Had you attended a Lee Marvin Computer Arm show only a few years ago, you would have found yourself in a dingy basement in Lansing surrounded by crusty punks and trying to steal a glimpse of the band from behind the obstruction of a giant furnace. But if you attend a performance these days, you’ll find more than your fair share of local glitterati and music journos among the homemade-clothes-wearing battalion of fans that have been with them since the beginning. It’s a strange evolution, this transition from house party animal to headliner material — and it happens very rarely — but there’s something special about LMCA that makes the band’s growing popularity totally believable.
What is it, then?
Simply put, while LMCA has been getting exponentially better since its inception; the Detroit rock scene has come out of its boredom-induced slumber and embraced the unhinged, youthful power and passion of this band on the rise. It’s a ruckus that bassist Zachary Weedon feels sets them apart from the increasingly lame competition. “The band is a reaction to being bored with the present state of music,” Weedon says. “Commercial music is saturated with phoniness, wearing suits or having a shtick. The problem is that there is very little resistance to it anymore; people just believe that is going to be the way it is.”
One listen to their recently released EP on Conspirators in Sound, however, proves that LMCA’s raw rawk is just too damn hard to resist. But unlike most bands that are eager to jump on whatever rickety bandwagon is rolling down the streets, the boys of LMCA — which also features Weedon’s brothers Casey on vocals and Corey on guitar, Jason Eggert on trumpet and Todd McNulty on drums — have had rock ’n’ roll fever since birth. “We’ve always been excited by bands that are high energy,” Weedon says. “It’s about being genuine. Our dad would put on a Beatles record and stomp around the house until the neighbors called the cops. My mom would tell me about how she would sneak out of the house to go see the Stooges and watch Iggy go insane. Every time I put on my Marvin Gaye record, my grandmother starts singing and hollering and dancing with the dog. Our family made no qualms about reacting to music. I think it’s in our fucking blood.”
Speaking of the songs, the new EP could easily be heralded as the band’s wake-up call to Detroit’s play-by-numbers garage scene, snatching up their hyperkinetic live show and slapping it down on a disc almost too flimsy to contain their recorded fury. Bluesy, Rolling Stones-inspired riffs collide with an unabashed love for the Motor City madness of the Stooges and the MC5, while Eggert’s trumpet darts in an out of the controlled chaos like a collection of pissed-off hornets. The icing on the cake, heard on songs like the opening juggernaut “First Things Fucking Last” and the equally bombastic “No Way,” is definitely Casey Weedon’s monstrous screech. When the band lets loose with a noisy crash in the middle of “Spiritual Man,” it’s a moment that packs enough punch to poke a permanent hole right in Detroit’s garage rock ozone layer. Throughout the EP’s five-song romp, the band sets up a challenge: either it’s time to cower in the corner, or it’s time to enjoy the show.
And while the show is being enjoyed by their loyal collection of art-punk friends as well as the occasional industry luminary, Weedon knows when he smells a rat. “It’s nice to know that something you’ve put a lot of effort into is coming to fruition, but you can’t let yourself get to comfortable or buy into everything that people tell you. You have to stay grounded and just keep being critical of everything you do to kind of ensure that you’re doing your best work.”
Lee Marvin Computer Arm will perform on Sunday, Nov. 28, at the Magic Stick (4120 Woodward, Detroit) with Thunderbirds Are Now! [Full Editorial Disclosure: Ryan Allen is in Thunderbirds Are Now!] and the Javelins. Call 313-833-9700 for info. Ryan Allen is a freelance writer. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org