"Have a good time, all the time." Those words may have been immortalized by Spinal Tap keyboardist Viv Savage, but they embody the underlying philosophy of The Jet City Fix.
In early 2002, the members of TJCF individually reached one conclusion: they weren't exactly having a good time in their current situations. Drummer Dana Sims quit the band he was playing in ("Don't ask me the name it's completely irrelevant," he says sardonically) because he was tired of playing in someone else's band. Singer Shane Flauding left his up-and-coming emo band and moved back to his parents' house in Sedro Wooley. Brothers Ty and Justin McDonald realized they wanted to play in a band together and guitarist John Wokas decided to leave New Orleans in favor of the Pacific Northwest.
Faced with the opportunity to start something from scratch, Dana decided two things: he wanted to start a high-energy rock and roll band and he wanted to make sure he did it with people he wanted to hang out with.
A call to a longtime friend yielded Justin's number which got Dana more than he'd bargained for since Justin and brother Ty had decided they wanted to play together. The three musicians clicked instantly: in fact, the first several TJCF songs were written as the result of the first few jam sessions.
John Wokas responded to an ad placed by the fledgling band. Only one problem he was still living in New Orleans. "He said he was moving in a month, but we just sort of went, 'Yeah, right give us a call when you move out here and we'll see,'" says Dana.
As fate would have it, none of the other guitarists the band talked to worked out. As promised, Wokas called the minute he got back to Seattle. "The four of us hung out at the Queens of the Stone Age show the night he got into town and it was great," explains Dana. "Then we got together to play and halfway through the first song, we knew he was in."
With the band itself firmly in place, the only missing piece was a singer. Dana groans. "We had every sort of horrific nightmare audition possible," he laughs. "We're talking fodder for at least three Spinal Tap-type comedies!"
Throughout the ordeal, the band kept hearing about a mythical "kid in Tacoma." "This went on for about three weeks," says Dana. "Everyone knew who he was but no one knew his name or number. Then finally a friend of Justin's who works at a coffee stand figured it out and got us in touch except that when we called his number, we found out that he'd moved back up to his parents' two days before."
Undeterred, they continued to track down the mysterious singer. They finally made contact with Shane, who promptly hitched a ride back down to Seattle with a friend. The band sent him back with a tape of their songs. The rest, as they say, is history. "He came back a week later and blew us away," Dana still marvels.
With a dream line-up firmly in place, things moved quickly. Less than two months after Shane joined, the band played its first show. Their debut album, Play to Kill, was finished only a couple months later. In less than six months, the band had over 20 shows including high profile slots opening for Zen Guerilla, the Makers and Dr. Know under its belt.
"We really enjoy spending time together I mean, we probably spend six out of seven nights each week with each other. That's why we've accomplished this much this soon," explains Dana.
That chemistry and the commitment to having a great time is especially obvious in the band's live show. "It's a lot of fun," says Shane. "We really do have a lot of fun. I look at our shows as a time to forget about work, your job, school, homework, whatever, and just rock out and have a good time."
While TJCF has built a substantial Northwest following in a very short time (mostly based on their knock-out performances) the release of Play To Kill will finally give the rest of the country the chance to experience the band's particular brand of ferociously catchy rock and roll.
"We're a little glam, a little punk, pop, hard rock, all just kinda smashed together," says Shane.
"I think what ties it all together is our love of 80s guitar rock," laughs Dana.
"I love to rock!" agrees Shane.
Whatever you call it or however you want to describe it, you won't be able to get Play To KIll out of your head once you hear it. Songs like "Dumb Luck" and "Drowning" are as catchy as anything currently riding the Warp Tour train, while "The Life" and "Jet City's Rockin" simply rip.
In fact, "The Life" might provide the ultimate insight into TJCF. "Give me rhythm, a catchy little hook/A bass line so hot it makes the strings cook/You know thatŠMe and the boys we love to rock."