Photo by Ryan Beddingfield
Remember in cartoons how they’d always have the band that was basically a composite of whatever the thousand-year-old animators had heard about rock n roll?
The Carbonas are basically the human, good version of Jabberjaw, the Bugaloos, et al. They make late-70s style pop-punk tunes so unpretentious and straightforward they sound like they came out of cardboard box marked “songs,” their singer sings in that Dickies sort of style where half the words sounds like “wazah debudeh debuhdebuhdeday,” and their bassist kind of looks like the weasel from the Screeching Weasel logo. They are also from the same Atlanta scene as every other band we talk about too much and way overdue for the gravy train their peers have been raking in.
Vice: Did you guys all grow up in the suburbs?
Greg (vocals): Sort of. Jesse and I are from Sandy Springs, Dave’s from Norcross, and our other guitarist Josh is from Snellville.
Clay (guitar): I grew up right by Stone Mountain, before it turned into the ghetto.
Wasn’t that sort of out in the sticks back then?
Jesse (bass): Clay’s childhood was [sucking in air while shaking head]… It was intense.
Dave (drums): Ask him about Timmy Wormbutt.
Who’s Timmy Wormbutt?
Clay: The story of Timmy Wormbutt is, I’m about seven years old and I’m out in the woods with my BB gun shooting birds. It’s winter so the ground’s covered with dead leaves and all of a sudden I hear this crunch crunch crunch coming toward me. Then this voice yells “Hey Clay!” I can’t see who it’s coming from so I go “What?” and the voice answers “It’s Timmy, from the neighborhood. I just took a shit and there’s worms in my poop. Come look at it!” I had no idea about tapeworms or anything like that at the time, so I just tore out of the woods completely freaked out.
A month or two later he comes to my door and says, “Hey Clay, want to hang out with me and Mike Martin?” Mike Martin’s this other neighborhood kid whose mom had AIDS when it first came out.
Greg: She was the first on the block.
Clay: No but seriously, dude, she was. This was like ’84. Anyways, Timmy Wormbutt’s at my door. I’d already ex’d him as a friend because of the worm-poop incident, which was also the last time I’d seen him. I answer the door and he asks, “You want to be in a club with me and Mike Martin? We’ve got our own fort.” I say, “What, like a tree fort?” and he goes, “You know that pile of leaves in the backyard at the end of the cul de sac?” I’m like, “That’s your fort?” and he says “Yes.” So then I ask him “What kind of club is it?” and he goes, “It’s a gay club. It’s me and Mike Martin and we roll around naked in the fort, but nobody can see us cause we’re under the leaves!” This happened maybe a week or so after somebody had explained to me what “gay” meant, so I slammed the door on him and that was the last time I talked to Timmy Wormbutt.
Jesse: You’re getting really deep into the band’s central mythology, here.
Dave: Ask him about Johnny Catfucker.
OK. Who’s Johnny Catfucker?
Greg: Johnny Haggard—Merle Haggard’s grandson, aka Johnny Catfucker. Tell him, Clay.
Clay: Whatever, I’ve got to take a piss.
Greg: Aw. Now he’s embarrassed.
The Carbonas’ second self-titled album is out now on Goner Records.