Illegal Wiretaps: At Least Their Name Isn't Pregnancy Farts
It's a well-known fact that most band names are essentially gobbledygook, but here at Rocks Off we're trying hard to find meaning in the oddest monikers.
Craig Hlavaty called us into his office, which is little more than a refrigerator box with Lady Gaga lyrics scrawled on the sides and an iPad we're 90 percent certain is made of an old Atari, and demanded that we get our skinny rear in gear and find out why a band would call itself the Illegal Wiretaps. We saluted and left him to his puppet show.
When we heard the name we said, "Punk band. We bet the little finger on our left hand." Well, it's really hard to type between the bandages and the painkillers because if there is anything the Illegal Wiretaps ain't, it's punk. Point in fact; we have no idea what we're dealing with.
Part of what a track like "Promises" calls to mind something like the Church, but not nearly as soothing. Instead a buzz and harshness always tingles in their songs like the pain of an amputated limb. It's no less beautiful for all that, but it does lend a certain unsettling quality to it.
Most of what we've heard from the band's EP, A Secret I Can't Decode, released earlier this year, does indeed unsettle. As head of the Gothic Council, we think we're going to go ahead and induct them to the dark side. Somewhere between the esotericsm of Bauhaus and the slightly more eye-rollingly dark moments of the Cruxshadows is where the Illegal Wiretaps seem to make their home.
That name though... the Illegal Wiretaps? You can't call yourself that unless you are going to impotently rage against the machine. You're album cover needs to have George Bush's face defaced upon it. That just makes since.
Usually, we go directly to meet the band and harangue them about their name, but it seemed much more appropriate this time to just call Stephan Wyatt and do a phone interview to see which one of us later got picked up by the NSA.
Rocks Off: Where did you come up with the name the Illegal Wiretaps?
Stephan Wyatt: An enormous gentleman with cheeks like fish gills was yelling at non-assuming pedestrians crossing the street by Main and W. Alabama one evening in 2006, "The government can hear everything we say! They can hear everything we do! They can see what we think! They have illegally wiretapped our minds!"
I stood and listened to his rant, from a comfortable distance, and wondered, "If I could have access to the innermost personal thoughts and scenes of someone's life, would I be invasive and look? Heck yes!
Our own lives are boring; the lives of others are far more interesting than our own. The failures of others can be both comforting and entertaining. So, the idea stuck. It was between that name and The Pregnancy Farts. I believe we have chosen wisely.