The Potential Lunatics Rock Zombie Walk
The Long Beach Zombie Walk Music and Arts Festival is all about zombies, true, but there's scads of music happening as well. There is the Zombie Stage, curated by Carrot Topp, lead singer and front man for the Radioactive Chickenheads. Topp has put together an amazing lineup of bands, including headliners Stolen Babies, Frankenstein, Bitchfits, Yeastie Boys, Undead Kennedys, The Rhythm Coffin and the comedic accordion stylings of Count Smokula.
Christopher Kramme of Garth's Jelly Donut fame is curating the House of Brains stage, featuring the ever popular Dovelles, White Mystery, Feral Kitty, Peter Pants, Spare Parts for Broken Hearts, and the official punk teen heart throbs of Long Beach, The Potential Lunatics (more on them in just a moment).
All this musical goodness, and tons of other stuff, comes with a Zombie Passport which, for $15, gets you eight hours of zombielicious fun, and savings all over town for the next month.
Ok, so back to The Potential Lunatics. Sure, they're young. At 14 and 17, the brother and sister duo of Isaac and Emma have toured, and played some pretty huge shows, over the last several years. I first saw them on the sidewalk at a Bixby Knolls First Friday event, and was knocked out by their confidence, and their competence.
Emma sings, plays guitar and writes the songs. Isaac also brings a great deal to the table. Not only is he a good drummer, he's also got a kind of wreckless enthusiasm behind the kit that's infectious (perfect for the Zombie Walk) and fills the room. Together, they are just really enjoyable.
Emma can't recall exactly when she started writing songs, but it was when she was very little. Her father has recordings from when she was quite small.
"My father's a musician," Emma explained, "and he used to help me all the time. He would record, and put the mic in the bathroom when I was like six or seven. [He'd record] any song I'd write. So, my earliest song was called 'Mrs. Pee Pee and Mr. Poo Poo.' I wrote it when, I'm going to assume at least, I was potty training."
Another early song that Emma and Isaac wrote together is "Pumpkin Wheel." Emma shared the lyrics.
"So here's the deal, pumpkin wheel!
you can't steal, 'cause it's not real!
it's not real for you to steal!
it's not real for you to steal!
...and then there was some made up DJ noise, and it builds from there, with the same words."
Both Isaac and Emma were drawn to performance at an early age.
"I've always been an attention hog," Emma confessed, "and both Isaac and I were interested in acting before we started the band. When I was first learning to play bass, when I was eight, I liked the Ramones a lot. I think they were a factor. There was never a feeling like, 'I can't be on stage because I'm not a rock star' thing that a lot of people start out with. Also, seeing how huge my uncles are..."
Her uncles are Tom Araya from Slayer and John Araya from Thine Eyes Bleed.
"It was pretty fun," Isaac said. "I mean, there were all kinds of instruments around us."
"Everyone on my father's side knows an instrument," Emma said, "so, whenever we have a party or Christmas or something, we'll all bring a guitar, or bongos, in Isaac's case, and play. Mostly to Beatles and Cat Stevens stuff."
Understandably, they were exposed to lots of music as they grew up.
"We heard folk music, and punk music and, of course, metal," Emma said. "I feel like, even if we play 'punk,' the influence of all this different stuff shines through."
The transition from sidewalk gigs to playing, this Saturday, in front of an audience of 10,000 has been surreal.
"It's really humbling too," she admits. "We've worked hard in this band for about 4 years now, but we wouldn't do it if we didn't have a fun time. My mom does a lot for the band. She's really into getting our name out there, and she's like a punk rock soccer mom when it comes to that."
They see their future as full of potential.
"I see more albums coming out," Emma predicts. "I've been writing a lot more acoustic type stuff, so there's a change a coming when it comes to our live shows, as well. We'll do more touring. We did our first tour this May, and I crave getting back on the road."
For information about tickets and performance schedules for the Long Beach Zombie Walk Music & Art Festival, visit ZombieWalkLB.com.
To learn more about The Potential Lunatics, visit ThePotentialLunatics.com.