It all began, really, with a potato gun stuffed with tortillas and beer.
A decade ago, Vegas snot rockets The Mapes played their first show opening up for Kung Fu Chicken, a band who blasted fans with the aforementioned party rifle at point blank range.
“It was great for us, because our goal was, ‘Let’s just mess things up,’ ” singer Kirk Kangieser recalls over a Pabst at neighborhood hang the Stake Out. “So we’re throwing things and they’re shooting things, and we’re like, ‘We gotta amp it up.’ “
This The Mapes did, delighting in getting banned at nearly every venue they played back in the day. They’d slather stages in bananas, toothpaste, pigs feet, liver, hot dogs and Twinkies that they’d hurl at the crowds and stomp on big bags of flour until everyone was covered in the stuff.
“We’ve made vegans throw up because we had a pinata full of meat,” drummer Clay Heximer recalls with a look of paternal pride, until he tells the story of getting knocked out cold by said pinata one time.
But what began as an off-the-cuff side project just to create some chaos has slowly evolved — or perhaps devolved — into a cult act with a dedicated throng of fans who don Mapes tattoos and make the band homemade merch.
The Mapes’ potty-mouthed, two minute missives — few of the titles of which we can event print — are pointedly puerile and dumb, the rock ‘n’ roll equivalent of eating paint chips. But they’re also improbably catchy pop singalongs that stick with you like a family of tapeworms.
“When we first started writing songs, we’d write two chords and then really funny lyrics, and if we were laughing, we’d keep the song,” bassist Jason Wilda says. “If we weren’t laughing, we’d ditch it.”
Friday, the band is celebrating the most unlikely of occasions, their 10th anniversary, with a show at Texas Station.
Though they’ve released one self-titled record, The Mapes are most definitely a live band whose shows are beer and boob blowouts. They dress as Boy Scouts, cowboys, Mexican wrestlers and furry skeletons, and there is no separation between the band and the crowd as they get in each other’s faces to the point of chipped teeth.
It’s something you have to experience at least once, with an appeal every bit as basic as the band’s tunes.
“Inside everybody,” guitarist Dave Post explains philosophically, “there’s something that thinks a fart is funny.”
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476.