As the Pack A.D.'s guitarist/singer Becky Black writhes on an examination table, long blueish hands poke and prod her flesh. With garage punk wailing over the camera shots, she realizes that aliens have abducted her. The music video for the Vancouver, B.C., duo's new single "So What" is the stuff of nightmares, and it all came from the mind of drummer Maya Miller.
"It was my idea for Becky to get abducted for the video and she said 'Fine,'" Miller says with a laugh. "She had to spend the whole time naked on a table. I thought it was the best decision on my part."
Miller says she didn't have an inkling she'd be in a band; she thought she'd always be an actor.
"And then I was one and I hated it," says Miller, on the phone from her band's self-described "tour truck," headed toward a show in Ottawa. "So then I became a director and then I fell into being in a band, and I like the way things have turned out."
Since forming in 2006, the Pack A.D. have become one of the hottest Canadian garage-punk bands, with five albums under their belt and a 2013 Juno Award nomination for breakout artist. Next week, their tour lands in Spokane.
Miller learned to play drums after her friends wanted to start a band. No one else wanted to play the instrument, so it fell to her. She took lessons and just hit the skins as hard as possible. The duo soon emerged, after the band fell through. These days, she says she doesn't practice the way she should, or stretch out and stay limber.
"Real drummers really do those things," Miller says. "I thrash around a lot, and on the first two days of shows on a tour I'll usually give myself whiplash. But you reacclimate yourself."
As both Miller and Black have a background in theater and film, it makes sense they'd have creative music videos. Miller says they'd quit touring and only make videos if that were a viable way to make money.
"When we're recording a song, we sit in the studio and ideas for videos just pop up," Miller says. "We're always thinking about it."
Writing is a fluid thing for the band, and they mostly compose together, in the moment. Looking back on their old stuff, they can't even tell who wrote each part. The new Pack A.D. album, due out in August, is called Positive Thinking.
"Yes, that title is facetious," Miller says. "It touches on themes of depression and ageism and a lot of serious topics. But there is something to be said for staying positive, too."
This tour they're out playing a bunch of the fresh, deafening tunes at shows — including that new single.
"We're playing as hard as we can," Miller says. "On stage, we'll have a party about it. And that's about as Canadian as I can get." ♦
The Pack A.D. with the Smokes • Tue, June 21, at 8 pm • $10 • All-ages • The Bartlett • 228 W. Sprague • thebartlettspokane.com • 747-2174