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Musical Satisfaction

February 20, 2004

Paul Saitowitz

Locked away in the back corner of a warehouse on the Westside of

Costa Mesa among the auto garages, liquor stores and taco stands, the

band Satisfaction has spent the last three months feverishly penning

11 new songs.

This prolific spell of musical inspiration has been extremely

liberating for the group's members who once comprised three-fourths

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of Costa Mesa indie stalwarts Smile.

"The best thing about it is that there are no rules or

boundaries," singer/guitarist Michael Rosas said. "We could hear a

drum fill and end up falling on the floor laughing about it ... and

then a song could end up being based around it."

Smile, which had been signed to Atlantic Records and toured across

the country, disbanded a few months back after 10 years. In its wake

were several disappointed fans, but Satisfaction -- Rosas, vocals and

guitar; James Fletcher, drums; Matt Fletcher, keyboards; and Aaron

Metcalf, bass -- should dry any remaining damp eyes.

"I was the only original member still in the band, and it was time

to start doing something new," Rosas said.

Although there are some inherent nods to the foursome's former

incarnation, the sound is freshly laden with busy keyboards,

Ringo-esque beats, big bass fills and Rosas' unmistakable voice --

think Ray Davies meets Rivers Cuomo.

"I think it's pretty difficult for any band to say that the

Beatles are not a big influence whether they like it or not," Matt

Fletcher said. "We're all big Beatles fans so that's going to come

through."

The songs were written under no deadline, just a flow of

creativity sparked by the new endeavor. However, when the band was

offered a month-long residency at the musical litmus test that is

Detroit Bar, pressure reared its head.

"We're just trying to get comfortable playing these songs

together," Rosas said. "I was still writing lyrics right before we

went on stage for the first Detroit show."

Monday will be the finale of the band's Detroit run, which has

been steadily growing in popularity each week. Last week, the group

broke the attendance record for residency acts, drawing more than 200

fans.

Some of the fans are from the Smile contingent, but many more have

been converted by word of mouth regarding the live show.

"We thought we were going to be playing for 30 friends or so, but

it has turned into a lot more than that," Matt Fletcher said.

At this point, the idea is to break through the Orange Curtain and

hit up L.A. hipster haunts like Spaceland and the Derby.

Last week the group headed into the studio at For the Record in

Orange to lay down three of its new tracks.

"We just kind of recorded it live," Matt Fletcher said. "We're

trying to get more shows and the only way for us to do that is to get

a demo out there."

The disc should be available at Monday's Detroit performance.

* PAUL SAITOWITZ is a news editor. He may be reached at (949)

574-4295 or by e-mail at paul.saitowitz@latimes.com.

FYI

* WHAT: Satisfaction

* WHEN: Monday

* WHERE: Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St.

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