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Novocaine's rock 'n' roll juggling act

Countless all-night, intoxicated binges twisted Novocaine's signature sound into one becoming of a 9 Lives Saloon house band. Fans went rabid for the band's ear-pummeling, intense and hard-edged live performance. But during a five-month break from live shows this past spring, Novocaine contemplated their musical direction. They parted ways with their DJ and second guitarist, paring down to a three-piece.

"We decided we were going to change our name [to Brass Knuckle Surfer] and write all new music," says vocalist/bassist Juan Garcia. "Word got around about that and people began to think that we had broken up, but it was just supposed to be a name change."

As 2003 draws to an end, the remaining members — Garcia, vocalist/guitarist Mike Morris and drummer Mike Barnes — are simultaneously easing their nerves through the mellow grooves of the instrumental Brass Knuckle Surfer and letting others take the mike with the hyper-eclectic Witches Brew. Meanwhile, Novocaine continues on, recently having made its East Atlanta debut at the Earl.

"We want to do something no one else is doing in the local circuit right now and create a buzz that develops new interest in a genre that has been around since the '70s," says Garcia. "We want to write music with no vocals that you can go home and still remember what it sounded like."

Garcia, Morris and Barnes were asked to join Witches Brew in April 2003, uniting them with the rapping frontmen from Mojo 99. "The three of us play live with five MCs rapping, singing and screaming," says Garcia. "It's like a circus onstage."

Witches Brew (CD release) and Novocaine play 10 High Sat., Nov. 29. $7.