Dev­ils Teeth rides the surf wave in Mil­wau­kee

Wisconsin Gazette - - Wigout - By Mike Hol­loway Staff writer

Cold, icy weather is no de­ter­rent to the adren­a­line junkies who surf Lake Michigan. It turns out, surf cul­ture in Mil­wau­kee can be found off the board as well.

Dev­ils Teeth is a four-piece out­fit that con­trib­utes to the city’s surf-rock scene.

Ear­lier in Au­gust — and also back in 2011 — Dev­ils Teeth opened shows at Shank Hall for Dick Dale, the “King of Surf Gui­tar” and a big inspiration for Dev­ils Teeth gui­tarist Jon Hanusa.

“It’s pretty awe­some to be able to play be­fore some­body that has had so much in­flu­ence on me,” Hanusa says of Dale. “He still plays a mean gui­tar and he tells great sto­ries. So it’s a cool ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Dale’s in­flu­ence is in­dis­putable, but the band’s sound isn’t solely de­fined by Dale-in­spired gui­tar riffs. Dev­ils Teeth has adapted a clas­sic surf-rock sound to Mil­wau­kee’s punk scene by adding el­e­ments of grunge to cre­ate a rau­cous, re­verb-soaked garage sound.

The song­writ­ing takes a cue from cin­e­matic sto­ry­telling, as the process in­volves role­play­ing — like the idea to write for a sce­nario where two char­ac­ters en­gage in a mar­tial arts fight.

“What would the mu­sic to this kung-fu fight be like be­tween two char­ac­ters?” asks Hanusa. “We have a lot of fun fig­ur­ing out what that nar­ra­tive is.”

The re­sults are loud, en­er­getic and fun, with Dev­ils Teeth pro­vid­ing what could be the sound­track to an al­lkiller-no-filler ac­tion flick.

Nods to mar­tial arts films are sprin­kled through­out the band’s mu­sic. A newer sin­gle, “The Junc­tion Street Eight Tigers,” is named af­ter Bruce Lee’s child­hood Catholic School gang.

The song is on the band’s up­com­ing de­but al­bum, ti­tled Suki Yaki Hot! — a dis­carded op­tion for the name of the group, as well as a ref­er­ence to the 1985 mar­tial arts film The Last Dragon.

Dev­ils Teeth is set to re­lease the al­bum Aug. 24 and then cel­e­brate with a show Aug. 25 as part of the Triple Eye In­dus­tries Fest at Club Garibaldi.

The band recorded the al­bum in Mil­wau­kee and had it mixed in Los An­ge­les by a friend of vo­cal­ist and bassist Eric Arsnow.

As of WiG’s press time, the band had teased the al­bum with three sin­gles, in­clud­ing “Di­a­mond Rio,” ac­com­pa­nied by the band’s only mu­sic video, which takes inspiration from 1963 black-and-white film of Dick Dale per­form­ing “Misir­lou.”

“I re­ally liked that iso­lated gui­tar and the light­ing all around it,” Hanusa says. “We had fun with the spot­light­ing (for our video).”

“Di­a­mond Rio” heats up with a surf-in­spired riff and show­cases the band’s weird, the­atri­cal side. The song and video are wild, driven by gui­tar-heavy hooks bro­ken by ambient noise.

On an­other sin­gle, “Dirty Tricks,” the bass takes the

Eric Arsnow, Jon Hanusa and Chuck En­gel of Dev­ils Teeth.

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