Strip Mind strives for a true word within the jest

January 07, 1994|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,Pop Music Critic

It's amazing the things people think about Strip Mind.

Some folks think the band is hysterical (in a warped, punk-rock kind of way), and laugh uproariously at songs like "Lap Frappe" and "Jingle My Bells." Others, though, find the band's attitude to be sexist and disgusting, and object to the nihilism implied in titles like "Don't Care" and "Kill Me."

Even the band's name produces wildly different reactions, reports frontman Stu Shoaps. "Some people go, 'Strip Mind -- it's kind of like stripping away preconceived notions from your mind and being open to all new things,' " he says, over the phone from the band's Boston rehearsal studio.

"Other people go, 'It's like strippers, huh? Thinking about strippers.' It's cool that people can take in more than just one meaning."

Of course, considering that the band originally named itself after platinum-tressed porn starlet Seka -- they had to relinquish the name when it turned out that she held the trademark and copyright -- it's easy to see why some people might have leapt to the "thinking about strippers" conclusion. But as Shoaps points out, there's a lot more to this band than a racy name might suggest.

"People take things so much at face value," he says. "If there are people that are just going to look on the outside and be horrified without looking on the inside, well, I'm not going to let that bother me. Rock and roll has always had some kind of new shock, you know what I mean?

"We're not a band that's for the average rock music fan, I don't think. But if people give the extra few minutes and read along with the lyrics, then they'll find out that there's more to the songs than the colorful titles suggest."

Take the title tune, for example. Because the cover shows a picture of a pierced tongue, it's tempting to assume that the song "What's In Your Mouth" is about oral jewelry. In reality, says Shoaps, the song is about "someone who lies to the point where they believe their own lies, and have a little fantasy world set up that becomes hard to break into.

"Billy, our lead guitar player, came up with the clever idea of the title after seeing our friend Ingrid at a club one night with her tongue pierced." (And yes, that's her tongue on the cover).

Strip Mind's blend of silly and serious comes naturally to Shoaps. "When I was growing up and listening to punk rock, there were two kinds of punk. There was sort of like silly punk, and then there was more serious punk bands. I could get off on both, but I used to have friends that would only like one and not like the other because of what it was and all that.

"I think we kind of fall somewhere in between," he adds. "We have jokey aspects sometimes, but then there are serious and personal subjects being touched on. We do so there's a sort of sugary coating on the outside -- but there's some meat if you get in there."

Strip Mind

When: Saturday

Where: Steeltown, North Point Plaza

Tickets: $3

Call: (410) 288-3400 for information.

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