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The Boss Martians \'60s-influenced guitar pop invades Hell’s Kitchen Saturday

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The Boss Martians — who will play Hell’s Kitchen Saturday, Oct. 13 along with Dragstrip Riot and The Dirty Birds — may quite possibly be one of the most underappreciated bands currently calling the Northwest home. Not that the Boss Martians aren’t loved by many — because they are. And not that the Martians have had an unsuccessful career — because they haven’t. (Rolling Stone’s David Fricke has called them “rising stars.” Spin has called them “irresistible.”) But for as good as the Boss Martians are, you’d think they’d rule the world by now — or at least have played Leno once or twice and graced the cover of Rolling Stone as many times as Fall Out Boy.

To date, the Boss Martians haven’t. It’s a damn shame.

But that’s not to say they won’t.

Heavy compliments, I know, and I’m not one to gush for the sake of gushing. I’ve been down with the Boss Martians since ’02, when I had a radio show on the since-deceased 91.7 KBTC. The Boss Martians were perfect for it. Their music takes all that’s sad and disgusting out of the typical pop punk equation and leaves you with songs that are crunchy, satisfying, fun, and addictive as all hell. It’s quality music heaped in all that’s good about rock — and it makes you smile. In that way, the Boss Martians were built for radio.

I’m not the only person who has taken notice of the Boss Martians. Many of the people who have are far more respectable than this hack journalist. Besides the aforementioned writeups in Rolling Stone and Spin, Bruce Springsteen has introduced the Martians to a crowd of 10,000 in New York City at Little Steven’s International Underground Garage Festival. Little Steven himself (known for his work with Springsteen’s E Street Band and his role on “The Sopranos”), has twice named a Boss Martians song the “Best Song of the Year “on his Underground Garage radio show. Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney) has worked with the Boss Martians for years.

But none of that compares to one of the Boss Martians’ more recent fans.

The band will release Pressure in the SODO, named after the downtown Seattle neighborhood the band calls home, in the near future. The record was recorded with help from long time Martian advocate Jack Endino, who Evan Foster, the Martians’ guitarist, singer, and musical leader, told me “can make a motherfucking rock record.” While the new album is all but ready to roll, and will even be released in Europe in November, Pressure in the SODO’s U.S. release has been momentarily pushed back. Fans shouldn’t piss and moan. The delay is so Iggy Pop, who co-wrote “Mars is for Martians” with Foster, can lay down some vocals for the U.S. version of the record.

How’s that for cool?

“I woke up one morning and I checked my e-mail, and I had an e-mail from Iggy’s personal assistant,” explains Foster.

“There were lyrics for this song called ‘Mars is for Martians,’ which he’d written specifically for us. We worship the Stooges, but we’re the Boss Martians. I wrote the backing track and didn’t try for an Iggy sound. I think that’s what he liked about it. He heard what we’d done with the song and wanted to sing on it.”

“This is one of the biggest things that has ever happened to us,” continues Foster.

“It’s pretty fucking major. We’re just sitting here pinching ourselves. That’s the reason the U.S. release has been delayed, but I think it’s totally worth it.”

The Boss Martians’ performance at the Kitchen will be the first chance for Tacoma fans to catch the band in T-Town since they helped open Cans. And, at least according to the memory of Foster, it will also be the first chance to see the band at Hell’s Kitchen. He’s probably right. He’s in the band, after all. It just seems like with as long as the Kitchen has been open, and as long as the Boss Martians have kicked ass, their paths would have crossed by now. However, true fans of the Boss Martians probably know it’s a moot point. Foster attended college at the University of Puget Sound, and the idea behind the Boss Martians was originally planted here in Tacoma.

But that was a long time ago.

“We’re based out of the SODO. We haven’t been from Tacoma in years and years. I love the city of Tacoma, though. We’re stoked for the show,” explains Foster.

As for what fans can expect …

“This music is totally honest,” offers Foster, both of what fans will get live at the Kitchen on Saturday and from the forthcoming Pressure in the SODO.

“In order to do what I do, I need to feel it, you know what I mean?”

Yeah. We know what you mean. And at least in this corner of the Weekly Volcano’s World Headquarters, we feel it too.

[Hell’s Kitchen, with Dragstrip Riot and The Dirty Birds, plus tattoo contest, Saturday, Sept. 13, 8 p.m., $5, 3829 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.759.6003]

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