The Fighting Machinists Are Fighting For Recognition

Who are the Fighting Machinists?

Phil Hanseroth, vocals, guitar

Tim Hanseroth, guitar, vocals

Miroslav Stefanov, drums

Jim Whitney, bass

For twin brothers who share an apartment and an employer, why not commit free time to each other, too?

Picking out riffs on their father's guitars was once just a hobby for Phil and Tim Hanseroth, but three years ago the two started a band.

For a drummer, they called on friend, fellow skateboarder and Mountlake Terrace High School classmate Miroslav Stefanov. Stefanov's experience was limited to playing snare drum in the high school marching band, so he diligently practiced along with Ramones CDs while the Hanseroths honed their guitar skills.

The band has since added bassist Jim Whitney, whom the Hanseroths met when they started working at Home Depot.

The band is on its third name - Fighting Machinists - and has recorded three demo tapes. While the sound is tight and easy on the ears, it's not particularly innovative. They're a catchy pop band that yearns to be punk - a hybrid of the Gin Blossoms and the Ramones.

"I don't really know where the pop (influence) comes from," Phil Hanseroth said. "Most of our early songs were obnoxiously heavy."

No big surprise from someone who grew up listening to Twisted Sister and classic rock.

The lyrics aren't particularly complex. For example, from "On Your Own":

There comes a time when we all gotta stand alone / It may be hard / You may come unsewn / When you're all alone.

Known formerly as Ohnalim, and, before that, Chutzpah, the band has had gigs at Colourbox and the Ballard Firehouse and has played twice at the state fair in Yakima.

The band is shopping around for a record label and finding time to rehearse at least three times a week in Phil's and Tim's father's garage. This means juggling work schedules: Phil works the early shift at Home Depot while Tim and Whitney work the late shift. Stefanov works at Boeing.

Like most local musicians, Phil Hanseroth said the biggest problem in getting recognition has been the overcrowded Seattle market.

But how many bands pay homage to their hometown as the Fighting Machinists do in "Prison of Concrete"?

A prison of concrete / Taxicabs and guns / Trash fills the sidewalks / And everyone is on the run.

Phil Hanseroth, who shares songwriting duties, says they really do like Seattle. He attributed "Prison's" inspiration to "not having a good day . . . Everybody gets sick of this place once in awhile."

Where to check out the Fighting Machinists: Sept. 14 at Jimmy Z's in Everett and Sept. 27 at Gibson's.

Are you in a local band? If you'd like to be considered for Sound Check, send a cover letter telling us about your band and your upcoming gigs, the name and daytime phone number of your manager or contact person, a tape and a photo to Sound Check, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111.