Chow Nasty
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Chow Nasty

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Rock Funk

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Apr
25
Chow Nasty @ The Uptown

Oakland, California, USA

Oakland, California, USA

Apr
24
Chow Nasty @ XOXO Bar

Reno, Nevada, USA

Reno, Nevada, USA

Apr
23
Chow Nasty @ Burt’s Tiki Lounge

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

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Music

Press


Back in June of 2005, a crowd was gathered on the lawn at Big Sur's Henry Miller Library for an all-day benefit concert. Couples cuddled on blankets and took in music by a wide variety of regional and local acts. Other people lay in the grass looking up through the spokes of redwood branches they had been put in a glowing coma by the fine entertainment and, possibly, by drinking a little too much beer too early. Brie was consumed. Small talk ensued. It was a pleasant day.

Then a band took the stage that most people in the crowd had never heard of. They were from San Francisco and called themselves Chow Nasty. As some of the audience stretched their legs or returned from a bathroom break, the trio’s guitarist and singer, Damon Harris, started chanting "Un, ungawa, baby's got the power," like it was a slogan at a fiery political rally. A few seconds later, the sunglasses-clad Joey Enos coolly laid down a jack-hammering bass line, while multi-instrumentalist Zac Hewitt programmed the band's drum machine to play an irresistible and massive beat. As Harris strummed some Clash-like riffs and Hewitt started wailing on a harmonica, some festivalgoers were immediately up and dancing, while others sat stunned by the manic intensity of the trio.

By the time Chow Nasty got to their last number, the call-and-response "Boom Cha Cha,"? Harris was covered in sweat and writhing about on the library's lawn. By the end of the 40-minute set, it was clear that there were few in the crowd who would forget the name Chow Nasty.

In the two years since that day, Chow Nasty has made impressive inroads into the music industry. The trio has headlined gigs at top San Francisco venues The Independent and the Great American Music Hall. This January, the band released a nine-song EP titled Ungawa…the Party Starts Right F**king Now, which features their number "Ungawa"? remixed by rap heavies Arabian Prince (who was a founding member of NWA) and XXXchange, of the underground group Spank Rock.

Now, the trio is getting ready to release its debut full-length Super (Electrical) Recordings. Produced by indie hip-hop legend Peanut Butter Wolf (founder of Stones Throw Records), the CD comes on like a dance music party for people who grew up on a steady diet of punk rock mixed with hip-hop.

While it's hard to imagine Chow Nasty's feral performance intensity being captured on record, Super (Electrical) Recordings is brimming with energy. The opening number, "Thick Shake,"? sounds like animated Rock the Casbah?-era Clash with a dose of old-school horns. "Floor is Bouncin,"? which features a guest spot by Pep Love of Bay Area rap collective Hieroglyphics, is stripped down dance music played on discount store electronics, while "Hot Sticky Nikki"? is a rock song with hand claps and copious blasts of harmonica.

Harris says that while in the studio Chow Nasty got into adding other instrumentation like horns and congas to the trio's sound. The singer is hoping that Chow Nasty will get a revolving group of musicians playing horns and congas at their upcoming live shows.

"We are trying to expand into a family, like Parliament," he says, referring to the legendary 70s funk band.

Whether the trio expands or not, Chow Nasty puts on an explosive live show. "We definitely do everything possible to bring the crowd into it,"? Harris says.
- Monterey County Weekly


In the video for its first single "Ungawa," Oakland's Chow Nasty (Joey Enos, Damon Harris, and Zac Hewitt) ogle fierce Amazonian trannies and party like it's 1999 in a streamer-filled room. Dour-faced rockers they ain't; there's a real sense of whimsy to go with the trio's infectious funk refrains. To celebrate Chow Nasty's debut EP, Ungawa...the party starts right f**king now, which houses the original song plus remixes from Armani XXXchange (producer of electro booty act Spank Rock) and Arabian Prince (an early member of N.W.A.), Chow Nasty will hit the weekly party Popscene (at 330 Ritch St.) on Thursday, Jan. 11, at 10 p.m. Admission is $5; call 541-9574 or visit www.popscene-sf.com for more info. - Tamara Palmer - SF Weekly


Even in extreme circumstances, such as the last performance when two of three band members had the flu, San Francisco’s Chow Nasty can hold an audience captive with its dirty- Chicago- blues- meets- Santa- Barbara- beach- party mojo. The Bay Area trio just released its debut EP Ungawa, and an LP produced by Stones Throw Records founder Peanut Butter Wolf is due out in April.

SF Station caught up with the Nasty fellas -- Damon Harris (vocals/guitar), Joey Enos (bass), and Zac Hewitt (various instruments) -- backstage before the band opened for The Lovemakers in January.

SF Station (SFS): You are all from California. How did you end up meeting in Chicago to form Chow Nasty?

Zac: Joe and I actually grew up together. Our families are old friends, so I’ve known him since he was like five years old. I hadn’t talked to him for a long time, and then I met Damon in Chicago. Joe was going to the Art Institute in Chicago and my mom said I should meet up with him. It was one of those kinds of arrangements.

Joe said he played bass, but he didn’t really. But, he showed up to practice and it worked out.

Damon: He had instinct.

SFS: Did Chicago have an impact sonically or philosophically?

Damon: Maybe philosophically. I would say, if anything, our sound is based more on getting back to California. It’s a little more fun.

Zac: This project started after we decided that we were going to move back.

SFS: Ungawa is from Tarzan right?

Damon: It was the faithful greeting that the tribe leader would give Tarzan. Joey decided to make it into a cheerleader chant that they did at his high school.

Zac: He was dating a cheerleader at the time.

Joey: But, the cheerleaders that are on the CD are the Mission High School cheerleaders.

SFS: Did you record them at a football game?

Joey: No, we actually asked their director if we could record them in the gym. We asked them to do some of our songs and we recorded them doing some of their stuff.

SFS: Have they ever showed up at one of your shows?

Damon: I don’t think they are old enough.

Zac: They might me be old enough now, it was a few years ago when we recorded it. Maybe when the CD is out one of them will show up.

SFS: They might be looking for royalties.

Damon: (laughs) We’ve always wondered about that, actually, to tell you the truth.

SFS: How did you hookup with Peanut Butter Wolf?

Damon: About a year and a half ago we opened up for this band called Chromeo in L.A. and he was there. A few months past, and I guess he liked us, so he brought us down to open up for one of his artists. We just kept in touch and when it came time to make the album we decided to ask him.

We didn’t know much about him when we first met -- he’s from the underground rap world and we’re kind of from the rock world -- but we knew that we had electronic beats and we could probably benefit from working with him.

SFS: Did his background have an influence on your sound?

Damon: His beats definitely had an influence. The things that he did with his beats were things that we wouldn’t have even had the knowledge to get into. That’s a whole new world for us, but I think it’s something we now understand a little better. I’m really excited to explore it more.

SFS: Did Chow Nasty really share the stage with MC Hammer?

Damon: We got an invitation to open up the Old School Funk Fest at the Concord Pavillion, which was headlined by MC Hammer, Cameo, and Morris Day and The Time. It was early in the day, of course. It was quite interesting to see the people react to us. - SF Station


Are the party-rockers known as Chow Nasty really three wild and crazy guys? Consider the evidence.

The band has been held down, tossed around, and pummeled by a motley crew of transsexuals in the video for its little slice of cheerleader-funk, "Ungawa." Its members are repeatedly doused with booze during the group's raucous, percussion-heavy live shows. And one Nasty boy (who prefers to remain nameless) recently injected himself into an all-female lovefest following a particularly energetic set - before spilling beer on the girls and getting kicked out.

Then again, what else would you expect from three guys who proudly liken themselves, suggestively if somewhat mysteriously, to "K-Y Jelly on a Whiffle Ball bat"?

"It's a prominent goal of ours to create an environment where people are getting loose," says singer and guitarist Damon Harris.

"We like to make people dance," adds bassist Joey Enos. "As soon as we realized we had the power to do that, it sparked our creativity. We're conscious of the music's power to get a crowd primed for a party, and that is a truly uplifting thing."

The antics certainly fit Chow Nasty's musical aesthetic. Best known for a lascivious mix of filthy swampland blues and frenetic funk set to a pounding drum-machine beat, the Oakland-based trio officially celebrates the release of its full-length debut, Super (Electrical) Records, this week. The disc is an eclectic adventure, reflecting influences as disparate as the Residents, George Clinton, and the Beach Boys. It's loaded with bouncy, blue-eyed soul reminiscent of Midnite Vultures-era Beck ("Sugartooth"), beatbox-heavy hip hop ("Floor is Bouncin"), and primal tributes to female anatomy ("A Tale of Two Titties"). Super is lively enough to spark a drunken dance-floor riot, but it's also versatile and richly textured, with spirited horns, wailing harmonicas, and multi-instrumentalist Zac Hewitt's rollicking synth riffs.

Super (Electrical) Records is being released on the band's own label, Omega. Omega was initially founded in the '50s by Harris' grandfather, Victor, a big-band composer from Hollywood. While Harris admits that his recording resources are limited, he relishes the opportunity to control the band's destiny by working independently. "I don't inherently distrust corporations," he adds. "It all depends on who's running the company."

The band made the decision to revive Omega while turning out Super. "We had this incredible team working on the record, with [Stones Throw Records president] Peanut Butter Wolf producing, and there were all kinds of exciting concepts being executed," says Harris. "We were really happy with how the record was sounding, and I think that gave us the confidence to say, "We can put this out. Someone will want to distribute this.'"

So far, the decision has paid off. "Ungawa" has already enjoyed healthy play on the L.A. and S.F. club scenes — both Peaches and J.D. Sampson of Le Tigre have added it to their DJ sets, according to Harris. Meanwhile, the album, which hit the stands on June 12, is slowly gaining recognition through recent release parties in Sacramento, San Diego, and L.A.

The disc is a follow-up to January's EP, Ungawa ... The Party Starts Right Fucking Now. It's also a culmination of four years spent on the Golden State tour circuit, where Chow Nasty has opened for the likes of Morris Day and the Time, the Eagles of Death Metal, and, once upon a time, MC Hammer. With Super hot off the presses, the question now is whether Chow Nasty's reputation for goofy, high-energy theatrics and body-rocking anthems can spark success outside of the group's cozy local confines. An upcoming 40-date showcase will be the first true test of audience response around the country.

That's fine with Chow Nasty. "We're militant about our live performances," says Harris. "The stage is our proving ground, and we go into every show with that mentality." - SF Weekly - Feature by Rossiter Drake


The average youth today has such an eclectic taste in music, it
was only a matter of time before a band was going to release
an album that will satisfy both you and your mom—and Chow
Nasty’s brought it. The group’s mix of funk, soul, electro and
punk has had it sharing the stage with everyone from Morris
Day to Eagles of Death Metal. After Peanut Butter Wolf saw
Chow Nasty play with Chromeo in Los Angeles, he decided to
help the band record Super (Electrical) Recordings all over
California. Freestyle drum loops, handclaps and soulful
horns—no sound goes untouched on this album. Although at
times this can be a little overwhelming, overall it’s fun. And with
comedic lyrics such as, ”I like the girls with the lazy eyes/I like
the girls with the extra toes,” on the track “Lazy Eyes,” it’s difficult
not to love Super (Electrical) Recordings. Especially with that darn
youth running amok in the mall these days. - URB Magazine


Leave it to San Francisco dance rock outfit Chow Nasty to conjure up a little raunchy
voodoo for their Friday the Thirteenth album release bash. The packed bill featured
lots of dazzle from local acts that seemed to pride themselves on energy and impact...

If Talking Heads had considered bootie music more than a means to an end, perhaps
Chow Nasty would have an artistic legacy to fulfill. Good thing the pressure’s off. With
showmanship cues borrowed from Rick James and mutable beats that drove upward
towards echelons of brilliant decadence, Chow Nasty’s unapologetic party music was
the highlight of the evening. Their fresh, cacophonous grooves recalled LCD
Soundsystem and !!! in the best possible ways, dispelling apprehensions with a
carefree dose of Friday the Thirteenth magic: one could not resist the urge to dance.
-Review by Andres Jauregui; photos by Valerie Shoaps - Performer Magazine


A few years ago, in a different city, I wrote that Chow Nasty were on their way to total world domination. I stand behind that ridiculous claim. Now that the Bay Area electro-blooze trio are armed with Super (Electrical) Recordings, produced by Peanut Butter Wolf, they're one step closer to enslaving us all with their unruly raunch-rock party jams. "Ungawa," featuring the Mission High School cheerleaders on backing vocals along with a lowbrow drum machine beat and scuzzilicious bass line, has become an unlikely club hit favored by Peaches and Le Tigre. Some words I've used in the past to describe their unabashedly fun form of freak-funk: "like KY Jelly on a Wiffle ball bat," "like hot oil on a stripper pole," and, my favorite, "like the mystery residue on the inside of your pleather hot pants." Yeah, that's Chow Nasty. - by JONATHAN ZWICKEL
- The Stranger


Discography

1) Super (Electrical) Recordings, Jun 2007
2) Ungawa...The Party Starts Right F**king Now EP, Jan 2007

Super (Electrical) Recordings charted hit at least #89 on the CMJ charts this summer. Chow Nasty returned from a US tour, supporting the new release, in September.

Photos

Bio

Chow Nasty remind me of Pussy Galore, the seminal cult rock outfit that fractured at the beginning of the '90s to create The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Boss Hogg, and Royal Trux. In the same way that Pussy Galore absorbed and refracted classic swamp blues, Detroit Rock City wham-a-lam, and sweet 60s drug music chug through a post-punk lense. At times Chow Nasty come across like Screaming Jay Hawkins fronting The Velvet Underground or some kind of Charles Addams-version of James Brown jamming with Joy Division. Both bands also utilize unlikely instrumentation in their music. Chow Nasty lists their drum machine, Sven 2.0, as a full-fledged band-member and their music includes generous dollops of harmonica. Pussy Galore also incorporated simple drum loops and banged on old bathtubs and homemade percussive contraptions.

Unlike Pussy Galore whose road trip through rock's backwoods was heavy on the irony and wraught with punk's fuck-you disdain, it's clear that Chow Nasty are here to make the party. The SF Bay Guardian said their infectiously goofy, balls-out shows come off like some kind of underage, oversexed punk b-boy Rolling Stones revival." Spiritually linked with groups like Gravy Train!!!, Junior Senior, The Bellrays, and Stones Throw Records founder Peanut Button Wolf, who's producing their debut [full length] album with the band, Chow Nasty's "Chest-beating Tarzan party rock" has shared stages with MC Hammer, Cameo, Morris Day & The Time, and The Ohio Players. They're more photocopied fanzine than a hipster rock textbook. In these days of post-post modernism, Chow Nasty are a low-irony treat that defies categorization to the benefit of all in ear-shot.

-Shroomer McGinty, Noise Pop