TO PUT IT in the simplest and most "duh" of terms, bands should perform. But in Seattle, a city that's lauded as a breeding ground for compelling live music, a band that actually performs while playing for an audience is an increasingly rare entity. Which is why music fans should pay attention to Raft of Dead Monkeys. Music, bloody nurses, and a performance artist consuming a crate of bananas are what you might get with Raft, depending on the song, the whim, or just the plain circumstances of the day.

You're working on a concept album?

John Spalding: It's about a guy named Jimmy who grows up in a bad home and goes to college but doesn't know how to connect with anyone. He gets into drugs and drinking and gets crazy, [then] spirals, leaves college, and ends up in Las Vegas working in a restaurant, clean and sober.

Jeff: It's called Hot Pants College.

John: We have an EP waiting to come out, if anybody's interested. It's called Joey the Pig Fucker. It's a concept record about assholes.

I'm curious about why you're choosing such a seemingly asinine theme, because obviously no one's going to take something like Hot Pants College seriously.

John: Of course. But everybody knows somebody like Jimmy, and it's ridiculous how a situation like his still evolves. It's kind of a mockery on pop culture. All the song titles are ridiculous.

Jeff: "Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don't Give a Fuck."

John: "John Rides the Cocaine Bronco."

Do you always perform with the nurses on stage with you, and do you consider them to be a part of the band?

Jeff: We do now, but as soon as Hot Pants College comes around, well, if they're not going to wear hot pants, then they're ousted. We definitely focus on aesthetics when we perform, because no one does that anymore. It's a package deal for us: the artwork, the sound -- it has to look and sound good. It's just kind of conceptual chaos.