"With this band, it's not gonna be thinking man's music, it's gonna be drinking man's music."
With that statement, vocalist Charlie Bender draws a sharp line between the past that many Orlando punk fans may associate him with — the frenetic frontman for now-defunct "punk band with horns" Spitvalves — and the present. Bender's current status as frenetic frontman for the Attack finds him indulging in a brand of punk rock that's considerably more straightforward than the multilayered arrangements that marked Spitvalves' sound and, according to the singer, that was very much intentional.
"Writing with Spitvalves — and having seven guys in a room who are all good musicians — we would just start to make things more complex and more complex. `In the Attack` there's no bullshit. I don't have to remember a bunch of words or anything like that," he adds, laughing.
Bender is not distancing himself from his past in the 'Valves. In fact, the guitarist and primary songwriter in the Attack is former Spitvalves manager Brad Palkevich, and current Attack drummer Tito Esquiaqui was also the skins-pounder responsible for the frenetic rhythms of Spitvalves. But, remember, now it's all about "drinking man's music."
"It's so fucking fun," says Palkevich. "That's exactly what it should be. When the Clash and the Sex Pistols started out, they were pub-rock bands first and punk-rock bands second. And that's one of the main ideas behind what we're doing."
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The band's first incarnation was as Knup — "that's ‘punk' spelled backward, in case you didn't know," laughs bassist Ryan Fleming — and it was primarily a way for Palkevich, Bender (as bassist/vocalist) and fellow Spitvalves guitarist Mikey Cortez (on drums) to kill some time.
"We had some studio time booked," says Palkevich, "and the Spitvalves weren't going to use it, so we went in as Knup and recorded some of the songs we had practiced. It definitely wasn't joke music, but it was kind of a silly name, mainly just because it was a rehearsal thing, something we were doing for fun."
With the addition of Esquiaqui on drums, Cortez took over Bender's bass duties, the beginning of several personnel rotations.
"Some other people came and went," says Palkevich. "At one point, My Hotel Year stole Mikey. Phil Longo `now in the Country Slashers` was with us for a while and contributed a lot to the writing."
A cease-and-desist from a Texas band called Knup, combined with a more serious approach to the band's status, led to a name change last summer. Soon after, Fleming — who, ironically enough, was in My Hotel Year — replaced Cortez. It wasn't long before the Attack was making waves in the local punk scene.
"When we did shows with Knup, we got a lot of shows quick and easy, probably on the Spitvalves' coattails," says Palkevich. "But we hadn't jelled as much as we have by now, so `those early shows` maybe didn't have as much of an impact `locally`. Plus, you can't get away from the screen-printing business" — Bender and Palkevich run Enemy Ink — "so there are cooler posters, cooler promo stuff."
"I think it was really at FMF when we stepped up," says Bender. "`Enemy Ink` did the FMF poster show and Brad went flier-crazy posting stuff all over downtown. So there were a bunch of people there and it went great."
With a full-length album recorded and likely to be released on Anchorless Records, as well as some national touring on the horizon, it's more than likely that Bender and the Attack will be hanging out with more and more drinking men (and women) in the near firstname.lastname@example.org