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The questions that baffle: If nothing sticks to Teflon, how do they get Teflon to stick to the pan? Why do you drive on a parkway but park on a driveway? If you were traveling at the speed of light, what would happen if you turned on your headlights?

And what possessed the Good Word to write a rock opera, long the province of transdimensional prog-rockers and pinball enthusiasts? And shouldn't rock opera be an oxymoron, anyway? Rather than sit around and speculate, let's just savor the fact that there's still a band or two out there with the knackers to seize onto a concept with as much built-in ironic appeal as a rock opera and make it in to something way better than just a smirkingly self-conscious exercise in retro piracy. Ordinarily, you'd be wise to suspect foul play, but the Good Word are so bloody earnest-check out this brief synopsis, which came across the desk handwritten on a greenish sheet torn from a steno pad:

Don't call them emo. The Good Word premieres its rock opera No Heroes Aug. 5 and Aug. 7.

"No Heroes is a story of a soldier who is wounded in battle during WWII. Blinded, he returns home, only to be haunted by a voice he has fallen in love with. A young nurse who he heard singing a song when he was hospitalized has left the mark of her beautiful voice on his soul. Suffering from the horrors of the war and the loss of his sight, he slowly slips into insanity and in death he finds his love and is reunited with the nurse and her voice; in life he found tragedy. His will to live is extinguished by his will to love."

Yeah! It sounds like Dalton Trumbo and John Irving locked in a fistfight over the screenplay for some obscure German expressionist film-and it's set to music! Isn't that just the bee's knees?

In case you've been living under a rock for the past two years, the Good Word-Matt Genz, Tim Graham, Chad Hanson, and Aaron Bolton-are Missoula's primary purveyors of really complicated rock. Really complicated. They get tarred with the emo brush all too often, but-occasional plangent vocals aside-they're not emo at all. And they're a bit too cracked around the edges to really be considered unsmiling math-rock, too. Anthems from the Alleyway? Naw-it's more like Anthems for Algebra II.

For the full production of No Heroes, which will be presented on two separate evenings in two different venues, the Good Word have also enlisted a regular Who's Who of local artisans to flesh out this shockingly original vision. Jonathon Rothman and Spanker's Mike Cote on additional guitar (and keyboards), Cicada's Dave Knadler with extra percussion, a duet by Colin Meloy and Marjory Fairchild, and more. Evil design genius Dan Engler will provide the "live visuals," so expect something sufficiently diabolical to match the warped premise.

No Heroes also marks the end of the Good Word, as Genz and Hanson will be moving to Seattle at the end of the month. Catch this amazing band while you can.

The Good Word will perform No Heroes tonight, Aug. 5, at Jay's Upstairs and Saturday, Aug. 7 at Union Hall. Cover for both shows is $5.


A study recently released by Scripps-Howard News Service and Ohio State University has confirmed what hippie bumper stickers and cranky retirees have suspected all along: Most people are no good, and they're getting worse.

The survey of adults conducted nation-wide this summer alleges that 25 percent of our neighbors are "more angry" now than in the past. It contends that a whopping 88 percent of Americans say they're more likely to express their anger today than ever before. Bad news? Maybe for Western Civilization, but for Seattle's Zeke an ever-expanding fanbase of disgruntled psychos might be their ticket to stardom.

Get kicked in the teeth by Zeke this Friday at Jay's.

See, you might not know it to look at them, but Zeke is mean. They are a towering inferno of hard-core; a spit-on-your-grave assault of wild double-guitar power and dizzying haymaker drums. Often imitated and never equaled, Zeke does what every other lame road-rock band wishes they could do. And more.

Their 1998 Epitaph Records full-length Kicked in the Teeth jettisons 17 songs in 22 minutes in a smothering flurry that leaves the listener scarce room to breathe. Produced by veteran studio-guru Jack Endino, the album shatters the established Epitaph sound (crystal-clear production and prominent harmony) with searing white noise and sore-throat vocals. With no documented lyrical content needed, Kicked in the Teeth's liner notes are made up of a reprinted collection of band members' restraining orders and angry letters from ex-girlfriends.

Granted, simple subtlety is dashed somewhere between tracks like "Fuck All Night" and "Killer Inside" but the overwhelming blood-on-blacktop beauty of it all picks up the slack. The album only falters when Zeke lets the beats-per-minute dip below 200-tracks like "Revolution Reprise" and a cover of KISS' "Shout it Out Loud" feel good, but don't stand up to the rest of Kicked's ferocity.

Zeke's live show doesn't disappoint on energy or brutality. The band tirelessly slams out back-to-back gems like the Ramones used to, before they had to start taking oxygen between songs. When Zeke rolled through Jay's Upstairs as relative unknowns a little over a year ago the local rockheads were caught unprepared. Guitarist/ vocalist Marky Feltchtone attacked the mic at center stage while drummer Donny Paycheck, who is far and away Zeke's most frightening member, used one hand to keep the beat while giving the audience the finger with the other.

Give the band an opportunity and they'll spin you an unbelievable (and probably fabricated) yarn about how the group is named for an overall sporting acquaintance who turned the young musicians onto the Angry Samoans and the Circle Jerks. Legend says that the real-life Zeke had hair down his back and sold homemade moonshine and garden mushrooms laced with strychnine.

Whether Zeke the man was ever real or if he's just a fit of the band's overactive imagination isn't clear. But if he is an actual human being, rock 'n' roll lovers everywhere owe him a debt of gratitude. Western Civilization will probably be less thankful.

Zeke plays Jay's Upstairs with Humpy, the Valentine Killers, and the Load Levelers, Friday, Aug. 6. 10 p.m. Cover TBA.


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