Though their music remains grounded in 1960s garage twang, The Hate Bombs are currently living out their own version of World War II. It isn't the defection of guitarist Mick Crowley from the long-lived local quartet that's at issue; both camps claim that relations remain exceedingly friendly. Instead, the lock-step multinational unit -- one German (Dave Ewing), one Italian (Ken Chiodini), one Japanese (Scott Sugiuchi) -- finds itself courting a Frenchman who can't decide what side he's on.
Johnny Vendetta, the six-stringer who replaced Crowley, won't completely cut ties with his Atlanta outfit, the Vendettas. "We're trying to coax him down," drummer Chiodini says. "We're hoping to change his name to Johnny Hate Bomb. He's French (real name: John Vignault), so we can't have that. The axis is just off-kilter there," Chiodini cracks.
Two-timing tendencies aside, Vendetta's arrival has clearly lit a fuse. "Johnny has been in so many different bands," the skinsman waxes, "but his ideas and approach are very along the lines of where we want to be. He looks amazing, he does all the moves."
Vendetta's recent live debut at Go Lounge inspired "not much of a turnout," Chiodini sighs, but hopes are higher for this Friday at Sapphire Supper Club, when The Hate Bombs share the bill with The Woggles, whom Chiodini describes as "a backyard barbecue go-go sleaze band. We play a lot of festivals together. We're like brother bands."
Or at least best men: The Sapphire show is a bachelor party for bassist Sugiuchi, at whose wedding The Woggles also will perform. Perhaps a weekend of beer-soaked male bonding will be just the ticket to convince Vendetta to cut out the commuting and make Orlando home.
Still, Crowley's specter will linger for a while. The departed axeman appears on every track of the band's forthcoming "Hunt You Down" disc, to be released in June by Los Angeles' Dionysus label. Predictably, the 13 songs are said to veer little from the Bombs' established punk-mod turf.
"It's nothin' but rock," Chiodini swears. "Three chords, no waiting. We're not going into ‘ice cream of the month' territory just because Orlando has this big microscope on it. We're not going to get sensitive just 'cause it sells."