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A not-so-gentle Giant

Happily, no one in Albuquerque's SuperGiant really wants to kill you

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They like petunias and, you know, running over fans with a truck.
  • They like petunias and, you know, running over fans with a truck.

Joel Rogers' taste in lyrics is decidedly catholic, though not in the religious sense of the word. Over the course of SuperGiant's debut album, Antares, the frontman offers up choruses that convey both botanical affection ("She loves petunias") and homicidal alienation ("I'm gonna fucking kill you").

So is Mr. Rogers somewhat, you know, um ...

"I'm not bipolar," says Rogers. "But when I write, I don't want to leave anything out. I don't want the music to always have a positive spin, or always be negative, either. I think one of the things we do as a band, and that I do lyrically, is go back and forth between light and dark. I think all of us as humans embody those qualities."

That said, rest assured that the formidable-looking frontman doesn't really want to fucking kill you when he and his Albuquerque, N.M.-based bandmates come to town.

"It's not necessarily about me," he says of the cheerfully titled "Hell Faces," one of the album's more aggro tracks. "But it's just something that I see in the world violence and contradictions and ultimately a lot of aggression."

Plus, he notes, the song makes audiences "feel like they're getting run over by a truck."

As unpleasant as that may sound, SuperGiant's music is sufficiently diverse to keep audiences from feeling like victims of sustained road rage. Leaning toward the more blues-based sounds of post-invasion Brit rock bands like Free and latter-day revivalists like Pearls & Brass (with whom SuperGiant played its second gig), Rogers and Co. are as tight as they are tough, with the power (if not the four-octave vocal range) of early Soundgarden.

"We're not trying to break any molds or create a new genre of music," says Rogers. "We've been compared to the Doors and Sabbath and Cream and Led Zeppelin and a lot of bands that it's such an honor to be mentioned in the same breath with. I feel like our sound is very original, but I think that those are the influences you can really hear. We got compared to Pink Floyd one time, too, which is very interesting, and someone compared my voice to Roger Waters, which I don't see at all. But it's still an honor to be mentioned with bands like that, and it also kind of lets us know that we're really onto something good."

SuperGiant's beginnings have certainly been auspicious: In one of his post-gig sojourns, Beck crashed its album-release party and ended up borrowing its equipment for a set.

"It was pretty funny, because we had to teach him how to use some of the stuff," Rogers remarks. "Beck was just very, very I don't know what was going on with him, but he was way out there. And so Jeremy [McCollum, a guitarist who, along with bassist Kyle Erickson and drummer Gary Chavez, round out SuperGiant] was helping him figure out how to use his amp and how to dial everything in. Because for our live performances, the sound is very full, and we definitely go back and forth between tones that are very thick and then very crisp and clean."

Now in its third year, the band has written 20 songs with another 20 approaching completion, Rogers says.

"This last two years was us kind of feeling how to play together," he says. "I feel like we've kind of just become a band, if that makes any sense."

bill@csindy.com

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