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February 13, 2007

Sight Unsound: Enter Teenage Rehab, a Twin’s turn and Joel pops the cork

If punk rock is extinct, then there is a school of coelacanths navigating the waters of the Paducah music scene. This bunch has the punk idealism and has managed to hold on to it all these years and put their money where their collective mouth is. That is to say, this Saturday, Louisville experiences a Paducah invasion as three punk rock bands from Western Kentucky take their show on the road.“We’re basically just a bunch of punk rock enthusiasts who are trying to keep the music good, because there’s not that many good punk bands,” explained Alex Reject, drummer for Teenage Rehab.“With all due respect to the Alkaline Trio and all of that kind of stuff, that shit was really big a couple years back, and we really wanted to just bring it back to the Black Flag shit. You know, bring the rock back to punk and the punk back to rock.”Teenage Rehab, who just finished a tour with The Queers, are proud of Paducah’s scene, which has received accolades from the likes of Heather Tabor of The Teen Idols, Chris Barrows of the Pink Lincolns and, of course, Joe Queer.“He’s a real fucking nice guy,” Reject said. “And when you’ve got Joe Queer telling you you’re in a good fucking punk band, I guess you’re in a good punk band, you know?”Success hasn’t spoiled Teenage Rehab, whose members came off tour and went right back to their day jobs.“Some bands make it, and there’s no struggle, and it fucking sucks and you can hear it in their music. We’ve definitely still got a lot of issues” Reject said. “It keeps shit nice and raw.”Teenage Rehab will be joined Saturday at Third Street Dive (440 S. Third St., 587-0706) by Hollywood Hand Grenade and Middle Class Trash.A name like Middle Class Trash makes me wary. This could be a couple of kids playing in a carpeted, air-conditioned suburban basement with expensive equipment purchased by corporate dads and soccer moms who chose the name because it sounds hard. Or it could be legit. When I called two members of the band one afternoon, both times I interrupted someone at work. Singer-guitarist Adam Trash is a mechanic at a paper mill, and drummer Nervous Jon works at an off-track betting parlor. Sounds pretty legitimate, especially given the band’s side project.“We’re restoring a 1972 or ’73 GMC 3500 Value Van,” Nervous Jon said. “It’s pretty big. It’s almost like a UPS truck or a bread truck. We’re in the process of restoring that right now to use it as our touring van.”Reject vouches for all of his touring mates.“We don’t play a whole lot with either of those bands at home, but we’re trying to do some more shit out of town, really take the Paducah scene somewhere,” he says.As with any good musical invasion, it looks like the mania is spreading.“We played in Louisville about six years ago, and it was pretty dead, and then we played last November, and it was fucking huge. I just couldn’t believe how cool the Louisville scene is,” Reject said.“With Third Street Dive, everything’s been great. The kids are really cool, and it’s a free show and shit. It’s a great place to play.Admission is — you read right — free. Showtime on Saturday is 10 p.m.Joel Henderson hosts Uncorked at Jenicca’s.Joel Henderson has seen more than his share of music venues in his day. He lived and performed in Chicago and Indianapolis before settling in Louisville, and he’s done the occasional tour.In other words, he knows what he likes.“I really like Jenicca’s a lot,” Henderson said. “It made sense to (create Uncorked) there because I really wanted to support their business. And they’re such good people and they really support local independent singer-songwriters. You don’t find a whole lot of cover acts playing there, you know? You find a lot of people playing original music. They really value that there, so it just made sense. It was a good partnership.”Uncorked has remained a fruitful partnership between Jenicca’s (636 E. Market St., 587-8720), Henderson and several other local singer-songwriters for about a year. The basic idea is that a veteran Louisville musician will ask a guest, usually a friend, a newcomer to the scene or an out-of-towner, to come along, and the pair will take the stage together, alternating songs.“There’s nothing new about that,” Henderson added. “But in the context of Jenicca’s, which is a really laid-back wine café environment, it lends itself to that type of thing. It’s not a no-talking environment, but people are certainly very receptive to it.”Uncorked provides an opportunity for Louisville singer-songwriters that wasn’t there before.“If I didn’t have another gig for the rest of my life outside of this Uncorked thing, I’d be happy.”Brigid Kaelin joins Henderson Thursday night.The Ying Yang Twins: like to keep listeners off-balance, refuse to be categorized or pigeon-holed and hate stupid questions.I have upset Kaine, one half of the Ying Yang Twins.I’m not a scholar of the Twins’ career, but I do know they spent several records rapping over beat machines before teaming up with Wyclef Jean and Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis for their newest album, Chemically Imbalanced.So it seemed appropriate to ask about the musical departure. “We are not a one-dimensional group,” Kaine said. “So I’m saying that to say that I ain’t answering any more one-dimensional questions.”This jarred me for a moment, because I didn’t think this album was, as the intro track points out, “a little musical for ya’ll.”As Kaine continued talking, I realized the Twins must be facing a critical reaction of, “Wow, I can’t believe that juvenile, sex-crazed pair can actually make music,” which was not what I implied.“Just because somebody’s used to something don’t mean that we always going to stick to the same shit,” Kaine said. “What you have to pay attention to is the energy and the drive put into the music. I know everybody feels like we’re the raunchy rap team, but we also have a lot of other music that the industry is still yet to have seen out of the Ying Yang Twins.”In defending the duo’s musical diversity, Kaine said he likes Peter Frampton, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Pink Floyd.“I ain’t wrapped up in what they do on radio, you know? And radio ain’t wrapped up on what we do. They just deal with us because we are a force to be reckoned with,” Kaine said.“It’ll look stupid for me and D-Roc to become 30, 40, 50 and still talking about the same music and the same type of shit. Everybody has to reinvent themselves, and if they can’t, then they should have to comment on what they don’t know how to do.”Not a bad idea. After defending his work, Kaine admitted Chemically Imbalanced is something of a departure.“There’s a lot more musically inclined tracks, whereas we only confined to the beat machine on our other albums,” he said. “We worked with Wyclef Jean and Jerry “Wonda” — that was kind of like our uplift, because we actually got to rap over musical tracks versus just beat tracks.”So maybe I didn’t make Kaine mad. Maybe he just had to answer my question in his own way. Clearly the Twins plan to keep evolving and being a force to be reckoned with. In the meantime, the duo plays at 9 p.m. Friday at Headliners Music Hall (1386 Lexington Road, 584-8088). Tickets are $25. Contact the writer at leo@leoweekly.com