A far cry from being scene scavengers, the Buzzards maintain their position circling the top of Detroit’s punk-garage-trash-rock heap. Sporting a lineage that includes the garage R&B of the Detroit Cobras and the Port Huron punk mayhem of the Dirtys, the Buzzards unsurprisingly already have a single slotted for California’s Sympathy for the Record Industry, a label that has a soft spot for a little good, old-fashioned, tough Detroit street punk.
Their beginnings weren’t as auspicious, however. The Buzzards arose after the literal demise of the catchily named Lawrence and the Bitches, Lawrence being the late and greatly missed Larry Terbush of Dirtys infamy. When Terbush’s Dirtys band mate Joe Burdick made the exodus from his Port Huron punk-rock stomping grounds to the Motor City, it seemed predestined that he’d hook up with Terbush’s cohorts, Detroit Cobras guitarist Mary Restrepo and “the Twins,” drummer Nancy and guitarist Leslie Paterra.
You may recall Leslie from playing a rocker in a Ford Escape ad a couple of months back, but in real life, all four throw down the real deal Detroit punk-rock hybrid. The combination of Burdick and Restrepo’s top-shelf band pedigrees and the newcomer enthusiasm of the Paterras makes for some streamlined punk crunch. In tunes like “I Got the Shiver,” about a hangover, and “High Class,” a snotty examination of snobbery, the Buzzards reveal a certain sophistication that contrasts with the out-of-control antics of the Dirtys and the often disheveled garage-stomps of the Cobras.
“We started out a lot more simple,” says Burdick, who handles the bass and the vocals. “We’re not the most complicated band as it is.”
Not unlike our other ambassadors to the trash-rock dives and jukeboxes of the world, the Buzzards display their sense of regional pride. Says Restrepo, “I wish there could be more revues of bands. Like a group of Detroit bands going together to, say, Ohio. I mean, I’d go see that at the Gold Dollar, if three Ohio bands came. Even if one sucked.” Soon, the Buzzards head west to Kalamazoo and Chicago in a revue with the Dirtbombs. In the meantime, watch out for them at the usual dives around (down) town, and keep an ear out for their appearance on The Sympathetic Sounds of Detroit, the watershed scene revue curated by the White Stripes’ Jack White.
The Buzzards perform Friday, March 9 at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward, Detroit (313-833-9700).
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