When it was over, Jeff turned to Jolie and asked her how long that song had lasted. Jolie said about four and a half minutes. I was shocked. I would have set down my beer and put my hand on the Bible and sworn that Quasar Wut Wut had just played a twenty-five minute extended jam on the Rolling Stones’ “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker).” Apparently, the band has figured out a way to distort Time, which is good because even after twenty-five minutes of it I still could have used more.
When you’re friends with the guys in a band, you don’t want to compliment them too heartily about their cover songs for fear that they’ll interpret that to mean you don’t like their originals. With the Quasars this is not the case. Their own songs are great: weird without being obnoxious, and original without being pretentious. And if some of their compositions veer a little too close to the carnival or near some eastern european festival, then the next one will be a straight up rocker. They mix it up. And that’s good.
But they seem to cut loose a little more with their covers, as if they’re giving themselves the chance to rock out without worrying about being flashy. Guitarist Matt Schwarz never got as crazy on his originals as he went on “Heartbreaker.” And I mean Eddie Hazel crazy. He was amazing. For a moment there, he was a guitar god. For me right then, he was the best guitar player in the world. Why doesn’t he do that on his own songs? Is he afraid he’ll sound like Ace Frehley? Is that a bad thing? I don’t know.
Everything came together on “Heartbreaker.” Brent Sulek’s singing was right on and soulful. He must have been channeling Otis Redding at Monterrey (you know what I’m talking about: shake!). Jordan Frank and Matt Schwarz’s Doo Doo Doo Doo Doos sounded perfect and creepy, just like they should. The drummer had the Quasars playing twice as fast as the Stones, which made everything even better. Jolie tells me there was a moment when they all turned to each other in the middle of the song, acknowledging that they too realized that they were making some magic.
I’ve been questioning my feelings from the moment they stopped playing. Can’t tell the guys how truly great they were or else I’ll sound like just another dumb kiss-ass fan. Is it even possible that they were as great as I thought, or was I just out of my head? I honestly don’t know the answers. But I do know that in a crummy little bar in Detroit, those four guys shook the earth for either 25 minutes or four and a half minutes.
Either way, when I left the bar I had to wonder for a moment whether all the burned-out buildings surrounding me were actually caused by the earthquake that had just taken place in my head.