Getting to the Moral Crux of the matter

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PHOTOS: Moral Crux bass guitar Justin Warren and singer James Farris are prepared to play at the Lucky Break Cafe tonight.

Local musical group returns from hiatus

Very soon, Moses Lake will be filled with the sweet sounds of classic punk music again.

After a year-long hiatus, local band Moral Crux will play at the Lucky Break Cafe, located at 221 W. Broadway Ave., tonight, alongside bands One Step Closer, Social Rejects and Unlikely Heroes. The music begins at 9 p.m.

"We've kind of just taken some time off," explained bass guitarist Justin Warren. "Prior to that, we were averaging half the year on the road for three years before that. The six months we weren't on the road, we'd come back here and lead our normal lives."

The band consists of Warren, singer James Farris, Scott Rosalle on drums and guitarist Jared Brown.

"It's nice to play around here, because we usually play either Spokane, Seattle or on tour," Farris said.

Warren had been playing rock and roll in Moses Lake with a group of friends, until the guitar player quit to go to college. The group's drummer had met "these bleached-out hair, weird looking guys from Ephrata," he recalled, who ended up being Farris and former guitar player Jeff Jenkins, who were in need of a rhythm section.

Warren said that the group's first album came out in 1987, with some help from an Ellensburg-based group, the Screaming Trees, who already had a record out.

"That was kind of our introduction to independently produced music," Warren said. The band members produced their first two records by themselves, and every one thereafter has been paid for. The band is currently under the Lookout Records label.

"They've kept us on, it's kind of interesting," Warren said. "We're probably like one of their lowest money-making bands — I would think, I could be wrong. But I think they kind of keep us on board just because we're buddies. The president of the label remembers us hammering it out with Green Day in the 1980s."

Since then, the group has managed to garner a pretty good reputation and played with some pretty big name bands coast to coast, he said, like Social Distortion, Green Day and Rancid.

"We're kind of like that band that's kind of a little under the radar," Farris said. "It's kind of nice, I think it's because we've kept to our guns, is kind of why we haven't really made it real big. Which is fine, because so many bands like that will fall, once you make it big … You kind of have a longer career if you do things on your own terms."

Warren said the band is working on its eighth full length CD, which should be completed later in the summer.

"All we've been told by the label is late summer release, so they're not putting any heat on us," he said.

Warren said he would describe Moral Crux 's music as pop punk.

"We're probably closer in spirit; we get compared a lot to the older bands like the Clash, the Ramones and Generation X, Billy Idol's first band," he explained. "So we definitely have a sense of melody. It's loud and powerful, but it's melodic and well-played, I think."

Moral CDs are available online at Web sites like Amazon.com and www.interpunk.com, and locally at Hastings.

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