[HOPPED-UP TEEN GARBAGE] The Shiny Things recently got people dancing—old-fashioned feet-moving, hip-swaying dancing—on a hot July afternoon. Even more impressive, it did it without a bass player. "I like that we can live without bass, even though it's not really my ultimate plan," says guitarist Mark Nelson (who many Portlanders will remember from heavy punk-rock outfit and Wipers contemporary Napalm Beach, as well as Dead Hippie and a gazillion other bands).
Part of the reason Nelson can live with it is that a new drummer is managing to fill in the low range. "He gets the caveman thing going on," says Terry French, Nelson's wife and the Shiny Things' vocalist." Andrew's got such a great foot with that kick drum that he can beef up that low end pretty good," adds Nelson.
It's a foot that Portland—and the world—is used to hearing drive Dead Moon songs, and it belongs to the beret-wearing, long-haired animal that is Andrew Loomis. Shortly after Dead Moon's breakup last December, Loomis took over, coincidentally, for Dead Moon bassist Toody Cole's brother as drummer for the Shiny Things (which already had two albums under its belt when he jumped on board). And while Loomis admits the cut in pay and profile is humbling, he stresses that it's also liberating.
When asked about a slow song on which he waves a shaker over his head (something he certainly never did in Dead Moon), Loomis declares: "I'm doing percussion stuff and writing [now]." Joking about the challenges and excitement of playing in a dynamic rock-'n'-roll band that specializes in Who-esque windmill breakdowns and rockabilly-ish guitar lines, Loomis adds, "I started playing music!"
And though the Shiny Things may not have a bass player just yet, they've found a perfect Townshend facsimile in young Becca Davidson, who is less than half the age of the other members (she was actually recommended by the boyfriend of Nelson and French's teenage daughter). Davidson was having trouble finding a group in Longview, Wash., where she and everyone but Loomis currently live. But Nelson—who lovingly describes the band's sound as "hopped-up teen garbage"—offers an easy explanation for Davidson's pre-Shiny Things predicament: "A lot of guys are intimidated to have a girl in the band that's a better guitar player than them." .