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Thursday, July 13, 2006



Every Move a Picture
One day they're cubicle rats, the next they've signed a major-label deal. But Mom still wants to see a college diploma.

It's early Monday morning. Like, really early: 8 a.m. early. According to rock 'n' roll time, Brent Messenger should just be hitting the hay after a weekend of hard partying. His band Every Move a Picture headlined Popscene, dropped by Live 105 to play a live set, and appeared on the main stage at the station's huge BFD concert at Shoreline alongside big-name acts like the Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Instead the front man has more pressing business to contend with. "I had to drive my girlfriend to work," he says over coffee. And before his band leaves for Los Angeles the next day, he'll have another important task: picking up a fresh supply of toilet paper. "That's how it's got to be. She doesn't let me get away with any bull -- . It's really grounding."

Real life hasn't quite stopped for the members of the San Francisco dance-rock band since it signed a deal with V2, home of the White Stripes and Moby. Its single "Signs of Life" is getting strong radio support, while its much-anticipated debut album, "Heart=Weapon," recently hit record store shelves.

Up until a few months ago, the smartly dressed band members -- Messenger, guitarist-keyboardist Allen Davis, bassist Joey Fredrick and drummer Dan Aquino -- were still working day jobs that ranged from coding MP3 files to bagging groceries.

Even while Every Move a Picture was recording its album in New York's Lower East Side with producer Eli Janney, Messenger was rushing back to his hotel room every night to write HTML text for his most recent employer, an East Bay online sports site. "Any day now I could be back in that cubicle," he says.

If things continue at this pace, he won't have to worry about that anytime soon. "Heart=Weapon" follows the '80s-influenced dance-rock lead of bands like the Killers and Rapture, only with a distinct political bent. On one song, "Outlaw," the band even incongruously takes on jingoistic country star Toby Keith: "Won't you think for a while/ It's hard, I know it's not your style."

"After the songs are recorded I just throw my hands up and walk away," Messenger says. "I just go, 'That was a snapshot, let's hope it holds up.' "

No matter what happens, the Pleasanton native's feet are one way or another likely to stay firmly planted on the ground. "It's funny all these things are finally happening for the band, but my mom is like, 'Don't forget, you owe me a poly-sci degree.' She's pretty damn serious about it. Can't I just be a rock star for a while?"

Aidin Vaziri, avaziri@sfchronicle.com


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