Brian Gibson’s first band was probably best known for placing last in a Pahrump Valley High School battle of the bands. Still, “people were into it,” he insists, explaining that the grindcore outfit, Animal Cruelty, scored a perfect 10 in crowd participation … and not many points anywhere else.
These days, Gibson is still drawing mixed reactions with his music. At Henderson’s E-String Grill last Friday, as many voices were calling for his current band, Wax Pig Melting, to turn down the volume as to turn it up. And that’s just how he seems to like it. “I’ve always tried to alienate people a little bit,” he admits.
Wax Pig’s stoner-rock touchstones—droney, fuzzed-out guitars; creeping tempos and vivid lyrics—surely won’t appeal to everyone, but fans of heavy bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Mudhoney and Melvins could find a new local favorite here. Just be careful how you describe the music. “Everybody’s calling us grunge, and personally I don’t love that,” says Gibson, whose tastes span from metal like Neurosis and Godflesh to El-P’s dense hip-hop production to the sonic experiments of Liars. “If anything, I’m trying to weird people out.”
Wax Pig Melting played its first show in June 2012 but really coalesced this past February, when Gibson (guitar/vocals) and high school chum Aaron Vilhauer (guitar) began teaming with fellow Pahrump-ers Minnie Kern (bass) and Daniel Williams (drums). That lineup recorded June EP Voyager and began earning a reputation for messy but memorable performances. As Gibson puts it, “We’re not sloppy, but we’re not incredibly professional, either.”
Gibson hoped to finish a full-length by fall and go on tour in October—aspirations he says led to the departure of Vilhauer two nights before Friday’s E-String gig. “He thought I wanted to do too much,” Gibson says. “He was more laid back; he just wanted to jam and not worry about stuff, but this is not just a fun hobby for me.”
For now, Wax Pig Melting will perform as a trio, powered by the blurry-armed Williams, who fills the live set with rolls that redefine speedy. “He’s a monster, man, a machine,” Gibson says. “At first we thought [his playing] was too crazy, but now we embrace it.” And somewhere along the band’s string of upcoming gigs—July 27 at Backstage Bar, August 2 at Cheyenne Saloon, August 16 at the Arts Factory—Gibson expects guitarist Woz Supposedly (of Rooftop Ridicule and Lucky Cuss) to join up as an official fourth member. “He’s a percussive guy and very knowledgeable,” Gibson says. “He’s also done projections for us, so we might start having those for every show.” Eat your heart out, PVHS judges.