“I hear ‘It’s very ’80s’ a lot,” admits Don Resnik, keyboardist and guitarist for the Hyattsville-based quintet, the Pest Strips.
The band, now in its fifth year, made its reputation doing a selection of covers that Resnik describes as “the old HFS gamut.” It may be passé to perform early-’80s staples like Icicle Works’ “Whisper to a Scream.” “But,” says Resnik, “I’d rather do that than Green Day.”
The group’s debut CD, Sticky, contains 10 original songs. Produced by Steve Carr and recorded at Rockville’s Hit and Run studios, the disc has a distinct New Wave flavor. (“October” recalls Elvis Costello, “Autopsy”—gulp—the Vapors.) “Our songs sound a lot like our covers list,” Resnik laughs. “We didn’t want to scare people off.” Nonetheless, there’s no substitute for eliciting a positive response with self-penned material. “It’s such a different feeling than having people clap for, say, Pearl Jam,” he says.
On the disc’s cover is a glistening green frog with the back half of a dragonfly protruding from its mouth like a toothpick. Resnik says the band has “almost gotten more comments on the artwork than we did on the music.” But that’s OK by him: “In case this is the only thing we ever do, we wanted something that would look nice on the mantel.”
Sticky is not available in stores. Says Resnik, “If somebody won’t come up after a show and buy one for 10 bucks, they’re not going to do it the next day with a hangover.” The disc is, however, available by mail. Send $10 plus $2 shipping and handling to 7006 23rd Ave., Hyattsville, MD 20783. The Pest Strips perform Saturday night at Bad Habits in Arlington.