The personal history, adventures, experience, and observation of David Copperfuck

Pub date May 29, 2007
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

What’s up with all these "fuck"-ing bands of late? I’m referencing the band name phenomenon: it used to be about being "pink" this or "black" that or "wolf" or "bear" something, but it looks like our favorite four-letter word is now reaping the benefits of name-gaming fun. "Fuck" names might be nothing new — we all recall the Matador Records’ Bay Area outfit that sported the word in its singular form during the ’90s — but it looks like being a "mountain" nowadays just isn’t as cool as it used to be.

To David Copperfuck — vocalist Molly Samuel, drummer Dean Bein, guitarist Chris Baker, and bassist Avi Klein — the so-called trend is a joke. The mere mention that their moniker snagged top billing in the Onion for an end-of-the-year poll titled "Worst Band Names of 2006" generates a round of laughter from the San Francisco punkers. Baker jokingly reveals while hanging out in Samuel’s bike-littered Mission District apartment that "it was really challenging to shoot ourselves in the foot" and that the quartet were "just fucking themselves over ahead of time" by selecting the alias.

"We weren’t trying to be clever or anything," Bein adds while lounging on a recliner. "We were just trying to capture the essence or magic of a couple of words."

But then nothing serious seems to resonate with this bunch. During our two-hour powwow, the group resembles four giddy college kids stretched out lazily on Samuel’s couches, sipping cans of beer and bullshitting about their day jobs, their obsession with the apocalypse, and various extracurricular activities.

"I’m in a play," Bein says when asked whether any of David Copperfuck’s members currently play in any other bands. "It’s called Jurassic Park 4."

"But you have a show, right?" Samuel inquires.

"Yeah, we’re opening for Japanther," Bein replies before cracking a wry smile.

David Copperfuck formed in San Francisco in the fall of 2005, but their friendship harks back to 2002, when they first met at Oberlin College. The four were actively involved in the school’s indie scene and played in two groups, Red Tape Apocalypse and Zohar.

"This band is sort of an amalgamation of those prior bands," Baker says. "RTA was like straight-up, Blatz-style punk with two singers going full throttle, while Zohar was more about going big-time, playing the long songs, and trying to do something that was beyond our technical skills."

The band members acknowledge that they found it hard to continue after graduation with the two projects, which broke up as everyone began to relocate. By August 2005, the members of David Copperfuck had all migrated to San Francisco and, according to Samuel, knew they were going to start a new group once they got here. And it looks like the Oberlin gang’s West Coast venture was a smart choice after all: in its year-and-a-half existence, David Copperfuck has immersed itself in the Bay Area’s thriving punk community and currently plays out as much as possible.

"I don’t think we’ve ever asked for a show," Klein says. "We never really campaign. That can sound really immodest, but we just have friends, and we are supportive of those people and their bands, and they return the favor, I guess."

And regardless of whether they’re sharing the spotlight with floor crouchers, basement dwellers, or bus rats, the quartet is definitely hip to the unconventional venue. So the title of David Copperfuck’s debut 7-inch, "Chalet Chalet" (Party Turtle), seems fitting. It’s a crunchy mix of three-chord guitars, bass distortion, and frantic drum noise that recalls bands such as the Germs, the Bags, and Crass. Samuel’s distraught bark adds to the fray.

"I feel like our shows are always really fun, because there’s not really any posturing," Samuel offers. "We’re pretty unassuming with the people. We set up, and then it just kind of explodes, and it’s like ‘Here we are.’"

The four hope to soon release dual split singles with Oakland’s KIT and Orinda’s ParasitesGo! and will also embark on their first West Coast tour with Connie Fucking Francis in June. They also run True Panther Sounds, a record label they started in college, which has released albums by Lemonade, Broken Strings, and Standing Nudes. So what took David Copperfuck so long when it came to documenting themselves? Bein confesses that their debut single took a while to make because of their "inexperience with the whole record recording and releasing prospect of being in a band."

"I think we are about as unprofessional as it goes," Klein says with a laugh. "Live is like the only thing we can do."


With Didi Mau and Manhater

Thurs/31, 9:30 p.m., $5

Eagle Tavern

398 12th St., SF

(415) 626-0880