LANCASTER – Though the raucous foursome gravitate toward a “poppy ska sound,” the edgy and explosive members of Autistic Chainsaw simply think of themselves as marching to a different beat.
“We’re like the weird kids at school because you don’t know what they’re going to do next,” Jesse Seibel, lead singer of Autistic Chainsaw, told The AV Times. “We take pride in that.”
Together for little more than two years, Seibel and his fellow musicians grew the band out of the Antelope Valley after meeting at a 2013 “skapunk” performance by Leftover Crack in Lancaster.
“It was almost like it was destiny,” said Seibel, who is originally from Burbank. “The other three band members live in Lancaster and Palmdale, and I temporarily lived in Lancaster for a couple of months because I was homeless and needed a place to stay.”
According to Seibel, who said he was diagnosed with autism when he was 3-years-old, his music reflects his beginnings – a harsh childhood and a dysfunctional school environment.
“It had nothing to do with how my parents raised me because they gave it more than their all, but because the education system I was placed in had no idea on how to teach someone with autism,” he said. “There were times where the teacher would condescend me for not understanding the material and would even reward bullies for attacking me.”
It was this negligence, rejection and a “feeling of worthlessness” that eventually brought him to the crossroads of “learning to play the guitar and … writing songs about what I felt like,” he said.
And though he claims the songs were “garbage,” the intense creative outlet gave birth to an equally intense political awareness. As an example, one of the band’s songs, “Stay In School,” comments on Seibel’s experience that schools focus more on social fanfare, such as “football, fashion and rallies,” than on actual learning and critical thinking.
In similar fashion, Seibel said he wants the community to know that autism is just a different way of understanding the world.
“It’s definitely a rockier process growing up, but prescribed drugs are not going to change that,” he said. “Yelling at them isn’t going to help them either. People with autism need to grow up learning how to communicate their feelings, so that when they grow older they’ll have a much easier time getting a job and function in a world that is not adapted to them.”
Noting there are different types of autism on the spectrum – and that more severely autistic individuals simply deserve as much care and understanding as you would give anyone else – he said it is necessary to “give them the tools they need to grow up and become strong.”
Members of Autistic Chainsaw plan to demonstrate this show of strength for autism awareness during Friday’s performance at the Lancaster Moose Lodge. Aside from their music, the band will reach out to the public with their colorful use of patches and artwork to get their message across.
“We like to hold a satirical value to our image, but we understand how serious these issues are, so we address those in our songs,” Seibel said.
Autistic Chainsaw features drummer Tony Schnitzel, bassist Kenneth F. Catando III, lead guitarist Kameron Chance, and lead singer Jesse Seibel.
Autistic Chainsaw is set to perform at the Lancaster Moose Lodge, 44545 Division St., at 8 p.m. Friday, May 8. Admission is $5, and doors open at 7:30 p.m.
Other bands performing include Underground Alliance (E.L.A.), Social Conflict, Devil Mccoy, and Dogs Of War.