Wax - 13 Unlucky Numbers (Cover Artwork)


13 Unlucky Numbers (1995)


Wax was always a band that confused me: they were on a major label, had a "hit" song with a memorable video ("California", directed by Spike Jonze), toured enough to get their name out there, and had a completely accessible sound for a wide range of audiences. But like many other mid-`90s bands, Wax just faded into obscurity.

Which is a shame, because 13 Unlucky Numbers showed a lot of promise for a band that could have easily been your favorite. Their sound falls somewhere between the Ramones and...I don't know, Weezer maybe? Which is unfair to say, because it's hard to pin down exactly how Wax sounds. All the songs are around 2:30 long, the guitar work is simplistic at times and intricate at others. Power chords and downstrokes abound, only to be matched on the next verse by a solo-ish guitar break. Joe Sib's (of 22 Jacks / SideOneDummy) lyrics never come close to bordering on poetic, but their simplicity matches with the music quite well. Loomis makes the most out of his minimalistic drumming, keeping 4/4 time throughout. Calling Wax a "punk" band may be a little overstatement, but a "rock band with punk leanings" might describe them better.

Most people recognize "California" as the band's one song that received any type of airplay. But most of the remaining 9 songs (yes, only 10, the last 3 are blank) are just as good, if not better. The opening track "Who Is Next," which interestingly was used in a Nike ad, is a fast-paced number with an ass-kicking slowed down bridge that builds back up into the opening riff and tempo. Other gems on the disc include the aforementioned "California," "Stop Sign," "Just a Visitor," and "Too Well," the latter being the most frantic of all the tracks.

13 Unlucky Numbers is not without fault, most notably the fact that the disc only has 10 tracks clocking in under 24 minutes. Two of the songs (not counting the last 3 blank tracks) are what I'd call "throwaway" songs ("Jiffy Boy," "Knot"), so really you're only left with 8 tracks. But the remaining disc I feel more than makes up for the brevity, it's just a shame that Wax couldn't have thrown a few more songs on the tracking.

As above, vocalist Joe Sib went on to form 22 Jacks and now runs SideOneDummy, guitarist Soda has a new band, which I believe drummer Loomis (who you've seen on the "Jackass"/"Wildboyz" shows) is playing in. 13 Unlucky Numbers is out of print, but there are still plenty of copies available on Amazon and eBay (hell, it's 1 cent even). Give it a try.

"California" video

Soda and His Million Piece Band