A Finger in the Eye

Punk band Sloppy Seconds returns to Eugene

B.A., vocalist with classic Midwest punk band Sloppy Seconds, has to wrap a few things up at the day job before he can talk with me on the phone. He’s about to head out on the road. 

“As you get older,” he tells me, “you’ve got to think about things like getting insurance.”

Back in the ’90s, Sloppy Seconds used to spend most of the year on tour. These days, B.A says they plan trips like surgical strikes — short and sharp. 

“You compartmentalize everything,” B.A. says of life after so many years spent as a touring musician. 

So how do Sloppy Seconds spend their time off? “We don’t really talk much about what we do when we’re out on the road,” he jokes. “It’s not very interesting.”

But even though real-life-to-rock-life transitions are a little more difficult, B.A. still loves performing live.

“Playing live is just so much fun,” he says. In that respect, B.A. says punk shares a little something with blues and jazz. “It’s more about the performance than the record.”

Out of Indiana, Sloppy Seconds have been at it since 1989. They made their name with an outrageous live show and audacious, highly humorous tunes like “I Don’t Wanna Be a Homosexual,” a sophomoric yet somehow arch twist on the traditional coming-out story.

“We’ve always taken a finger in the eye with lyrics,” B.A. says. “It’s just a class-clown kind of humor. It’s stuff anybody could relate to. I always like the fact that someone says ‘that song expresses exactly the way I feel — but funny.’”

The band’s high energy, melodic punk rock also presaged a lot of bands of the pop-punk generation, influencing Green Day and Blink 182, credited by some with breaking punk all over again. And while Sloppy Seconds’ last studio album was 2008’s Endless Bummer, B.A. says the band has new material — they just aren’t in any hurry to get back in the studio. 

“It’s kind of tough, because we don’t all live in the same place anymore,” he says. “We have to budget our time when we can get together. We usually go out and play dates.”

I ask B.A. to tell me about the first time he heard punk. It was in a weekend news report. “They showed the Sex Pistols and the Clash,” he remembers. After that he was hooked. “Just the energy more than anything. Most of the bands seemed to have something to say.

“Some of those early punk albums just flew right off the vinyl. You didn’t hear that kind of energy coming from what was on the radio. This was like being punched in the face.”

Sloppy Seconds play with L.A.’s Drowns as well as Not A Part Of It, Pirate Radio and OZDOTTÏR 8:30 pm Wednesday, Aug. 29, at Old Nick’s; $13 adv., $15 door, 21-plus.