“Sleep Forever” — the new sophomore outing from San Diego’s Crocodiles — is a dreamy, sonorous affair, with Joy Division bass lines, Bunnymen guitar flourishes and fuzzy JAMC feedback. It’s a sound that co-founder Charles Rowell admits is a long way from he and singer Brandon Welchez’s last chalkboard-scraping outfit, the Guy Debord/Situationism-inspired hardcore combo “The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower.” Describing the new approach, Rowell says, “It’s all been a big learning process.”
So you’re also a published author? I’ve written one book, a collection of short stories called “Darklands.” And then I collaborated with my friend Wes from Cold Cave on another called “Friends, Lovers, Suckers.” My stories had one foot in things that actually happened and one foot in a sort of wild imagination that was a little grittier than Brautigan. And I really want to finish my short novel by the end of this year — that was my plan, but my head’s all over the place. If I’m not writing for that, I’m writing for Crocodiles.
Did you study writing? No. My dad was a speechwriter, so it was always there, always around somehow whether it was tangible or not. But as I’ve gotten older, what I’ve read has gotten more mature and complex. And that’s exactly why I keep writing. I feel like as you get older, you understand more about what needs to be said and what doesn’t.
But in “Eiffel Tower,” you and Brandon were more antagonistic toward the audience, right? Yeah, absolutely. We just wanted to piss people off and push buttons, but we wanted to be more artistic with it and make it more of a spectacle, like Debord said. In Salt Lake City, we were faced with a crowd of mostly meatheads, so we started acting really camp and gay, almost New York Dolls-esque, and they flipped out. We were blowing kisses and talking real sweet to all these guys in the front row, and we step offstage and immediately it’s a swarm of sweatshirts coming toward us. Literally, it was a riot.
So Crocodiles is part of your maturity? Yes. Brandon and I, from the moment we met, were singing Beatles harmonies in the car while driving each other to work. But when you come from a punk scene and you’re 18, 19, 20, it was too risky to start writing songs and singing in our natural voices. But over time, we realized that we could do it, and there was nothing standing in our way.
IF YOU GO
Where: Popscene, 330 Ritch St., San Francisco
When: 10 p.m. today
Tickets: $10 to $12, at door only