The Big Spank has been an Albuquerque, N.M., fixture for almost a decade. Some of my favorite high school memories are from their crowded, sweaty concerts at small venues: fun, good-natured songs replete with catchy guitar riffs and plenty of horns, and mic-juggling, hand-standing antics from lead singer Mike Garcia.
The self-dubbed eclecto-pop musicians, whose sounds range from Latin to reggae to ska to punk, have traded in their old VW van for a school bus, quit their day jobs and taken to the road. On the heels of their third album, Gypsy Rug Burn (2007), they say they've come a long way since early days playing house parties in Albuquerque.
"We've definitely grown a lot," Garcia says. "We still have a lot of the same fun songs where we're just talking stupidness, but the music itself has matured. We even have a political song on the new album, which is strange for us."
Part of that growth can be traced to their transition from weekend musicians to professionals. The band has been touring for a year and a half, in hopes of gaining exposure.
"We're trying to get to the point where we can make it as musicians," Garcia says. "It's something I've always wanted to do, and you just keep getting older. There came a point where we knew it was time to leave Albuquerque and try to make it on a national scale."
(One downside: Drummer Bert Lujan admits he is getting a little tired of bologna sandwiches.)
Their shows are always fun and energetic, and it's hard to listen to a Big Spank song without getting it in your head.
"It's all about fun and entertainment," Garcia says. "We just want to make people smile and have a good time."