Sex. Not love. That's the caustic catchphrase repeated over and over on Clear Static's lead single, "Make-Up Sex," from the group's eponymous Maverick Records debut. Kinda ballsy for a bunch of (mostly) teenagers, don't ya think? A bit ostentatious, for sure, but this band of boys isn't your ordinary post-adolescent assemblage.
Clear Static are one of Los Angeles' hottest new acts. Playing venues such as the Viper Room and the Key Club, lead vocalist Tom Pederson, guitarists Michael David and Danny Kincaid, bassist Rich Pederson, and drummer Jacob Shearer have gained attention from both eyelinered, glammed-out kids and stuffy-suited industry big wigs. And they're all under the age of 22.
Evoking iconic 1980s images of ambiguity, flamboyance, hedonism and, of course, mounds of mascara, these suburban kids have made a name for themselves in the sprawling city. By adopting decades-old musical traditions combined with new-school evolution, Clear Static pump out punk tunes reminiscent of the Era of Excess.
"We look up to the masters," says guitarist Michael David. "Bowie, Madonna, Peter Gabriel — anyone who can sustain creative energy and command respect and admiration for years on end."
Also on that list of "masters" are quintessential fashionistas Duran Duran. Clear Static were invited to tour with the legendary group in early 2005, stateside and across the pond.
"The experience touring with Duran Duran was unbelievable," David says. "They're super-classy guys with consistent, great live performances. They were very gracious to us. Besides being given the opportunity to play before them, they used to invite us to party with them at their various accommodations. That was always fun."
A few years agon, when Clear Static began to gig out as young teenagers, the boys were restricted at first to teen-friendly venues, such as high schools, recreational centers, band battles, and parties. As word spread across Hollywood about their booming neo-romantic sound and style, clubs took notice. Because of age restrictions, they often waited in an alley near the stage door before being ushered inside for their set.
Despite the fact that plenty of acts lose their creative control during the major-label release process, Clear Static stayed true to their roots. As demonstrated on Clear Static, the guys' command of '80s "new wave" and pop music is amazingly accurate, despite being born after the Billboard arrival of some of their idols.
"The '80s is the only era in music that I can think of where the lines limiting creation were the least defined in the sense that high and low art were sometimes held in the same regard and often crossbred," explains David. "I'm not sure what an excessive lifestyle felt like in the '80s, but drugs often sink their teeth into bands and start revealing ugly things very early into the experience. Sex is great as long as it is safe and with someone who is good at it."
But sex in the truest, carnal sense must take a backseat to Clear Static's career. At the end of the day, it's their music that inspires a spirit of raw sexuality in the first place. Besides, they've got "Make-Up Sex." What more could young rock stars want?