Nov. 4 2009 12:00 AM

Pop punkers Frank and Earnest sing it like it is

    Lansing’s Frank and Earnest write honest songs about slumlords, love and drunken nights.

    The pop-punk band, which features members of The Cartridge Family, puts a strong focus on writing lyrics that are true to life. “A lot of my lyrics are about shit that’s been going on the past couple years,” said vocalist/ guitarist Ben Hassenger (former Lansing mayoral candidate). “I write about love that’s gone awry, being broke … having a landlord that’s trying to screw you over. Everything I write is a pretty clear snapshot of my life.”

    Hassenger said most of the band’s lyrics are blunt with emotion. “The songs are always matter of fact, there is always a sense of something deeper
    in the song, but it’s never over the top or pretentious,” he said.

    Hassenger shares the songwriting duties with band mates Otis Pierce (guitar/vocals), Paul Wittnann (bass) and Ryan Horky (drums).

    “Most of my songs are written when I’m a depressed drunk,” Pierce said. “I wait until I’m at a bad point, then I go in my room and start writing.”

    While each member brings different influences to the table, Wittnann said the band’s songs maintain a cohesive sound. “All three of us write so differently, but we all write up-front lyrics,” Wittnann said. “That’s our connecting factor.”

    While Pierce may find inspiration from a Lucero record, Hassenger may throw on a Bruce Springsteen LP, or some 2Pac.

    “I love metaphors. I love listening to hip-hop,” Hassenger explained. “The way they use rhyme and alliteration is incredibly fascinating. I try to incorporate that into my songs when I can.”

    Visit Frank and Earnest online at

    Frank and Earnest

    American Armada, Epic Fail, Josh David & the Dream Jeans, Snake
    Ladder 5 p.m. Saturday Nov. 7 Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing
    All ages, $6-$8

    Indecent exposure

    Electronic music today is often made on laptop computers, using programs to compose beats. Patrick Wenzel, of local duo Public Pubes, said he and band mate Jessica Arnold prefer to keep it real, using keyboards and hardware to construct rugged beats and sounds.

    Since forming a year ago, the Lansing/ Ann Arbor-based duo has developed a style
    that mixes the synth-heavy sounds of Devo with experimental dance
    tracks. “I am always trying to find a way to make music that is more
    raw,” Wenzel said. “That’s what we’re going for.”

    on top of the beats are funny, sometimes crude, lyrics inspired by
    Wenzel and Arnold’s daily routines. “A lot of people are motivated by
    music, but I am way more inspired by actions I see around me everyday
    in this town,” he explained. “For example, I joke around with the way
    people have to act in order to get laid. To me, that’s never been an
    issue; I get laid by naturally being myself. I don’t have to go out and
    act a certain way. I find humor in that behavior.”

    Wenzel, 27, first began writing music at age 12. He prefers music made by artists he can identify with.

    should be able to listen to music that’s real,” Wenzel said. “All this
    music played by people from Hollywood, what the fuck do they know? I
    don’t want to listen to some spoiled little bitch. I want to listen to
    people who know what it’s like to be broke and could possibly freak out
    and kill a bunch of people.”

    Pubes performs with Gil Mantera’s Party Dream on Thursday, Nov. 5, at
    Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. 9 p.m. 18 . $10-$12.

    Nintendo power

    For those interested in nerd-core electro music, check out the Super 8 Bit Brothers, who are playing a free show on Sunday, Nov. 8, at Lansing’s Basement 414.

    band’s song “Goodbye Cruel World of Warcraft” says it all! Sharing the
    bill is Downtown Brown, Edible Intention, Ideamen, Extra! Extra! and
    Ouch! Me Arse.

    For more information visit:

    414 Jay St., Lansing (Enter through the alley behind the Nuthouse Sports Grill). All ages, FREE, 6 p.m.