As far as entertainment is concerned, February in Williamsport might as well be named Ena Paul Kostabi month. The New York City-based musician-artist will bring his fresh punk band (with classic bones) Damn Kids to the Bullfrog Brewery, 229 W. Fourth St., at 10 p.m. Feb. 2, the same night that he has an opening reception for his new art exhibition, "From Paul Kostabi with Love" at the Grey Art Gallery, 140 W. Fourth St. at 6 p.m.
Kostabi was a founding member of White Zombie, a band known for songs like "Black Sunshine" and "Thunder Kiss '65," which were featured in heavy rotation on MTV in the early '90s and were even given the "Beavis and Butthead" treatment (The animated duo actually liked the band, for the record). Kostabi said that he enjoyed working with Rob Zombie.
"[Rob] had a sort of DIY [style] but with a passionate approach to things, which I like," he said. "He was like the end of punk and beginning of something new. Punk was so played out and hardcore was dying, so scum rock and metal sludge-garage was in order."
New York City-based Damn Kids will perform at 10 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Bullfrog Brewery, 229 W. Fourth St. The band features founding White Zombie member Ena Paul Kostabi, at left, who also will have an art exhibition at the Grey Art Gallery, 140 W. Fourth St., during February.
Well, punk may have been played out then, but in the face of diluted post-grunge and Auto-Tune, punk's rawness feels fresh again and that's a good thing for Damn Kids, a band that prides itself on being old school punk.
Damn Kids features Al Landess on vocals and guitar; Dave Lindsay on drums; Ned Lindsay on bass; and Kostabi on guitar; and touts classic punk influences like The Dead Boys, Crime, The Weirdos and Generation X.
The group formed in 2010 and released a digital EP, "The Digi 45," in July of that year that was well-received.
"People love it," Kostabi said. "It got the graces of Posh Boy [Records], so we recorded 'Mexicali' about Robbie Fields and he released it on a compilation called 'Positively St. Marks Place' - available on iTunes."
Kostabi also digitally archives music for Posh Boy Records, a label that his punk band Youth Gone Mad was signed to in the early '80s. Youth Gone Mad played with bands the likes of Black Flag, Caustic Cause, The Mentors, The Stains and Fear.
The Damn Kids performance at the Bullfrog will be special in part because the group rarely performs outside of Manhattan.
"We seldom leave the city - with the occasional jaunt to Brooklyn," he said.
NYC, however, isn't quite what it used to be, Kostabi said.
"Most New Yorkers these days - and maybe as always - are transplants from other cities," he said. "It used to be you had to live in NYC for 10 to 15 years in order to wear the stripes, now it seems it takes a few days. So many bands move to NYC from out west or the midwest and they call themselves a New York band. I guess that's okay today. Ten years ago you would be shunned."
Damn Kids will make the three-hour trek to Williamsport because Kostabi thinks that Billtown has something exciting going on.
"It's awesome," Kostabi said. "It reminds me of the East Village [circa] 1984 but on a much grander scale, as it should be."
Something else that reminds him of East Village is that a few of the regulars of that scene in the early '80s are featured artists at the Grey Art Gallery.
"It's nice to see some of the EV [East Village] staples coming out to Williamsport as well, like [Mike] Cockrill and [Rick] Prol," Kostabi said. "I like everything I have seen at the gallery and Casey [Gleghorn, co-owner of the gallery] has undeniable energy and enthusiasm for life, music and art."
Damn Kids' music has a life and art of its own and Kostabi said the band's music is as fun to play as it sounds (songs may be heard at the group's website, damnkids.bandcamp.com).
"It's very fun - it rolls right out like a controlled water slide or the feeling a child has speeding down a hill on their bicycle," he said.
Songwriting is a collaborative effort for the band, with Landess presenting "sketches of songs," according to Kostabi.
"We pound them into something we can play almost the same way over and over," Kostabi said. "Then [Landess] finishes the words and Dave generally has an arrangement change and I might add a dynamic, like 'Let's put a stop here,' etc. We work well together."
For the show at the Bullfrog, the group is looking forward to performing its new song, "Shotgun Karaoke."
Kostabi said the band will "show up, tune up and throw up and ... leave as happy as the rest." For more information about the Bullfrog Brewery, visit www.bullfrogbrewery.com. For more information about the Grey Art Gallery, visit www.greyartgallery.com.