Rock Trio Adds Lead Singer, Turns Itself Into Mommy

Mommy: Mike Peterson, drums Brad Mowen, vocals Tommy Martin, guitar Nick Rhinehart, bass Their origins: Seattle music fans will recognize three-fourths of Mommy from their other band, Bam Bam, an instrumental rock trio. Mowen is a veteran from Portland funk rock band Sweaty Nipples. They formed Mommy in February and began playing gigs at RCKCNDY and Colourbox almost immediately. Several months ago, they won the Yamaha soundcheck contest, and next month, they are scheduled to release a CD on Black Panther Records.

How they got together: Mowen decided to leave Sweaty Nipples after five years, because the band was "going in a different direction," he said. At the same time, Bam Bam, which is still active, was looking for a lead singer to start up a new band. The two bands often played together, and a new band was formed.

"I always wanted to jam with these guys, and they wanted to jam with me, and it was a jamming situation," said Mowen.

Sound and lyrics: Martin described their sound as a "big wall of guitar."

"Heavy," he said of the sound. "It is heavy. A lot of insanity makes us move. I couldn't imagine not playing heavy music, it's so much more real."

Mommy's sound differs from Bam Bam's not only because of the lyrics, but also because Mommy is more "straightforward," said Martin, whereas Bam Bam is more "ethereal, and out there."

Mowen writes the lyrics, Martin writes most of the music, and the band helps arrange. "Brad's lyrics are about diverse subjects," said Martin. "But with a comic edge and a little bit of black humor - rather than `baby, loving, I got dumped.' "

Mowen says his songs are about "absolutely nothing to do with anything."

"Most are pretty much like a comic book," he said. "They're like little short stories about a cowboy wanting to be a rap star, to a wad of semen on the floor wanting to be a person."

Some of the songs are sung in French, due to Martin's childhood upbringing in France.

"I want to sing in multi-different languages," said Mowen. "I want to intermix every other word, so nobody understands what we're saying."

On work: Mowen and Martin refused to say what they do to survive financially, and for that matter, they declined to say how old they are. It wasn't "relevant to the sound," they said.

"As far as occupation, we all hustle other jobs," Martin said. "But we're very much concentrated in music."

On the name: "It's universal," Martin said. "Everyone has a mommy. It's personal. It's more happy than mother."

On their photo: They offer their baby pictures as their promotional photo, as a way to get escape the traditional "poseur" shots.

"Even the coolest bands have these promo shots of them posing, like, `Look like smoke's coming out of your eyes!' " said Mowen.

"Look like angst-ridden youth!" said Martin.

Martin said the band is ridden with angst and said, "But why pose for that, why not write music?"

Mommy will play tomorrow at Colourbox.

Hearing test For a sound check of Mommy call InfoLine, a telephone information service at The Seattle Times free in the Greater Seattle area. From any touch-tone phone, call 464-2000 and enter category BAND (2263).