Volume 92, Issue 91
Friday, March 19, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
These flys refuse to be sheep
Photo by Bob Berg
YEP, THEY DEFINITELY LOOK A LITTLE BUGGY. The buzz around town can end, as the Embassy attracts The Flys on Sunday night, opening for Eve 6.
By Mike Murphy
"If you have no struggle, nothing that pushes against you, nothing that tests your mettle and refines you, then you're a sheep. Nobody wants to be a sheep." This much is certain Joshua Paskowitz is anything but a flock follower.
Indeed Paskowitz, who provides vocals for the Hollywood-based foursome The Flys, has lived a life far removed from the beaten path. His youth was spent roaming throughout California and various more exotic locales in a recreational vehicle with parents and eight siblings. Papa Paskowitz is a Stanford educated medical doctor who would minister to the sick people the family encountered in its travels. Besides being a dedicated healer, his father was also an avid surfer and passed his love for riding waves along to both Joshua and his brother Adam, another member of The Flys. Their mother was also an opera singer.
Looking back on his unusual upbringing, Josh confides the adventure and excitement of a peripatetic lifestyle were not always what he wanted. "I'm happy now because life has made me strong enough to deal with anything, but as I was living it I was not too stoked about it," he explains.
"I wish I could have gone to school, had friends and been a normal person. I didn't want to have my 14th birthday in Portugal or be a 12 year-old kid in the jungles of South America, getting rabies and saving people's lives and doing all that high drama bullshit. I wanted to play Lego."
Perhaps because he missed his chance to fashion castles out of coloured bricks, Paskowitz now devotes most of his energy to being musically constructive. Along with Adam and the other Flys Peter Perdischizzi (guitar), James Book (bass) and Nick Lucero (drums) Paskowitz loves to play around with sonic building blocks to create new sounds. "We like to think of ourselves as a modern rock band," he says. "We play rock and roll music but we apply reggae, dance hall and hardcore. We're kind of noodlers."
With the release of Holiday Man, their debut album on the Trauma Records/Delicious Vinyl label, the group has attracted considerable popular interest. Most radio listeners will be familiar with "Got you (where I want you)," the hit single which also appeared on the soundtrack to the film Disturbing Behaviour.
By keeping a level head, Paskowitz and the guys seem to be taking success in stride. "We've been very fortunate in that we haven't really taken ourselves too seriously," he observes. "We've grown with the right mental attitude, not trying to become too famous or too successful too quick.
"We pride ourselves on musicality," he adds. "None of us ever went to music school or anything, but we've been forged in the fire. We like to think of ourselves as guys with enough musical knowledge to really take the listener on a trip."
A big part of The Flys' appeal seems to be their energetic live show. "If Run DMC was the lead vocalist for Led Zeppelin, that's what a Flys live show would be. We play rock and roll music but we approach it like hip hop. Our live set is what we pride ourselves on."
As for future aspirations, the band seems intent on developing a strong, grass roots fan base and some staying power. "What I really want to see is that we have a measure of actual credibility, people genuinely liking our music and having it not just be a pop phenomenon, a flash in the pan."
Clearly, this group is not averse to straying from the flock. "We're not just gonna sit there and strum an acoustic guitar and sing about how bad our lives suck," Joshua asserts.
These Flys may be what the buzz is about for a long time to come.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999