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Acid Test

Enter the warped world of the Linus Pauling Quartet at your peril

Another thing that doesn't surprise Brennan is the (mostly self-imposed) difficulty the band had in releasing C6. Members began recording in 2001 and finished in December 2002. Steve Finley, LP4's bassist and engineer, owns Digital Warehouse studio, so they could take their time fussing over the songs. As a result, mixing and mastering took six full months. ("Typical," Brennan notes dryly.) Which is a blessing for some bands, but not these guys.

"We would change little things after little things and never realize the overall picture was getting worse," says Medina. "We started in September and it went on for months and months. And finally Steve was like, 'Okay, I'm just gonna give y'all a bunch of mixes and let you see which one you like the best.' And of course the ones we all liked were the ones from September."

At last, members were all on the same page. They could start thinking about a release date. Not so fast. "And the thing was at that point Steve had gotten a whole bunch of fancy new mikes and all this other equipment, and someone was like, 'Now that you have all this cool new stuff, let's just start from scratch," Medina remembers. "Steve was ready to grab his Lone Star and start pounding on this person."

The quintessential Houston "quintet" strikes the quintessential Houston pose in front of the quintessentialÂ… oh, never mind.
The quintessential Houston "quintet" strikes the quintessential Houston pose in front of the quintessentialÂ… oh, never mind.

The band's still divided on the issue.

"That was a miserable idea, but it would have sounded a lot better," contends singer-guitarist Charlie Naked.

"No," disagrees Hyder. "That deserved a beating for sure."

Eventually the album did get done. It was released in October, and now, more than two months later, we have the CD release party. ("That's just how we do shit here in Texas," notes the band's Web site.) And still, the disorder continues. Brennan says that an excited Medina recently came into the store carrying a tall stack of flyers for the release party at Rudz. "He's got this big thing that says, 'Distributed by Parasol Music,' and I'm like, 'Ramon, it's not Parasol -- it's Carrot Top.' "

Then there was our "interview," which ended up being one of the most rambling conversations I've ever had. I'd ask Medina, Hyder and Naked a direct question about how they wound up on the September Gurls label, which is based in Nürnberg, Germany, and seconds later we would be talking about a certain part of Carmen Electra's anatomy that rhymes with "naughty bits." We also discussed the sad fact that most of the heaviest rock you hear on the radio turns out to be stealth-Christian music, and the various merits of Prince's flames, former and current, including Mayte, Appollonia and Vanity. But as far as making any headway on the Linus Pauling Quartet and their new album, next to nothing was accomplished.

Brennan says to expect more chaos at the CD release party. "Seeing them live is much like everything else with them. Long sound-check, then they go into the first song, and Clinton's amp isn't working. So they stop, and after they start again, Ramon will break a string and they'll stop again. It's one thing after the other with those guys."

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