Concert preview: G. Green grows up with Area Codes

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From the August 14, 2014 edition

Believe it or not, G. Green is growing up.

Following the release of its 2012 debut, Crap Culture, much of the terminology used to describe the punk-leaning Sacramento crew sounded as though it could have been lifted from the job evaluation of a particularly unmotivated, underperforming employee.

“The self-proclaimed 'party punks' specialize in giving zero fucks at all times,” wrote Impose just last month — a point singer/guitarist Andrew Henderson countered in an early August phone interview, saying, “We do, though.”

“Earlier in this band the music was definitely more ragtag and off-the cuff,” Henderson continued. “I can agree with reviews of the earlier stuff saying it was sloppy or out-of-tune, but I think we're pretty tight now.”

The quartet’s latest, Area Codes, is a quantum leap forward, incorporating fragile ballads alongside comparatively aggressive, angular numbers like “Brain Fuck,” a taught guitar rave-up that finds Henderson repeating the line, “It’s what you do, not what you don’t,” a call-to-action that could be interpreted as a thumb in the eye of those critics who assumed the band was sloughing off in the past.

According to the frontman, the musicians nearly added fuel to this still-lingering fire, recording and eventually scrapping an entire album he labeled “sloppy and badly performed.”

“If that record had come out, people could have continued with that narrative, like, ‘Yeah, they don’t really seem to care very much,’” he said. “But we decided together we were going to push ourselves.”

In turn, much of the material on Area Codes was written, tested and heavily refined on the road, with the band jettisoning tunes as newer and better ones emerged.

“We’d get rid of songs if they seemed like a rehash of ones we’d written before, or we never got them down, or if they were boring and we didn’t like playing them,” Henderson said.

While G. Green’s sound and approach have clearly matured, the singer noted many of the songs still sport a familiar point of view.

“The songs are still from my perspective, and they’re still pretty personal,” Henderson said, who grew up splitting his time between his father, a software engineer and strict Mormon who lived in Orem, Utah, and his mother, a high school counselor in San Jose, California. “It’s still about being bored and not liking where you live and breaking up with a girl and getting too drunk — those things that white, middle-class 20-somethings deal with. That’s what I am, and I write about what I know.”