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Chow Nasty Q&A

As (Sick and) Nasty As They Want To Be

Even in extreme circumstances, such as the last performance when two of three band members had the flu, San Franciscoís Chow Nasty can hold an audience captive with its dirty- Chicago- blues- meets- Santa- Barbara- beach- party mojo. The Bay Area trio just released its debut EP Ungawa, and an LP produced by Stones Throw Records founder Peanut Butter Wolf is due out in April.

SF Station caught up with the Nasty fellas -- Damon Harris (vocals/guitar), Joey Enos (bass), and Zac Hewitt (various instruments) -- backstage before the band opened for The Lovemakers in January.

SF Station (SFS): You are all from California. How did you end up meeting in Chicago to form Chow Nasty?

Zac: Joe and I actually grew up together. Our families are old friends, so Iíve known him since he was like five years old. I hadnít talked to him for a long time, and then I met Damon in Chicago. Joe was going to the Art Institute in Chicago and my mom said I should meet up with him. It was one of those kinds of arrangements.

Joe said he played bass, but he didnít really. But, he showed up to practice and it worked out.

Damon: He had instinct.

SFS: Did Chicago have an impact sonically or philosophically?

Damon: Maybe philosophically. I would say, if anything, our sound is based more on getting back to California. Itís a little more fun.

Zac: This project started after we decided that we were going to move back.

SFS: Ungawa is from Tarzan right?

Damon: It was the faithful greeting that the tribe leader would give Tarzan. Joey decided to make it into a cheerleader chant that they did at his high school.

Zac: He was dating a cheerleader at the time.

Joey: But, the cheerleaders that are on the CD are the Mission High School cheerleaders.

SFS: Did you record them at a football game?

Joey: No, we actually asked their director if we could record them in the gym. We asked them to do some of our songs and we recorded them doing some of their stuff.

SFS: Have they ever showed up at one of your shows?

Damon: I donít think they are old enough.

Zac: They might me be old enough now, it was a few years ago when we recorded it. Maybe when the CD is out one of them will show up.

SFS: They might be looking for royalties.

Damon: (laughs) Weíve always wondered about that, actually, to tell you the truth.

SFS: How did you hookup with Peanut Butter Wolf?

Damon: About a year and a half ago we opened up for this band called Chromeo in L.A. and he was there. A few months past, and I guess he liked us, so he brought us down to open up for one of his artists. We just kept in touch and when it came time to make the album we decided to ask him.

We didnít know much about him when we first met -- heís from the underground rap world and weíre kind of from the rock world -- but we knew that we had electronic beats and we could probably benefit from working with him.

SFS: Did his background have an influence on your sound?

Damon: His beats definitely had an influence. The things that he did with his beats were things that we wouldnít have even had the knowledge to get into. Thatís a whole new world for us, but I think itís something we now understand a little better. Iím really excited to explore it more.

SFS: Did Chow Nasty really share the stage with MC Hammer?

Damon: We got an invitation to open up the Old School Funk Fest at the Concord Pavillion, which was headlined by MC Hammer, Cameo, and Morris Day and The Time. It was early in the day, of course. It was quite interesting to see the people react to us.