together.
William: It makes for a fun next morning after the show, because I get to hear about the show after it happened. So I experience it, then forget, then get to re-experience it through people telling me about it.
Danny: Yeah the rest of us are okay but William is sometimes just totally gone and says terribly stupid things on stage. Like in San Francisco he told the crowd he voted for Romney. And he would always say stuff like “You are all stupid for liking us.”
Charming. So what are the top three shows you guys have ever played?
William: The El Rey with Ty Segall, Bleached and Night Beats, and Burgerama last year …
Danny: And I’d say also the last show we played with Black Lips at the Observatory, with Audacity and King Tuff. We’d played the Observatory main stage a couple of times before, but that was the first time we stepped out and people just went insane from the get-go.
If you guys could tour with any band, living, dead, imaginary, who would you tour with?
Chad: The Grateful Dead
Danny: I’m a Beatlemaniac, so the Beatles.
William: I have to think about it.
Think about that dad.
Danny: I want to meet that dad. Doo-doo-doo-doo! Tim and Eric!
William: I guess Violent Femmes, like late 80s Violent Femmes.
Danny: Change mine please. I would choose Tim and Eric’s band, Pusswhip Gangbang.
What are you guys most looking forward to with this upcoming tour with FIDLAR and Meat Market? What’s going to go down? Give us some predictions.
Erik: One death.
Chad: I’m going to kill myself.
William: I imagine just a lot of bonding with bros. I’m going to make out with at least one FIDLAR and one Meat Market for sure.
Chad: I hope William and I go off into the desert and then we have this great trip together and we end up sleeping, just holding each other.
That’s interesting considering your tour does not seem to pass through the desert. But I do hope that happens.
Danny: We’re playing in Santa Cruz so I predict a lot of septum piercings.
Is anyone going to get a Prince Albert?
Chad: I am for sure.
So what’s up next for Pangea?
William: We have an EP coming out called Badillac, probably in late February or early March and it will be the best EP that comes out this year for sure.
Erik: Boo ya!
Danny: And it’s a 10-inch and that’s fucking tight.
ALTAMONT PRESENTS the FIDLAR/Pangea Tour:
Thursday, January 17th - Davis @ House Party at Babeylon All ages
Friday, January 18th - San Francisco @ Amoeba in store at 6:00 PM Bottom of the Hill All Ages
Saturday, January 19th - Santa Cruz @ The Atrium (inside the Catalyst) 16+
Sunday, January 20th - Santa Ana @ Constellation Room (inside the Observatory) All Ages
Tuesday, January 22nd - LA Show @ location TBA
Thursday, January 24th - Amoeba in Store in LA at 6:00 PM
Friday, January 25th - San Diego @ Che Cafe. All Ages