Marky Souter swore he’d never reunite his old punk band … which plays a show this weekend with Souter on vocals. “I’m comfortable with my own hypocrisy,” he concedes with a laugh.
The London native formed Subterfuge in 1981 after moving to Las Vegas to attend UNLV, and the group developed quickly from there, sharing bills with the likes of The Dead Kennedys and The Cramps and anchoring a gritty punk scene with contemporaries M.I.A. and Self Abuse. On Saturday, November 19, those three iconic Vegas punk bands will team up with three others for the fourth LVHC Punk Rock Reunion at Backstage Bar & Billiards.
“[Organizers were] always calling, asking us to play this show,” says Souter, who lives in Cornwall, England, these days. “And then this year, at a dinner party, I was telling my neighbors about Vegas and our band, and my wife turned to me and said, ‘Why don’t you just go.’ Before that, she’d always kiboshed it, like, ‘Really, you want to do that, you sad wanker?’”
So the 54-year-old Souter flew back to the States this week for the first Subterfuge gig since a summer 2010 memorial performance for former member Todd Sampson (which itself marked the band’s first time onstage in several years). This one will find Souter alongside three of his oldest mates, guitarist Gigli Locatelli, bassist Jon Bush and drummer Robert Picardo, along with guitarist Steve DeZarn of current Vegas bands The Scoundrels and The People’s Whiskey.
“We’ve all known each other for 35 years. We’ve been in business together. We’ve fallen out. We’ve loved each other. We’ve fallen out. It’s the journey of life,” Souter says. “This is probably the last time this is gonna happen, so we want to make sure it’s a really good show.”
Though Subterfuge’s lineup has been relatively flexible over the years—along with Sampson, punk-scene mainstays like Guy Griebel, Anthony Hudak and the late Gary Wright have all served time in the band—the reuniting foursome of Souter, Locatelli, Bush and Picardo were perhaps the most indelible version, having recorded the group’s lone LP, 1984’s Who’s the Fool on Mystic Records.
Subterfuge recently added to its discography via Vegas label SquidHat Records, releasing A Beautiful Chaos: 1981-2004, which combines outtakes and unreleased cuts with a recording of the original band’s final show, a 1986 performance at Fender’s Ballroom in Long Beach, California. The collection—up now digitally at squidhat.bandcamp.com and out on vinyl and CD on November 18—finds Subterfuge at its Britain-meets-Vegas best, spitting attitude as it blazes through jagged two-minute mini-epics.
And that might not be all for Subterfuge. Souter and Locatelli have been busy collaborating on new material across the Atlantic over Skype, and Picardo has whipped up some new tracks, too. The band plans to duck into the studio while Souter’s in town, with an eye toward a second SquidHat release. For now, though, the focus is on Saturday. “I was nervous, apprehensive to come, really, but now that I’m here I’m excited,” Souter says. “We’ve got people flying in from all over the country for this, and we’re very honored and humbled to be part of it.”
Subterfuge With M.I.A, Area 51, Triple Ripple, Self Abuse, FSP. November 19, 8 p.m., $15. Backstage Bar & Billiards, 702-382-2227.