The Ringers have played plenty of memorable shows since frontmanJoe Hursley, 29, and bassist Joe Stiteler, 29 — community-college pals from Austin, Texas, who moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting — formed the live-wire garage-punk outfit four years ago. There was that one time they inadvertently rocked a skinhead bar in Ventura, and another, equally frightening incident when guitarist Joe Robinson, 31, accidentally bashed Hursley in the noggin with his instrument.”I could feel this liquid coming down my head,” the singer remembers over margaritas at an L.A. Mexican joint. Adds Robinson, “You definitely would’ve died of blood loss if you’d kept going.”
The most unusual, though, was the night they played one song for six hours while filming a minute-long concert scene for the 2006 Justin Long comedy Accepted, in which Hursley portrayed a shell-shocked army vet. Director Steve Pink decided to hire the rest of the ringers after Hursley convinced him to catch a show. “They have such great energy,” Pink says. “Kind of a Stooges vibe.”
Indeed, it’s easy to imagine Iggy Pop admiring some of Hursley’s moves: Onstage at L.A.’s Roxy in September, the singer hocks a loogie not on the crowd but on himself, and barely flinches when hundreds of tiny firecrackers get flung the band’s way. While there are traces of the Stooges’ gunked-up punk on the ringers’ second album, Headlocks & Highkicks (Fort Mason), these guys also harbor affection for arena-size choruses and handclap-ready grooves. Fans of Jet and Electric Six are advised to check out the cheeky pop basher “Holy Zipper,” which finds Hursley dreaming up a tryst with a hot nun.
At home in Hollywood, the band, including drummer (and Hursley’s cousin) Patrick Hursley, 25, are beginning to build a following big enough to justify the singer’s outsize antics. But Patrick insists that the Ringers were bouncing off the walls the first time he showed up for practice. “It sounded like shit,” adds Robinson, “but at least we looked great!”
– Joe Hursley also fronts White Gold, a fictional glam-rock trio invented for the Got Milk? campaign.
– The Accepted gig wasn’t the Ringers’ only marathon-length show: They were motion-captured to be the onscreen band in Guitar Hero: World Tour.