In 2005, Louis XIV were named one of the Top 10 bands to watch by Rolling Stone.
One of the biggest bands to come out of San Diego in the last 10 years is set to rise from the ashes Thursday at Fluxx.
Fans will get their first look at glam rockers Louis XIV for the first time in more than a year and a half when the band reunites during Fluxx LIVE as part of the nightclub's 1-year birthday celebrations.
Louis XIV were named by Rolling Stone as one of the Top 10 bands to watch in 2005. Years of touring with the Killers, the Editors and an opening slot for the Sex Pistols did nothing to quiet that buzz, yet, in 2009, the band's two remaining original members, Brian Karscig and Jason Hill, decided to put the group on pause.
Since then, Karscig has put together the Nervous Wreckords with Cornershop's Anthony Saffery, putting out the Nailbiter EP and the full-length Valuminun, which went on sale last year and is set to be re-released next month.
On Friday, I sat down with the Karscig, a self-admitted restaurant fan, at Saffron at the foot of Mission Hills, for a bite of Thai and an earful of band history. The NW frontman was on the downward spiral of a cold ("feeling funky," as he put it) but stayed game for the interview and lunch before heading home for a day of movie-watching. Oh, and if you're wondering: That hat -- you know the one -- stayed on for the duration.
One of the things that might surprise people about the Karscig -- and other musicians -- is how hard they work.
"I haven't really had a day off in a while," the black-clad musician said. "I've been producing a band out of Portland called SubSurfer for the last couple weeks and just finished mixing them the day before yesterday, and then yesterday was the first Louis XIV rehearsal."
Hill and Karscig are grabbing rehearal time where they can. Last week they were at Karscig's house in the College area, and they planned on meeting up again this week in Los Angeles, where Hill moved to after Louis went on hiatus. It's not all about the old stuff this time, though.
"A little of both -- it wasn't really an intention," Karscig said. "I've been busy with Nervous Wreckords, and J moved to L.A. to pursue producing work, and, you know, he called me up one day and was like, 'Dude, let's get together and see if we can't come up with some stuff and ... maybe put the band back together. I was like, 'All right,' so we went in the studio and started recording something and tracked a new song called 'Smoking Kills,' and it was the first song we put together in two years.... It felt right."
The night's festivities will be hosted by FM 94/9's Tim Pyles, who connection to Louis goes way back.
"I'm excited," Pyles said about the Thursday night show. "I've been a part of the whole Louis XIV experience. I played them first on the radio, and I booked them at the Casbah, and it's exciting to see their return."
The DJ and local music maven said a brand new Louis XVI song, "Send It in a Letter," will be featured Thursday on 94/9 at a little after 2 p.m. as the Local 94/9's Local Member of the Day.
Karscig said the new song he worked on with the band was not a musical departure -- "it felt like Louis" -- but, according to Karscig, the post-punk popsters didn't break up so much as things got weird during and immediately after several months of international touring. The guitarist and singer said that things were in transition with the label they were on, and there was turnover both within the band and with the people they worked with.
"It just started to feel very forced -- uninspired -- what we were doing," Karscig said, be-ringed fingers working his orange chopsticks. "So I basically wanted to take a year off, and put [a musical partnership with Saffery together] and go back into the clubs and write with no pressure. I think that initially irritated the guys, but, you know, now I think we all realize: It gave everybody a good year and a half to do whatever else we wanted to do."
So what's it going to be like on Thursday night at the giant downtown club Fluxx? Well, at the very least, it will be familiar territory for Karscig, who took the stage less then a month ago at a show headlined by Grammy-winner Cee-Lo Green.
"Now I guess we're going to see how that goes -- it's either going to be the greatest thing we ever could have done, or ..." Karscig said, before going on to praise the new songs he and Hill have been crafting.
Fans can make up their own minds on Thursday night at Fluxx -- tickets are still available for the show, which also features opening acts Leslands and Hot Moon. Tickets are $17.50 in advance.