Nutrajet: spies in the house of pop

Nutrajet, with the Tarantulas, Barbarella, April 25, 1998

There must be few things cooler than having your likeness appear on a bottle of beer, especially if it's a rock & roll beer. Take the case of Greg Reinel -- singer/guitarist for Orlando-based power-punk duo Nutrajet -- whose spiky hair and sarcastic expression grace the label of the Hard Rock Cafe's new Hard Gauge Beer. When Jeff Beamer, who was given the task of designing Hard Gauge's label, saw Nutrajet's photo he thought he had found the rock image he was looking for in Reinel.

Still, "I had a really hard time deciding whether to do this or not," Reinel says of making the decision to affiliate himself with the product.

In the end he felt it could only help the band. Fueled by the hook-laden power pop/punk of bands like The Professionals, The Troggs and the Stooges, Reinel and drummer Suzanne Dozier began playing together in 1996 under the name Torpedo Lotion. Reinel and Dozier are battle-scarred veterans of the local punk, rockabilly and roots-rock underground and both share an affinity for over-the-top stage shows that they cultivated with their previous bands. Reinel's dossier includes tenure in semilegendary area bands like Disorderly Conduct, the Screaming Iguanas of Love and Nicoteens, while Dozier slammed out borderline psychotic rhythms for Psychos From Texas, The Lears and The Vodkats.

While their sound is pure pop with an emphasis on simplicity and catchy arrangements, Nutrajet has a penchant for the kitschy-but-energetic vibe of spy-film scenarios. Their song "Alternative Nation" receives regular airplay via the in-store radio station at Virgin Megastore at Downtown Disney West Side, and the song is included on "Trackspotting III," the just-released, third installment of the Central Florida band compilation series. The band's own CD is due out this summer and will capture live chestnuts like "No More You," "Up with the Lovely" and "The Bedroom Window."

Nutrajet are unafraid to take risks. Reinel does his best to stir up hostility in apathetic audience members and has often nearly put his life in danger at live gigs. In the end it is Dozier who best sums up the band's sound as "espionage, perversion and love" -- themes that could launch this jet into the skyway of psychobilly success.

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