IMAGE: Nilina Mason-Campbell
WHO: Jonnie Monroe, Christian Carmine, Justin Wheeler.
WHAT: Hyperactive spazz-core.
SOUNDS LIKE: A perpetually party-crashing, female-fronted, high-on-ephedrine Devo playing spazzed-out games of Telephone.
YEAR FORMED: 2007
MOST LIKELY TO BE FOUND: Whipping the kids into a frenzy at house shows or all-ages tastemaker venue Backspace.
VOTER QUOTE: “No band in town can boast a more charismatic leader than Ms. Jonnie Monroe. She croons and yelps into the receiver of her telephone microphone (cradled on her shoulder in proper ’80s teenage fashion), while jamming virtuoso keyboard runs and kicking a leg out, Vegas-style. While Jonnie deserves to be a superstar, her rhythm section’s no slackers. Let me take that back—they are total slackers, but they rule anyway. There are times when these kids are literally too drunk to get through a single song. But their banter, demeanor and smiles carry them through. Their train wrecks are easily as entertaining as the gigs when they sail through their short sets of poppy synth-punk gems.” —Nate Carson, Nanotear Booking founder, DJ Nate C, member of the Better to See You With, WW music freelancer
Dive bars usually house such fare as pool games, bottle fights and the occasional toothless suitor. But in Fist Fite’s case, they’re the breeding ground of future bands. “Jonnie told me I was pretty...and I said, ‘Thanks,’” drummer Christian Carmine says of his first meeting with Fist Fite’s in-your-face frontwoman. The pick-up line came to spawn not only a relationship, but five musical incarnations—including revered Olympia outfit Le Push and proggier follow-up Arcularius. For now, it’s resulted in the melodic metal-meets-punk scramble that is Fist Fite.
Though the current trio turned just one year old last month, a fortuitous gig opening for British “nu-rave” outfit Klaxons last spring garnered the band some insta-fans. After the hyped-up Londoners’ offer, Fist Fite expanded into a three-piece—quickly bringing bassist Justin Wheeler into the fold for its impending West Coast and U.K. tours. It also rose to the occasion by busting out last year’s spastic synth jaunt Downtown Canada.
Despite lucky breaks early on, the band’s endured a few trials since—the aforementioned European tour “kinda took all our money,” admits Carmine, and a just-canceled string of West Coast dates would’ve found it tearing up California stages throughout May if not for some unexpected “van problems.” The resilient group sees such setbacks not so much as stumbling blocks, but ways to grow as “teammates.” According to the scruffy-faced drummer, they’re planning to rebook for late summer and would “love to get back to Europe soon.”
If Klaxons hit fast-forward on Fist Fite’s career, for now, reality’s hit pause—or at least play. Ever good-natured, Carmine half-jokes: “We’re in the market for a good planner.”
Fist Fite at a backyard bar-b-q:
"Raven of the Night" from Downtown Canada:
SEE IT: Fist Fite plays Monday, May 26, at Tube. Website: myspace.com/fistfitefistfite