Meet Black Panties, the snot-nosed rock & roll brat of south city. Luc Michalski, an otherwise mild-mannered fella, dons a leather jacket and transforms into a foul-mouthed, politically incorrect caricature of adolescent angst. To put it simple, he spits what some are truly thinking, but are too afraid to say. For better and worse, Black Panties draws from Michalski's throat, coughing up real trashy and guttural punk rock from the chest. The band's first album, Dead and Gone, delivers with ten tracks of fuzzy, nihilist rock. Own it and see the band live this Sunday at Blank Space (2847 Cherokee Street; 314-458-9472).
Black Panties really exists in two forms. In the past, Michalski has multi-tracked each instrument himself, laying down beats and overlapping them with guitar, bass and vocals. The result is a fuzzed-out wall that's sure to filter out snobs and suckers. Listen through, and catchy riffs crawl out from the mess, giving proof of the songs hidden within.
Apparently RFT readers agree, because you all voted Black Panties as "Best Punk" in our 2013 RFT Music Awards. Don't let Michalski know though, he'll scoff at you. Here, a lyric from an actual Black Panties song:
I won't play this game anymore All I want is rock & roll You're all just a bunch of cunts I don't care about the punx
Ooooh, poor baby. Did somebody hurt your feelings?
Black Panties shows were once a rare sighting. Michalski would hit the stage (or basement) solo and play against a harsh backing tape. Now, Black Panties is comprised of Michalski himself and a pile of scabs, often drawn from local punk and hardcore pools. Black Panties has borrowed members from Shaved Women, Lumpy and The Dumpers and Bad Dates, among others.
Rather than use hired hands to cut a clean record, Michalski dialed back to his solo days, laying down each piece himself. Instead of using his own four track, Michalski worked with engineer Jason Hutto (Tower Groove Records) to bring out the best in Black Panties. "It was all recorded in 16 hours by Jason Hutto. Jason's easily my favorite guy in town for recording. He does pretty incredible work while still being one of the coolest guys in town," says Michalski.
We caught Michalski polishing a cheap set of plastic black sunglasses and blackmailed him into answering some questions about Dead and Gone and the upcoming Black Panties tour with Iowa City's Slut River.
RFT Music: Although your early gigs featured live guitar and vocals over lo-fi backing tracks, recent shows have included area artists playing the parts of a backing band. What was the original goal behind the Blank Panties live show? How has that evolved over time?
Luc Michalski: Well at first, since I was the only one writing and recording, and that process ended up being pretty rewarding and freeing, I thought it'd be most fitting (or controlling) to just play it all myself live. It always sounded like shit and I was always super nervous and played poorly. I liked the songs, but one half didn't fit the other, plus everything always sounded like shit so I decided to turn it into a character, go full speed with it and try a live band.
Over time there's been no set line-up, all scabs all the time, but it's been a completely all-star cast every show. Lots of guys way more talented than I am, that are in some of my favorite bands, have played with Black Panties. It's pretty flattering. The character has taken off, too, and taken me over live. Black is a fuckin' prick and a total prima donna. The only goal I have when I play live is to have a blast, spit a lot and get rowdy.
Click through for more with Luc Michalski.
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