- Blinded by the light: Rot Shit
When you're an outspoken and self-mythologizing punk band, the details can get a bit muddled. And Rot Shit -- preparing to release its third record, a 7-inch called You're Welcome, on Columbus Discount Records, is nothing if not self-mythologizing.
"Rot Shit's been around for four or five years," says guitarist Steve Anderson. "This is our third lineup, I think," adds singer Vinnie Martini, who then has second thoughts. "Actually, I think this is our sixth or seventh lineup."
The band has historically consisted of Anderson (also of Burndowns) and Martini; the rest of the cast has changed as the band has broken up, melted down, gotten back together and pretended to break up again ad infinitum. The rhythm section that's stuck, at least for now, consists of bassist John Kasunic (also of Baby Bird) and drummer Paul Quattrone (Modey Lemon, Midnite Snake and Baby Bird, among others).
The band's essence, it would seem, is this: Play loud and hard, don't worry about whom you offend (or perhaps calculate specifically to offend), and talk about what a great job you're doing. Deceptively simple; purely rock 'n' roll.
You're Welcome sums up this philosophy nicely in three songs. The A-side, "DEAD I," and the second song on the flip, "Local Band Forever," both deal with Rot Shit's nihilistic disdain for most contemporary music and the related promotional gimmicks that the members see as shallow and unnecessary.
"'Local Band Forever' is about every band in Pittsburgh -- and in the country and the world, because it's not just here -- that thinks they're doing something when they're not," Anderson expounds.
"Flying to South By Southwest doesn't mean anything. Putting out a good record means everything. Or else you're playing at Gooski's for the rest of your life," adds Martini -- a coy allusion to the site of the band's own release show this Fri., Dec. 11.
For Rot Shit (which, the members are eager to point out, is the best band in Pittsburgh), practice is nearly nonexistent. "It usually involves drinking as much beer as we can and talking about how good every song is," says Martini. And the songwriting is "like a Brian Wilson-Mike Love situation," Martini says. "We'll come up with some parts, then fight about who wrote what."
"Then I actually write the song," Kasunic interjects.
"And then that's when the talent comes in," says Quattrone, referring, of course, to himself.
Rot Shit is gearing up for what may be its last five shows as a band, beginning with the You're Welcome release show. Martini plans to move to San Francisco in January, rendering the band nonoperational, at least for now. But if it were to reunite down the line, it wouldn't be first time. Nor does Martini rule out an eventual return to Pittsburgh.
"With my track record of failing, you never know," he says.
Rot Shit with Unholy Two, Mud City Manglers and Tusk Lord. 10 p.m. Fri., Dec. 11. Gooski's, 3117 Brereton St., Polish Hill. $5. 412-681-1658