Few teenagers around here can say they played a Motley Crue song in a bar and Vince Neil came up to them afterward to say how impressed he was by their rendition. The boys in Sin Circus can. Members of the South Hill-based rock band had that experience last summer when they played a gig at the Backstage Bar & Grill. Motley Crue played Tacoma Dome that night and Neil, the band’s frontman, scheduled his after concert party at the club.
Sin Circus consists of Hunter Durham (14) on rhythm guitar, Dylan Perry (14) on drums, Devon Unger (18) on lead guitar and vocals and Derek Unger (15) on bass and vocals. Devon and his younger brother Derek have been playing music together for four years. They put a band together and began writing songs. They went through several other musicians before settling on this lineup last summer. Perry has been friends with Derek since they were young children. One day he informed them he had started playing drums. “We just rolled from there,” Devon said.
The Unger boys’ father, Steve Unger, has been a rock musician for many years, most recently playing bass in the last incarnation of Metal Church. Last summer he was a mentor in Rock ‘n Roll Band Camp. Under his tutelage, last year the band had five weeks to write two songs, learn one cover tune and then play them live at Temple Theater.
The members have participated in jam nights at Jazzbones and other local clubs. “We try to play as much as we can,” Devon remarked.
The band has played Roseland Theater in Portland a few times, Jimmy Z’s in Everett and Studio 7 in Seattle. Many of their fans are friends their age who live around Pierce County. Since much of their fan base is not old enough to drive, they draw more of their friends and classmates to shows at local venues like Louie G’s in Fife and the Backstage in Tacoma.
Sin Circus has five original songs and is working on three more. The Unger brothers write the lyrics and much of the music. Then the other two add their input and build it into a full song. Devon said they like to experiment with different time signatures.
Their cover tunes reveal much of their musical tastes. Their oldest cover, the KISS classic “Detroit Rock City,” was released in 1976. Their newest is “Nightmare,” released in 2010 by Avenged Sevenfold. Also in the mix is “Panama” by Van Halen, “Talk Dirty To Me” by Poison, “All The Small Things” by Blink 182 and “Wild Side” and “Kick Start My Heart” by Motley Crue.
Perry and the Ungers are certainly into many of the bands Steve Unger likes. “They have a KISS museum in their house,” Perry said, clearly impressed. Durham has a taste for old-school punk rock bands like Dead Kennedys. “We have some different influences going around,” he observed.
Perry and Durham both get their mothers to drive them to band practice. All four noted their parents are quite supportive of their musical endeavors. “I think we are all lucky in that regard,” Perry observed.
Soon the band will enter a studio operated by former Heart member Howard Leese to begin recording their debut album, which they plan to release by the end of the year. The band will embark on their first United States tour this summer. Steve Unger has a new band that will hit the road in support of headliner Twisted Sister. Sin Circus will be the opening act on a tour that will hit clubs and outdoor festivals.
Sin Circus plays an all-ages show at The Charleston in Bremerton at 8 p.m. on May 10 and an all-ages show at Louie G’s in Fife at 8 p.m. on May 12.