THE BRONX are but one event in the overarching lattice of coincidence that metaphysically guides the spiral of life. They also rock harder than a well-placed kick to the crotch.

Story: J. Bennett



L.A. SYNCHRONICITY


"A lot o’ people don’t realize what’s really going on. They view life as a bunch o’ unconnected incidents ’n’ things. They don’t realize that there’s this, like, lattice o’ coincidence that lays on top o’ everything. Give you an example, show you what I mean: Suppose you’re thinkin’ about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly someone’ll say, like, ‘plate,’ or ‘shrimp,’ or ‘plate of shrimp’ out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin’ for one, either. It’s all part of a cosmic unconsciousness." -Miller, Repo Man (1984)



In the May 2006 issue of The Believer, the monthly magazine published by the self-appointed literati at McSweeney’s, contributor Jim Ruland wrote a lengthy article about a Repo Man-themed scavenger hunt in downtown L.A. The winner(s) of said hunt would walk away with a 1964 Chevy Malibu, the same car driven by J. Frank Parnell, the preternaturally sweaty nuclear physicist of Repo Man fame played by Fox Harris. The first scavenger-hunt clue leads Ruland to a forgotten corner in the vast industrial wasteland of downtown Los Angeles. Less than a week after reading the article, I’m given directions to the exact same corner, on which sits a large brick edifice that houses the Bronx’s practice space–a space they happen to share with the Circle Jerks, whose bassist, Zander Schloss, played Kevin in Repo Man.



Metaphysically speaking, this is like being led to a rusty needle in a haystack made out of rusty needles. What are the chances of reading an article (in a magazine you’ve never read before) that mentions an obscure corner in Los Angeles (a city with approximately four million corners) where you will be sent, less than a week later (by another magazine), to interview a band that happens to share a practice space with another band that is actually mentioned in the first article? This is what Tracey Walter meant by “the lattice of coincidence.” This is my plate of shrimp.



No one’s ordering the shrimp at the dingy Mexican restaurant across the street from the Bronx’s practice space, though. Not guitarist Joby Ford; not bassist James Tweedy; not drummer Jorma Vik; not vocalist Matt Caughthran; and certainly not me. Nobody really trusts the seafood at places like this–especially not Vik, who doesn’t even trust the carne asada. Luckily, there’s nothing wrong with the Tecate or the Negra Modelo, which is brought out to us by a thick-limbed waitress from a murky barroom at the rear of the restaurant. As we sip our beer and inhale tortilla chips, Ford explains why the Bronx have decided to call their forthcoming album The Bronx-even though the band’s previous album was also called The Bronx.



“Why do you have to title a record?” he asks. “And besides, what differentiates a record? Is it the title or the songs? There are so many rock ‘n’ roll things that people think they have to do, but if you’re in a band, you should be able to do whatever the fuck you want to do.”



You don’t think naming a record is another creative opportunity?



“Yeah,” Ford agrees, “but don’t you think it’s more creative to not name it?”



Are you going to continue to not name your albums?



“Yeah,” he says. “I mean, look: It’s not like a marketing ploy. Like when people say, ‘Oh, you guys play loud and fast-you should go on Warped Tour.’ We’re like, ‘I don’t think so.’ I’m not saying we’re reinventing the wheel-it’s just one more step in doing what we want and not being like everyone else. Everyone else is boring.”



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