It’s downright silly how excited I am right now. The mix just came in for the debut HAYLEY AND THE CRUSHERS EP! That means release is right around the corner. Whoo!
It seriously takes a village to raise a band, and I am in such good company. The songs came together between 2014 and 2015. Somehow—don’t ask me how—they’re sounding just how I wanted them to sound in my head. Only better. I owe this miracle to a few kind folks. I will happily embarrass them now!
Ryan Jenkins. He made the songs come to life with his drumming and he wasn’t afraid to sing and play drums when I asked him to, which seriously looks like the hardest thing to do on the planet. How do people do this?! He has the best growl, too. I think he should be a singer in his next band.
Ryan had to leave The Crushers last month due to time constraints, but I did not have a heart attack. He is a methodical and thoughtful guy, and does not make rash decisions. He has a real family to take care of, and we just have bands and dogs, so I totally understood, even though it was a sad moment.
Without him, these songs wouldn’t have had legs to stand on, so I thank him for bringing the music to life. My favorite Ryan moment came last month, when we played Camozzi’s Saloon in Atascadero with Off Center and the Holes and The Bunker Club (both amazing local punk bands you should be listening to). Off-Center doesn’t have a drummer… I like to say they have “transcended” the mortal need for percussion. But that didn’t stop me from bugging my Mag Dirty bandmate, screamer Curtis Campbell, into playing drums for that show.
See, at MD practice, Reid and I are always late (on account of Reid having to fix his hair), so when we show up to practice, Greg, Chad, and Curtis are always playing in their “other” band, “The Right on Times.” Curtis plays guitar and sometimes messes on Chad's kit while everyone is trying to talk at a reasonable volume.
So anyway, back to the show. Curtis was nervous as heck but got up there and did his best, which was hard since he has literally never even HEARD Off Center and the Holes. It was glorious, though, and after some false starts, he got into the groove. After a few songs, he then passed the sticks to Pete from The Bunker Club, who…amazingly…played really wicked-good drums (he normally plays guitar and sings). I looked at Ryan and was like … “you’re going to go next, right?” Ryan didn’t know any of these people. He lives in Nipomo and has another band and a real life there. This wasn’t his natural environment at all. But OF COURSE he got up there and gave it a go. All the while, Off-Center and the Holes was rocking out without so much as a hiccup. This is why I love Ryan. He’s just a really sweet guy with zero ego who is always willing to step in and do what needs to be done to "make it happen." That's what he did for me when I found myself without a solid lineup for this project I had been wanting to start for years. Ryan: I really hope you open that artisanal icecream shop he’s been dreaming about. I would so eat that fennel icecream, bro.
Dr. Cain. Duh. You guys know why! He makes me tea in the morning and listens to all my dumb songs. Plus, he doesn’t know what notes are what on a guitar, but apparently he can play wicked rock n roll bass! WHAT ELSE CAN HE DO THAT WE ARE NOT YET AWARE OF?! That should be another blog post.
Max Triplett. H-E-Double Hockey Sticks. If the songs had legs thanks to Ryan, Max made ‘em get up, do a little jig and jump a few hurdles. This guy’s mind is a mystery of off-color humor and crazy musical invention. I don't know what's going on in there, but I LIKE IT. In the recording studio, Max had only heard the songs a few times via a few terrible demos I had made in garage band with robot drums (There is nothing worse than robot drums generated by garage band!!!!) Still Max blasted through the songs like a pro, adding NEW awesome elements that seriously elevated the music beyond silly genres like punk or surf. Like (dare I say) a magician pulling more and more handkerchief out of a hat, he kept throwing in the coolest fills and changes…it was like eating a bowl of Lucky Charms with ALL marshmallows in it. Tambourine? Hell yeah, he can shake a wicked tambourine! Clapping? Check and check. He'll clap ALL DAY. I walked into the studio hopeful but unsure, and left feeling immense grattitude. Also, Max shares my insatiable lust for ho-hos (or the idea of ho-hos - what are they exactly?), although the ho-hos I brought to the recording sesh melted quite quickly. And, somehow…he kept his beanie on the entire time. How does he do it??? I will forever dedicate the track "Gidget's Revenge" to Max's adorable ladytiger and my gal pal Theresa...who just so happens to be the mom of the REAL Gidget.
Randall Sena. Can I just say something? Randall Sena rocks the sandals. He makes them look good. It was so cool to have one-on-one time with this mad genius of sound. I have always had a warm online/phone relationship with Randall, and when I was doing Swap! Zine, he was always throw down a few bucks for ad space (thanks to peeps like him and Boo Boo Records, I was able to play to have the zine printed for 2 years!). Reid’s been using his music services for something like 8 years now, and it's easy to HEAR why. When Sena's on it, the music sparkles. The mix is right. Plus, Randall isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. He will tell you what’s going to work and what likely won't---he’s not there to hold your hand, but he will pull you out of whatever dillusion you may have. He does his job, and he does it very, very well! That’s what I wanted when I came into Certain Sparks in Lompoc on a super insanely hot day last month. I wanted someone to say to me: “use this amp, not that one,” “this would be a cool guitar part,” and “oh yeah! We totally have a glockenspiel upstairs.” He said all of those things, plus we recorded a few hours later than planned because he wanted to see just how a certain part would sound on two different keyboards (we eventually went with a guitar hook that Reid wrote on glockenspiel that Randall actually played on the recording). I wanted raw, melodic, jangly music, and he set that up to happen. Wham. Bam. Thank you, man! The plan was to record the guitar, bass, and drums live, then re-do my vocals later. But I was so comfortable—and the vibe was so chill (although it was like 99 degrees)—that we ended up using those original vocal tracks. I just felt like I was set up in my bedroom, except with exceptional sound, gear, and guidance. Next time, I'm wearing my pajamas.
Camillia Lanham and Darci Hafley. Camillia Lanham is my boss at New Times. My boss! And she is the coolest. Somehow, she deals with insane amounts of crap at work yet still has time to take her massively buff dog Shaheen for a run and still manages to say “yes” to everything. I have never met someone so “down for whatever." She embraces everything life throws at her with zero resistance... I need to work on this myself. I knew she had some singing background in a past life, so when I asked her to do some backing vox on a Ramones-y type song, she was like, “Duh. Yes." She came over that very night and killed it in three takes! It’s a little scary yelling something random like “hold on!” or "last dance!" into a mic while your friend and her husband are just sitting there starting at you. But she did it! And she really GOT INTO IT. I think she needs an outlet for some of her aggression, and that's why. Or maybe she's just as bad ass as she appears to be. : ) Darci Hafley is my neighbor and a dear friend. She is also ALWAYS down for a surprising number of things, and although I had never heard her sing, she killed it... and on a school night! She hadn’t had wine in a week, so she sucked down a glass of Petite Sirah and, before long, was owning the part like a seasoned rock goddess. Ok, there were a few moments where we were like, “DARCI! STOP ANNUNCIATING SO WELL! DUMB IT DOWNNNNN!” I mean, she really annunciates like a princess. We get it—you’re better than us! However, thanks to wine and laughter, she worked with the feedback and her part came out great. I am super thankful to have her in my life, and not just because she watches my dog and accompanies me on grand adventures. She’s a true friend.
Yup...it's one of those posts! Sappy, happy, and full of grammatical errors! Extra exclamation points for all. (!!!)