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Mean Jeans

Jeff's Plasma Blast 2.0 jumps even deeper into the plasma pool

 Last year, the first round of Jeff's Plasma Blast rolled out to overwhelming success. Its venue, the American Legion up on Alberta, filled to capacity as tickets sold like the hottest of cakes. The mini fest was started by the surfy psych band Skelevision, formally known as Thong. Since the second installment happens this Friday, we exchanged some words with Skelevision drummer Philip Zevenbergen on names, lineups and Plasma Blast details, like how it'll also be the band's release show for their new full length Inside The Horror and tour kickoff...


The Deli Portland: How did the band end up settling on Skelevision for the name change, from the former name Thong?

Philip Zevenbergen: It kind of just became this name that got thrown around in our desperate attempt to ditch Thong. Some weird names were considered. Chemical X (like the powerpuff girls), Warped Tape, and The Shrimpers were all top contenders for a while, but ultimately Skelevision just rolled off the tongue better and was more fitting to our sound.

The name Skelevision specifically came about out of my boredom of working at Wunderland Nickle Arcade. I would often combine random prefixes with objects I'd see around the room, "skele" and an arcade game with "vision" in the title stuck out one day and I wrote it down.

Speaking of names, how did the name for Jeff's Plasma Blast itself come about?

I am a huge fan of David Cronenberg's The Fly (1986). Throughout the film Jeff Goldblum, who plays the lead role of a scientist who becomes a gross monster fly, refers to jumping into the "plasma pool". I found that to be real silly and Jeff's celebration of the plasma pool just seemed like a good name for a music fest for some reason. Originally, it was Jeff's New Years Plasma Blast when we did it in December of 2016. We just dropped the "New Years" and picked up the "2.0" and there ya have it.

What was your process for selecting the lineup for Plasma Blast 2.0?

Well, it started with just asking some bands I am close with about hopping on so I could have a good baseline of acts before reaching out to headliners. Once I had my baseline, I reached out to some more of the scene leaders about getting on, people who have been around longer in the Portland scene and have some street cred from touring or having a notable label. Once that was taken care of, I shifted into getting the headliners which was easily the hardest, most time consuming, and stressful part of the whole show. A lot of agents will lead you on and throw you back and forth on how the likely the headliner you want will take the money you've offered. However Mean Jeans and Walter TV have both been pleasures to work with and so have their agents. We are stoked to have them playing the festival and even more stoked that we get to hit Eugene the next day with Walter TV again.

Is there any particular artist(s) whose sets you're really looking forward to?

I'm most excited to see The Fabulous Downey Brothers. We played with them at the BIG BLDG BASH this year and we were totally blown away. They are going to have a crowd of totally fresh faces and I know they'll tear the house down.

I'm also stoked to see Mannequin, who are opening the festival as this will be their first show. They look like some girls who are gonna kick some serious ass.

Why did you decide to have the event be all-ages and one day long, versus spanning over two days?

When you span it over two days, you have to get the twice the artists. I see it this way only because I am a believer in the short, around 20 minute long set. Show us what you got and get off. To have the amount of artists we are having in Jeff's 2.0 would require 40 minute sets from each band over the two days. I think less people would pay attention to entire sets and the show would move a lot slower. I love this set up because it's going to pack a punch. The music will just keep going and changing rapidly, which is great for a young, unfocused mind like mine. Plus, having it be all ages was a no brainer. You don't have to be 21 to love good music, that's just silly.

You've mentioned to me how Skelevision is now a three piece. How did losing Carlo affect the writing process?

After our first tour the band came to the agreement that we wanted to move forward as a three piece without Carlo. While having to seperate ourselves from him was not something we were super happy to have to do, it really tightened us a band. Our writing sessions feel tighter and more focused on making the core structures of our songs more interesting and I think people have been really appreciating it. People are always telling us how much better of a band we are since we waddled into the Analog over a year ago for our first show. We all wish Carlo could have stuck around, but ultimately our separation with him has been better for both him and us.

What inspired some of the songs/the concept of the new album?

The lyric "Inside The Horror" specifically comes from the second track on the album, "The Sheets." The whole idea of being surrounded by horror but that we're maybe safe if we hide under our bed sheets is the visual we are playing with on our album cover. The whole album holds our psychedelic lo-fi beginnings but also mixes in our newer more punk and horror influence. I think the blend of it all came out really nicely. 

What city are you most looking forward to playing on tour and why?

Tijuana! Derek H. of On Drugs told me that it would be the most stressful and thrilling city to play, but also the most memorable and exciting too. That has me really pumped. Also, just getting to go play in Mexico is such a treat!

Doors for Jeff's Plasma Blast 2.0 are at 2:30, with music starting sharply at 3pm. Tickets are still available and reentry to the fest is allowed all day, so be sure to come early!

End Up at Another Know End Show Saturday

The Know End in Sight Series has featured some pretty good shows so far, and Saturday's will definitely be one of the best ways to both end this shitty year on and see off the Know from its northeast Alberta home.

We never miss a chance to see to heavy hitters Danava, who still manage to hold such a special place in our hearts even without having released any new material in a long time. Party rockers Mean Jeans will hopefully play almost all of this year's Tight New Dimension which, of course, has had us in a whole other dimension of rowdy punkness since April.

With the coolness of Andy Place and the Coolheads and NYC's Dirty Fences touring through to round out the bill, there's no doubt shit won't get crazy. 

Tickets are only $12, so it'd be smart to get there early and snag one before the night sells out.

Live Saturday: Psychomagic, The Rich Hands, Mean Jeans and Paul Collins Beat

If you still haven’t had a chance yet to swing by the Know’s massive, ten-day, ten-year anniversary party, you might want to make it a priority to attend Saturday night for some of the best rock and roll our fair city (and country) has to offer. Starting off the night is Psychomagic, whose psychedelic jams juxtapose against a surf-punk energy that’s sure to drive the room into a frenzy. Their recent release, Bad Ideas, captures this energy as best as any record can, yet to fully experience the garage-rock soul behind these songs you need to hear them live.

San Antonio’s Rich Hands are up next, and if their irresistible brand of power-pop is half as explosive in person as it is on their last release, Out of my Head, everyone will be in for a hell of a time. After the dust has cleared following Rich Hands' set, Mean Jeans will keep the party going with their uncontrollable punk rock spirit, which I can only describe as a most cheerful riot. If at this point, the first three bands haven’t completely destroyed the Know's tired building, then the legendary Paul Collins Beat will take the stage and show you exactly what 40+ years of experience crafting pure rock and roll music can produce. Help The Know ring in 10-years of slinging cheap beer and curating raw underground talent, by making this show your Saturday night experience, you won’t regret it.  

Written by Ben Toledo

Photo by Todd Walberg

Mean Jeans Video for "Anybody Out There" off Upcoming LP

Means Jeans

Mean Jeans is looking to take their pot smoking, boozed-up, denim-clad pizza party shenanigans into space with the release of their latest full length effort On Mars. To launch their record into the infinite void that is the internet, the trio put together a video for the single "Anybody Out There" with buddy-director Brett Roberts. Featuring a homemade spacecraft set and accompanying costumes, the video is equal parts Mystery Science Theatre and the kvetchy mid-century cult flicks that very show satirizes. It's entirely the kind of fun-fueled Bill and Ted punk irreverence we've come to expect from these devil-may-care rockers. A sign that bodes well for die-hard fans, but done with enough tongue-in-cheek style that even those with a stiff upper lip are sure to crack a smile. The full album drops April 17th via Dirtnap records, but if you really want to "celebrate" the new record with the band, then we suggest you hold out till the album release show on 4/20 at Eagles Lodge.


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