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The Xenophobes at Stillwater

Turns out Reno, Nev., is as well-known for its hardcore music as it is for country tunes. As a subgenre of the punk rock that originated in the UK and the United States, hardcore found footholds in the early '80s in cities in California.

Fil Corbitt of the Reno-based group The Xenophobes says he and his band mates grew up around it, along with other groups like Seven Seconds, Cobra Skulls and other hardcore bands that came out of Reno.

"Cobra Skulls are still around," he says, "We like to play with them a lot. They're doing huge tours, they just got back from Europe."

Drummer Corbitt, vocalist and guitarist Austin Barnett and Chris Stehman on an upright bass make up The Xenophobes. The three will perform at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7, at Stillwater, 1961 Highway 66, Ashland.

They call their music "psycorebilly."

"Pretty much we all play really, really loud and really, really fast," Corbitt says. "It's not completely like Reno hardcore, it's got a lot of good bass lines. We usually scare off the people who expect to hear a toned-down rockabilly band. We're more of a hardcore punk band with psychobilly and rock undertones."

The Xenophobes got together about five years ago. The three of them attended middle school together in Gardnerville, Nev. Members of another Reno-based hardcore band, called Buster Blue, attended the same school.

"We actually had some of the same teachers," Corbitt says.

Now Corbitt is 18, Barnett is 19 and Stehman is 20, and the three have been gigging for about four years. They've recorded an EP, and they're working on a full-length album.

"We have a lot of influences," Corbitt says. "Austin just sort of took over the vocals, he listens to a lot of metal and hardcore, Chris plays upright bass, so that puts a whole 'nother face on our music, I listen to everything, lots of punk, lots of hardcore. O'Death, they're one of my favorite bands."

The Xenophobes are starting their first West Coast tour with a gig in Reno, then coming to Oregon for two dates before working their way through California to perform with the Rochetz. Then its off to Arizona, and, hopefully, a stop in Las Vegas before returning home.

"Our top wishes for the tour are to make some friends in different cities and not to break down," Corbitt says. "We're still not sure what we'll be using for transportation."

Cover for the show at Stillwater is $5. Call 482-6113.

Fil Corbitt, Austin Barnett and Chris Stehman are The Xenophobes. - Photo by Jeff Ross