Animal Chinz lead singer, songwriter and guitarist — and one-time Gryphon Shepherd frontman — Zach Kadro just wants to play. His interest in creating a musical din came after hearing a pal play Nirvana. Hence, AC's balanced debut, The Real Lesson, reveals a tidy mess of '90s nods, from Nirvana to Fugazi to Pearl Jam, and, in softer moments, one can even hear hints of, yes, Coldplay. Though the album title references Ali G, its music is smartly resolute, even dips into the, uh, philosophical ("Toon In" and "Crawl Across the Sky"). The band moniker is nicked from the skater vid, The Search for Animal Chin, based on the mythical figure who built the first skateboard and then went into seclusion after commerce reared its ugly head. Kadro gives MT his monomanias:

5. What's in a band name? The name works on a variety of levels for us. We like the idea of playing music because we like playing music, and preserving it as art, as opposed to making a lot of money off of it. It's the pursuit of perfection and the journey towards beauty, truth and art.

4. Art over commerce: The goal is to play for people and have them enjoy our music and our message, and improve.

3. "Smells Like Teen Spirit": I heard that and I was mesmerized.

2. Lifestyle abuse: Too many musicians want to play music, get the glory and expand their sounds, but also have their lives, and it really doesn't work like that.

1. Truth be told: I have no grand expectations of rock stardom.


Record release show is Friday, March 24, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3030.

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