For decades, scientists have struggled to reconcile the seemingly contradictory theories of relativity, which explains the behavior of planets and stars, with quantum mechanics, which explains how subatomic particles work.
Rocketgrrl is past all that and has already entered the eleventh dimension.
The expat band is a jam-rock explosion that mixes punk with psychedlia, noise and science fiction. Their sessions are like Homeric poems about an intergalactic battle between the forces of love and the minions of darkness. Think futuristic lyrics penned by J.R.R. Tolkein and performed by the Butthole Surfers, but with more distortion, and you get an idea of what Rocketgrrl is trying to do.
"It's kind of like a science-fiction epic adventure," said Rocketgrrl's drummer, an American who calls himself Darin the Barbarian or Rock Starkey. "We play in the key of loud — really loud, really hard improvised rock 'n' roll that has jazz elements but not jazz chords. It swings, but with a rockabilly swing."
The story of Rocketgrrl is the standard one for almost any expat band: Darin was running around Spring Scream several years ago trailing a long cape and talking about starting a band. There, he ran into singer Leon La Pointe and guitarist Anthony Roberts, aka Red. The next morning they were on stage and Rocketgrrl was born.
Their sci-fi back story was born in the back of a van, outside the now-defunct 616 art collective in Taichung, where Darin and Leon woke up with hangovers and started singing, "Government Organized Sleep Foundation!"
According to Rocketgrrl's mythology, the Evil Lord Xanadar's Government Organized Sleep Foundation sends out sleep rays that pull gravity out of the known universe, with its three dimensions of space and one of time, thus preventing humans from accessing the other seven dimensions, which we cannot experience but which are said to exist according to a version of string theory, a model of physics that reconciles quantum mechanics and relativity. (If this sounds confusing, Darin says to think of it as analogous to how global capitalists and politicians like US President George Bush and US Vice President Dick Cheney cause suffering by controlling an unfair share of the world's resources.)
● When: Tomorrow and Sunday at 10pm
Where: Tulan Sugar Factory (都蘭新東糖廠藝術村), 20km north of Taitung City, at 61 Tulan Village, Tunghe Township, Taitung County (台東縣東河鄉都蘭村61號)
Tel: (089) 531-212, 531-201 or 531-060
● When: March 10 at 10:30pm
Where: All-Star Live House Pub at 81Minli Rd, Hualien (花蓮市明禮路81號)
● When: March 11 at 10:30pm Where: Enigma Music Restaurant at 11 Yule New Village, Hualien (花蓮市育樂新村11號). Tel: (03) 833-4716
● When: March 14 at 8pm (opening for To a God Unknown) Where: The Wall (這牆) at B1, 200 Roosevelt Rd Sec 4, Taipei (台北市羅斯福路四段200號B1) Tel: (02) 2930-0162
● When: April 4 at 9pm (opening for To a God Unknown) Where: Underworld (地下社會) at 45 Shida Rd, Taipei (台北市師大路45號B1) Tel: (02) 2369-0103
"Basically, the idea is to play hard enough to merge gravity and time so that the eleventh dimension is achieved," Darin writes on his Myspace blog. (www.myspace.com/darinthebarbarian).
Rocketgrrl now performs with a stunt drummer, two dancers and bassist Erin King. Everyone wears a cape and a mask, which they change depending on the characters they're representing. Red wields a stratocaster connected to a Bigg Muff, a Russian-designed distortion box, and Leon uses a zoom box or a digital delay box to alter his voice. They have released one album, 2005's Riders of the Tenth Planet, and are about to embark on a multi-city tour of Taiwan this month before ending up at Spring Scream in April.
To listen to Rocketgrrl's music or contact the band to purchase an album, visit www.myspace.com/poohat