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— by James Montgomery, with additional reporting by John Norris

The Pink Spiders have a relatively simple goal: to become the biggest rock and roll band on the planet. And if they happen to piss a few people off along the way, so be it.

"We're not looking to make friends, America. We're looking to stomp everybody. Emo, you are out," bassist Jon Decious sneered. "You can't ever be afraid to upstage everyone, even if they're your best friends. When it comes to that, it's a business. It's a matter of just topping everyone. Upstaging everyone that you can: That's what this band is all about. I mean, we want be the biggest. That's our goal. And if we're not, then we have improvement to do."

Ambition might not be cool in rock circles, but the Pink Spiders want to rule the world. Hear them justify their careerist goals, only on Overdrive.


It's that ambition and attitude that, respectively, belie and complement the bandmembers' years (Decious and self-proclaimed "world's greatest drummer" Bob Ferrari are not yet 23, while singer/guitarist Matt Friction just turned 25). Both attributes were necessary for the Pink Spiders to break free of their Nashville roots. And the band doesn't plan on changing its swagger or sensibilities anytime soon.

"Ambition is like the number one uncool thing in music right now," Friction said. "But if you look at all the bands that we're influenced by, it goes back to the same thing, they were very ambitious. It was a competition. The Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Beach Boys. Who was the greatest band in the world? And each would put out a record trying to top the other one. Like, 'Who can top this?' And there's nothing like that now. It's like, 'Who's got the coolest record that's going to be cool for six months?' "

The Spiders' mixture of ballsy, strutting rock and bulgy, bright-pink clothing rubbed some in Nashville the wrong way. But from the beginning — they released the EP The Pink Spiders Are Taking Over! in January 2004 — no one could deny they had talent to spare. A summer tour followed, filled with (as the band puts it) "freshly lit cigarettes, stiff drinks and sexual adventure," and in early 2005, the group dropped its full-length debut, the dark and sex-addled Hot Pink, which brought the industry suits calling.

It also caught the ear of revered Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, who agreed to work with the Pink Spiders on a follow-up. But before they hit the studio, they were forced to survive a disastrous winter tour, which saw their van break down in Maryland and their trailer catch fire in Buffalo, New York. Beset by tragedy, the Spiders stumbled into New York City for a show at the Mercury Lounge. Without money or a place to stay, they did what any musicians with stars in their eyes would do: They slept on the subway.

"It was 30 below zero in NYC, the coldest winter in 50 years. We would walk on the streets and we would go into a laundromat and strip down to our underwear and dry our clothes to warm them up and put them back on and then walk again. It was ridiculous," Friction laughed. "It's one of those things where one day we'll laugh at this, but at the moment we still were not laughing about it. We're still, like, kind of pissed off that that happened."

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Strengthened by the NYC hardships, the Pink Spiders rolled into the studio with Ocasek and pounded out what would become their major-label debut, a collection of sweaty, fist-pumping anthems called Teenage Graffiti (due June 27). And with the video for their first single, "Little Razorblade," popping up on "TRL" on Tuesday (April 25), plus a hard-charging string of club dates lined up, it looks like the Pink Spiders' rock and roll assault is under way. You've been warned.

"We get a lot of crap for trying to be the biggest band in the world, but that's really what we're trying to do. And it's not even almost trying. It's sort of like, that's just how we are," Decious said. "And we can't help if we step on a few toes along the way. Like I said, that's just how we are."


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 "Little Razorblade"
Hot Pink (Geffen)
   Photo: Geffen


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