When you look at the history of Long Beach punk, there are few places that Spider hasn’t been. Though the quartet took an extended break at one point, one of LBC’s OG punk bands hasn’t lost a step, as proven by their new EP, Energy Gone Wrong, available July 26.
As vocalist Hector Martinez sees it, the follow-up to 2016’s Youth Insurance is a great chance to bring some fresh ears and eyes to the group without focusing on the decades of tales and baggage they’ve picked up along the way. “Since Spider re-formed three years ago, we pretty much started from square one—but there’s great freedom in starting with nothing,” Martinez says. “Our mindset is that we take nothing for granted. We welcome the challenge; we enjoy the struggle. If we don’t have blood, sweat and time invested in this thing, why should anybody care? If we’re fortunate enough to make a new fan at a show, we know it’s because of a genuine human connection—and when this happens, it means the world to us.”
Though other punk bands tend to slow down as they get older, Spider’s energy seems to be building. Martinez, guitarist Karl Izumi, drummer Alf Silva and bassist Jeff Abarta are winning over fans half their age with their hardcore-tinged tunes and the onstage aggression showcased at their explosive live shows. As the band toured Europe and the U.K. for the first time last year, they realized their passion and sound had traveled across the Atlantic and that their newest release would have to continue that legacy (and finally be put on limited-edition vinyl for the most voracious fans).
“The feedback from folks after they see us play [for the first time] has been very encouraging and fuels the fire,” Martinez says. “Going into the recording studio, our intent was to tap into this torrid energy, to keep it pure and to create something raw and powerful. Energy Gone Wrong is mostly about life, death and rebellion. It’s a blast of rock & roll vignettes. I’ve always been fascinated with the duality of life and the will to live. It’s the soundtrack to embracing the power to create under the specter of death, having fun and destroying myths.”
Recorded at three different studios, Energy Gone Wrong shows a surprising amount of range for a classic punk album—perhaps a perfect representation of where the guys in Spider are in their lives. And they’re now mature enough to know just how much time and energy they need to put into moments such as July 20’s record-release show at the Prospector in Long Beach to make it memorable and special for everyone in attendance.
“The trick [for any band] is not to abandon responsibility or go mad in one’s pursuit of creating, right?” Martinez says. “I always think of being in a band as analogous to Aristophanes’ description of love in one’s personal pursuit to be whole. Having the band in my life does make me whole.
“I read this really great quote by English author W. Somerset Maugham when I was younger, and it always resonated with me,” Martinez adds. “‘Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.’ It continues to resonate with me, and today, Spider charges on with a sense of anti-fragile resiliency. There will be no more breaks or downtime for this band. This time, we’re all systems go until the wheels fall off, so we’re going to take delight while we have it.”
Spider perform with Capital Vices Ltd., Manson Family Band and Sick Surreal at the Prospector, 2400 E. Seventh St., Long Beach, (562) 438-3839; www.prospectorlongbeach.com. July 20, 9 p.m. $10 (includes a copy of Energy Gone Wrong). 21+.
Josh Chesler used to play baseball for some pretty cool teams, but now he just writes about awesome stuff like tattoos, music, MMA and sneakers. He enjoys injuring himself by skateboarding, training for fights, and playing musical instruments in his off time.