WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because college rock really doesn’t have to suck. Seriously.
By Eugene S. Robinson
Remember college bands?
These would be bands formed by folks in college in order to play to folks in college. Also known as “party bands.” Top 40-style stuff. Nothing challenging. But then around the time of REM — even earlier, if you want to count the Talking Heads’ meeting at RISD — college bands began to figure something out. They could probably use the last fumes of parental involvement in their cash flow to make music that busted out beyond parties.
Which is sort of exactly what the hell BABY BABY’s done. “Everybody in the band has graduated college except for me,” says guitarist and vocalist Fontez Brooks, aka Tezzy. “I am a college dropout. They’re all smart and have backup plans and have real jobs. So I’m the loser of the group. And I have nothing.”
Music is all I know and love. It’s the only time I feel fulfilled, and I’ve tried several techniques.
— Fontez Brooks, or Tezzy, vocalist and guitarist for BABY BABY
Punk rock cred intact, but the bona fides emerge: a possibility of doing the Riot Fest in Denver coming up, a short tour lined up with a much larger and now unnamed industry standard, and the Afro-Punk festival Aug. 23–24 in New York.
And nary a mention in anything attached to BABY BABY — signage, Web page or even our aborted interview (more on that later) — of the fact that three-fifths of the band are Asian/black playing music not typically played by Asian/black cats. If that wasn’t clear enough in their music videos they sport T-shirts that say, “This Is Not Rap.” So we’re not going to mention it, either, outside of saying it’s probably less important than this fact: Their messaging constantly references fun, but they play with an intensity that puts a lie to that right quick.
Just a few years old — “I’m not sure when we started,” says Tezzy — BABY BABY actually does manage to be fun without fucking around at all. They’re steeped in what sounds like power pop, punk rock and metal, but without any of those genres’ overweening earnestness. Claiming influences as far flung as, well, life and “your mom,” Tezzy says that “music is all I know and love. It’s the only time I feel fulfilled, and I’ve tried several techniques.” Listening to BABY BABY you believe him, hands down.
Even more so when this happens: “I know one other thing … something about your tone I do not like. I can’t put my figure [sic] on it. Sorry to waste your time, we’re a bunch of losers/nerds/rockers. Please go back to your life and we’ll get back to ours, as I do not believe this relationship is mutually beneficial. Thanks for wanting to interview us tho! Your ’zine seems really cool!”
Which makes us laugh and laugh. Almost as much as this video and the song the band just released with Red Bull that we can’t get out of our heads.
And … the song that made us fans?