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Rollin' up on you 

Sex Police back on the beat

In a season that has seen more than its share of nostalgic returns, another legendary old school act has regrouped to provide a snapshot into an era of Triangle music history. It's been a decade since the fuzz has been on patrol, but for two nights the Sex Police have come back to remind us, "You Don't Have To Be a Monster." Of course, that's not the limit of their largesse. They've also assembled a CD/DVD package. The album has 19 tracks from their three albums--Medallion, Second String, and Science--as well as an early unreleased demo and a couple live tracks from a New Year's Eve show at the Cat's Cradle a dozen years ago. The DVD culls the funky rockers' seven videos interweaved with a lot of other "extraneous" footage. Bassist (and auteur) Norwood Cheek is now in Hollywood, where he founded Flicker (dedicated to screening Super 8 and 16mm films), as well as film, music videos and commercials. (You may recognize him from a Volkswagen commercial he appeared in a few years ago)

The idea to put together a CD and stage a reunion show came last Christmas, according to singer/guitarist John Plymale.

"(Bassist) Norwood [Cheek] was in town, so we decided to get everybody together for a dinner party and to visit. We started talking about it and said, maybe next year we would do it," Plymale says. "Here we are a year later and we haven't changed our minds. I'm surprised."

Plymale formed the Sex Police in 1989 from out of the ashes of local '80s icons, The Pressure Boys, bringing along that band's horn section, including trumpeter Stacy Guess who died in 1998.

"Norwood was just a bass player that was in a bunch of bands we had come across over the years. He and I just started talking and found that we wanted to do a similar kind of band," Plymale recalls. "We had a couple different false starts with a couple different people involved and finally got it off the ground."

The holdover of the horns means the Sex Police retains some of the good time feel of the Boys, but there's more of a funky, guitar-rock vibe.

"When we started it was definitely influenced by the '80s kind of funk bands that were out there, like the Chili Peppers, their early records. Everybody was into a lot of different things, but we got together to write our own songs," Plymale recounts. "For the second record we made a little bit heavier an album--much more heavy rock. Then the third record was kind of becoming less hard rock and metal and more, for lack of a better word, 'indie.'"

When it came to an end in January 1995 at the Attic in Greenville, each went their separate ways, a tug that had been pulling members toward different projects and which would turn Plymale into one of the Triangle's most sought-after producers.

"It ran its course. I don't think anyone in the band would regret a single minute of the whole process, the whole time," he says. "It finally ran its course and it was time to do the next thing."

The Sex Police play the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro on Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. with Apollo Heights and The Breaks. Tickets are $12 in advance. The Sex Police play the next day, Jan. 1, at Ziggy's in Winston-Salem at 9 p.m. Tickets $10.

  • Sex Police back on the beat

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