Spank Rock Prepares to Headline Siren Fest

Yesterday during an interview for METRO one of the first questions music journalist Heidi Patalano asked me was, “Why do you think the Indie rock crowd has taken such a liking to your music?” Well, I don’t really know how to answer this question. I don’t know why Beck and Bjork have asked me to open for them, but I’ve never gotten requests Common or Katy Perry, so it’s not like I chose this. All I know is that from the moment I started performing as Spank Rock in Philadelphia, my crowd has always been the same—diverse, but the same crowd. And I like the company i keep. But when I booked to play the Siren Festival this weekend on Coney Island, I looked at the line-up and I wasn’t familiar with any of the bands!

So I’m trying to figure out how to put my show together. I decided I want to bring a few friends to perform with me:

1.Ninja Sonik (a dastardly brooklyn rap group)


2. Amanda Blank, New single “Make It Take It”

Blank just returned from her European tour with Santigold, and I asked her if she wanted to play with me. She goes, “Fuck yeah! Built to Spill is playing!” I’m all like, “Oh are they good?” And she says: “Oh my god Naeem you are so black!”

The reaction I got from my friends for not knowing Built to Spill music was ridiculous! You would’ve thought I wiped my dick on their face, or something…

My good friend Alex Da Corte schooled me on the band with these words:


Alex Da Corte

“Built to Spill was formed by Doug Martsch in 1992. He looks a lot like Jim Henson, and if Henson was making music then he might have even sounded a bit like him too—maybe a little less Kermit-y.

“The band hailed from Boise Idaho and filled the need for noisy, distorted fuzz grunge music overlaid with overtly earnest, saccharine lyrics when their first record Ultimate Alternative Wavers dropped in 1993. Following on the heels of Dinosaur Jr. and Neil Young, Martsch’s tunes found balance between cracking your heart open over the emo girl from the block, and crashing about in a basement with lights turned low and sweaty teens turned high. Their second album There Is Nothing Wrong With Love (1994) is worth listening to on repeat for hours on end-in particular “Distopian Dream Girl,” in which Martsch sings of his step-father looking a lot like David Bowie: “And I think Bowie’s cool.”


An installation by Da Corte


“Goddamn right he is cool. There are other very cool moments when he sings for small town “Twin Falls,” Idaho or of his new-born son on “Cleo,” where his voice just melts your heart. Keep It Like A Secret (1999), there fourth studio album, is the easiest record to like immediately, and hangs around in my life on my boombox-especially “The Plan” and “You Were Right.” The former I listen to for its nods to the dark signs of the times and false hopes of the future; the latter is about misleading pop songs you believes to hold life’s great truths.”

Built to Spill reminds me of the times when bridge-jumping and dirty Chuck Taylors were all I knew. College was far away, and Lollapalooza was the limit!

They still do it the same as they always have—simple guys loving what they make and making it loud wherever they are. Check this out:”



Just when I felt like I didn’t know anything, My DJ, Chris Devlin of Devlin&Darko, called me: “Yo dude we’re going on after Monotonix.” To which I asked politely, “Who the fuck is Monotonix?” He’s like, “Remember when I showed you this:”



Now I’m doomed. I’m paying after the most exciting band in the world. An urban legend says that a man set himself on fire at one of their shows. The Dragon City EP is Tel Aviv trio of turmoil’s only release, but Levi “Ha Haziz” Elvis, Moshe Vegas, and Bonanza have raised the bar of pure rock and roll.

Another Band I’m looking forward to seeing is Thee Oh Sees. John Dwyer and Brigid Dawson sound like Exene Cervenka and John Doe from X, if they had died and some scientist used their remains to create two rocking androids. I like so many of their songs.


After my bass-pounding, booty dropping performance, meet me at the Cyclone, and I’ll tell you where the top-secret mega-public after-show is.