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Fists of Fury 

by Darcy Caputo & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & L & lt;/span & ocal jazz-fusion (prog, metal, hardcore, et al.) ensemble Nineteen Points of Nowhere has been together since last summer but has only played four gigs. Despite that lack of local live experience, the group is poised to self-release a CD and has begun booking shows as far away as Bellingham and San Francisco this spring. Basically, they're skipping steps.

And that's cool; the band was built on that kind of deliberate rule-breaking and exploration. Bassist Todd Grove and guitarist Brandon Jacobs (of Fumaric) teamed up with drummer Jesse Clott and Janelle Ateyo (on - and this is awesome - the clarinet) to create an inspired instrumentalism, with collective influences ranging everywhere from Miles Davis to Don Caballero. Their fifth show, promoting the CD, hits Mootsy's on Saturday.

Because interviews about music are often boring and full of meaningless jargon, I spoke with founding member Todd Grove about his curious love for punching and kicking people.

I understand that you're a wrestling fan. & r & Ultimate Fighting Championship actually. Well, that's not exactly true. What I'm into is the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

What does it look like? & r & The idea is that you use different techniques of martial arts to win. You can use chokes and arm bars on your opponents, things you can't use in wrestling. You can use kickboxing. You can kick a guy in the face, you can kick him in the liver.

Isn't that bloody? & r & Oh yeah. But it's safer than boxing. I'd guess that the major injury rates, and especially the death rate are much higher in boxing.... So far there have been no deaths in Mixed Martial Arts ... no paralyzing injuries either.

In the history of the sport? & r & None in the history of the sport.

Well then, how old is the sport? & r & 15 years at best. Vale Tudo got going around 1990. That's how Mixed Martial Arts started.

Vale Tudo? & r & Yeah, it's Portuguese for "anything goes."

So -- a lot fewer rules than wrestling? & r & Sure ... but obviously no groin strikes, no eye-gouging -- you can't do a small-joint manipulation or break the guy's finger.

Bummer. & r & Yeah, actually you can't strike the spine either, or the back of the head or neck. No elbows to the face. And you can't kick an opponent when he's down, but they do allow elbows to the head.

So is there any way that Mixed Martial Arts crosses over into your music? & r & Well, sure. It inspires me as a person to be focused and determined. And those two factors come out in playing music constantly. I think you have to be fairly determined about practicing if you want to get any better. Martial Arts are just something I've loved since I was a kid, and the same goes with music. So there is always going to be crossover.

Nineteen Points of Nowhere CD Release at Mootsy's with Belt of Vapor, Doom Lit Sky and Fumaric on Saturday, March 11, at 10 pm. Tickets: $5. Call 838-0260.
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