Uninhibited and unrelenting

Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Party Nate (left) and Shiv Schiwitz (right) rock out with Jeb Stewart as part of the now-on-hiatus Rock Solid.

Cape's favorite genre-hopping party-boy musicians may be the hardest working people on the local scene. Oh, and they're nuts.

Party Nate and Shiv Schiwitz can melt your face in three different genre's of music.

The notorious pair, while unassuming and goofy-looking on first glance, are actually the driving force behind three of Cape Girardeau's top bands: Squadcar, a punk-metal project with tracks like "I Hate Jackson" and "Will You Help Me Move;" Pizzasauras Rex, the most serious of the three, is more pop-rock than anything; and the world-famous Rock Solid, the 80s metal, in-your-face, shredder-fest these guys are most famous for.

Sounds like it's the rock star life multiplied times three, right?

"It can be really stressful with everything 'cause we don't know who's going to come next or when we are practicing with what band, and it can cause some tension," said Party Nate, lead guitarist of all three bands. "But we're in every single band, so there's a focus on everything we're doing musically because we're all there in it together."

You might think having so much going on would be a detriment, but these crazy cats say it actually helps them open up creative possibilities.

"Guitar rock can be split up into so many different sounds and sub-genres that we feel like an important part of having the three bands is all of our metal, all of our thrash punk, that outlet can be had through Squadcar," said Shiv, who also plays guitar and does the majority of the vocals. "All of our improvisations and 80s cheesy anthems that are just full of sh*t -- that we can do with Rock Solid. All of our stuff that really means something to us that's just kind of generally more timeless goes out through Pizzasauras. And that's a fun thing that we can do now."

And many of you who have attended a show put on by Nate and Shiv can tell they are having fun, and so does everyone around them. I mean, you can't be boring if your name is Party Nate … or, I suppose Shiv Schiwitz.

"I got that name," explains the aptly-named Party Nate, "climbing up the wall and falling back down on a group of chicks. It get's wild sometimes. I gotta take some shots, I gotta have some fun, and sometimes it just gets ridiculous at the shows and at the after-party."

"I think that there would be appropriate jail time if we were caught doing the wild things we've done," said Shiv. "And there would be strict punishment which I don't ever want to face."

The pair noted a particularly nasty offense in which they were on the road and the venue did not treat them to their liking.

"The wildness doesn't stop in Cape," said Shiv. "When we're on tour, you're not in that town again."

"And if a venue sh*ts on me, they will be sh*t on," said Nate. "I mean I will sh*t all over your walls. Corpus Christi, Texas -- thank you, Equalize, or whatever the name of that place was, for letting me have fun all over your bathroom walls for treating me like crap."

"Nate punished them severely," said Shiv, "because they didn't stock any toilet paper during a show that we played there last year. It gets pretty wild out there, but most of it we can't really put in an article. Come talk to us personally if you want to know."

But with the good times come the bad, and the unexpected news of a split/ layoff of Rock Solid, after the departure of drummer Ron Ruppel, will certainly disappoint their many fans. Ruppel says the split is due to time constraints.

"I'm getting a new job that's not going to allow me to play gigs as much as I want," said Ron Ruppel, former Rock Solid drummer. "By the way, eat at Burritoville."

However Nate and Shiv both agree the Solid cannot be kept down.

"Rock Solid's definitely coming back," said Shiv. "But this time we'll have Andy (Whalen) from Pizza (sauras Rex) playing. Only problem is that he lives in Kansas City right now, and it's just going to take us awhile to get everything together and start playing shows in Cape regularly, which should probably take two months, two-and-a-half months tops. Hopefully it will be a fresh Rock Solid with new songs and new improv and new goofy sh*t for everyone."

And when it comes to the City of Roses Music Festival, there is no doubt you will see the Solid on one of the COR stages.

"If City of Roses wants us, we're gonna be there," said Party Nate. "It doesn't matter, we'll be the first one to jump up and say we want to do it."

They don't even have a problem with the "family friendly" atmosphere, something that has been a point of contention for many acts and fans.

"I don't have a problem censoring myself," said Shiv. "Throughout the entire year you can come see the local scene downtown at night. This is one weekend in the whole year that the city holds this so everyone can come down. And that means everyone … young kids, moms, grandmas, grandpas … whatever. You just gotta respect the fact that they're there and don't cuss. Sh*t, we're all adults. I mean, we're not 2 Live Crew and rely on cussing in our lyrics."

And although Rock Solid will be on hiatus for a bit, Squadcar and Pizzasaurus Rex will still be rocking Cape … maybe more than they have in the past.

"Squadcar's already been on a long break, longer than we expected because Andy was in Kansas City," said Shiv. "But once he moves to St. Louis here soon in 2007 we'll start it up again. The Pizza outlook is good, that's what we've been putting our time in as much as we can lately. We just put a new record out, and we're going on tour in March. We had a member of the band from Boston decide to leave, so that kind of made it easier, with us all being around here, to pursue it more as a full-time band."

But even with the extra time and talented bands, the guys say trying to get "signed" to a record contract wasn't one of their New Year's resolutions.

"It's all if you want to play the game or not," said Shiv. "You want to play the game, and sell yourself as cute, or as this or that or anything but your riff … anything other than what you have to say in your song. I don't even know what it would take to get signed. We just play. And it's fun enough to play and put out records when you can and not even think about getting signed cause in reality you've got a job and you've got rent and spending all your time trying to get signed just seems like a pipe dream and makes you seem like you're trying to be some fake-ass rock star that's never going to happen. Just be happy with what you've got and just play. I mean, it's not like it's hard to get signed, necessarily, you just gotta be a chump."

Party Nate wholeheartedly agrees.

"You gotta put yourself out there, and you gotta just play. But I think people don't realize that they are just chasing this false dream."

So for now, the guys are concentrating on just playing in Cape. And lately, that means playing at Ragsdale's. Why the exclusivity?

"They were the only place ready to go out on a limb with us," said Party Nate. "I wouldn't say we had any problems with anyplace else, but nobody acted like they wanted us to be there … all the time. But Ragsdale's was like 'we want you guys to come in here'."

But they aren't against playing at other area venues and, unlike some of their counterparts, even welcome opportunities to play at the all-ages Enchanted Forest.

"I love all-ages venues," said Party Nate. "I grew up playing at all-ages venues and when you refuse to play at a place like that you deny a whole group of people a chance to hear your music, and why would you do that. Those kids are going to come to the show, and they want to buy CD's and t-shirts, but they want to hear the music above all. They don't care about drinking or any of that; they want to hear music … so yeah we play there. It's what we're here for."

So if you ever are out one Cape Girardeau evening and want to hear some music, I suggest Doom in the A.M. or Fill or Fists of Phoenix. But, if you're desperate and feeling experimental … kidding.

Seriously though, now that there is stability in the percussion section, expect to see Pizzasauras Rex and Squadcar more often in the near future. Fans of Rock Solid will have to wait and see. Otherwise, the future looks bright for Party Nate and Shiv Schiwitz.

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