What is happening here?!!!
One word on the amazing photo that our hero Patrick Patton took above for the October issue of SLO Life Magazine: It's weird. In the best possible way...and let me tell you, that was by design!
We started at 7:00 a.m. at the Madonna Inn and yes, I had to wake up at 6 to get beautified in a similar fashion to THE Queen Dolly Parton, who--did you know--can still play autoharp, sax, banjo and harmonica all in one set (I saw her on Wednesday)? I brought three dresses, including my aunt's 60s prom dress she sewed herself! Gabriel had been driving from LA since 2 a.m. to get there on time after doing God knows what in the city (he looked like he had been ridden hard and put away wet - not sure how he pulled it off, as usual). Yes. Reid really IS jumping off that chair in the Madonna Inn Dining room (and showing his illustrious belly), like he tends to do in all his best photographs (the guy can catch air and has a good belly. ACCEPT THE BELLY. LOVE YOURSELF.).
I had asked Patrick to do the photo a few days before, in a panic. He is a total pro and I assumed quite busy with his sweet wife and rambunctious kids and many, many jobs. But he didn't hesitate. His answer was an emphatic: WHEN? WHERE? LET'S DO THIS! We had no plan, but we cobbled it together with a bit of DIY magic.
It really means the world to us when our friends collaborate with us in this sort of spontaneous, good hearted, open way - it's honestly what makes the music so fun. (Friends that have helped us, you know who you are). It's so damn heart warming to know that there is this weird web of people who otherwise don't get to hang out that much due to kids, life, projects etc. Still, we can all come together to work on something as fleeting and joyful as rock n roll. You DIY artists know what I am talking about. OK, enough sap!
During this shoot, Patrick even got an off-the-cuff pic that ended up being our album cover for the new record, Jewel Case. BTW: You already know this, but duh: Our release show is next Sunday at SLO Brew (all ages, free, featuring our rad friends Morgan Enos, Justine and the Highs, and Pancho and the Wizards. Plus, YES we are making friendship braceletes and pogs!!!).
Thank you Dawn Janke for the beautiful write-up and for sitting down with us and truly getting to know who we are. I talked to you a lot while very buzzed at a wedding, and I am so glad you were at my table, because I really liked you right off the bat. What you do is not lost on us. You actually look around and see who's making what in SLO, and then you go out and talk to those people and validate their puny existence with a moment of hometown pride. Seems like the natural thing for a writer to do, but so many times writers are prone to butt journalism (aka sitting on your butt checking email for leads). I should know, I have been guilty of this.
Thanks for capturing our story and what means the most to us. Which is...of course...SPARKLING SUPER HARD AND CATCHING MAD AIR. OH, AND DON'T FORGET TOBRING YOUR OWN LIGHTBULB TO THE PARTY! (OK, I get that this is kinda dense. That last part makes sense when you read the full story, below).
SLO Life Feature: Now Hear This
By: Dawn Janke
As the guitarist and frontwoman of local band Hayley and the Crushers, Hayley “Crusher” Cain has been likened to “a demonic Go-Go,” and she couldn’t be happier about the reference.
"Rarely are women allowed to be both sweet and self-empowered on stage," she says. "I want to crush that idea."
Cain’s earliest musical memory is of putting on her mom's copy of The Go-Go’s Beauty and the Beat at eight years old and bopping around their Hermosa Beach apartment like a crazy person. Cain says with her music she wants to spread that subversive energy: “I want people to sweat and dance and meet each other and start things together. I want to see people collide—that is where the magic is.”
Hayley Cain credits her husband, Reid “Dr. Crusher” Cain, owner of Dr. Cain’s Comics and Games in downtown San Luis Obispo, with encouraging her to create her own magic. Upon his urging, in 2012 she started Swap! Zine, a local, do-it-yourself magazine, to which she invited contributors to swap stories, songs, poems, and pictures about the SLO scene. “From that moment, my entire life changed,” she says. Since then, the Cains have collaborated on a number of projects and have shared the stage under many names, including Magazine Dirty and Tarweed Two and the Two-Time Boys. Hayley Cain says that music is the lifeblood of their relationship. “I want to follow in the footsteps of bands like X and The Cramps, who use that energy, that tension, that passion, to create weird art.”
Hayley Cain’s recent art is in part influenced by her late teen years in LA, which she describes as dark and destructive, a self-professed “wild time” which coincided with an obsession with Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. When she relocated back to the Central Coast in 2009, Cain says she found a safe space where she could tackle her struggles, which included depression and anxiety. She explains, “When I was surrounded by chaos and my life was chaos, I couldn’t step away from it enough to understand. SLO was a safe harbor where I could weave troubles into creativity."
One listen to Hayley and the Crushers reveals that she indeed has woven a creative web together with her husband on bass and local drummer Gabriel "Crusher" Olivarria keeping the beat. The band is a “melding of sweet and sour,” explains Hayley Cain, “bolstered by the bold, metal influence of Olivarria.” The Cains first saw Olivarria perform with Wolfcross, and they loved the fact that he was theatrical and really had fun with drumming. Reid Cain is proud to state the he recruited Olivarria for the band. According to Hayley Cain, the band’s sound is what it is because of Olivarria’s technical skills: “He's able to create a rock solid rhythm, but he also coaxes out a swing to the music that's so danceable.”
The Ramones, The Runaways, pop music of the 1960s, and wild surf punk of the 1980s like Agent Orange influence the band’s sound. Reid Cain says, “We have a unique combination of a metal dude, a punk girl, and a country guy. Put it all together, and it is not just one thing.” Hayley Cain adds, “We have respect for the melody and the classic hooks, but we’re putting them in a blender with studs and leather and fuzzed out bass.”
The frontwoman describes their debut full-length album, Jewel Case, as “one part punk rock empowerment anthem; one part insecure, tear-streaked teenage diary entry; and one part jangly, garage rock party.” Randall Sena at Certain Sparks Studio in Lompoc recorded and mixed the album and Patrick Hayes at Cock’s Lodge Studio in San Luis Obispo played a role in the initial recording process. Sena has worked with local bands like Pancho and the Wizards and Magazine Dirty, and Reid Cain points out, “A large part of our sound comes from Sena's finesse.”
The band first worked with Sena and Certain Sparks in 2015 when they recorded their EP Gidget’s Revenge with Max Triplett from local band King Walrus, who stepped in to help with drums. Released in March 2016, the EP pays a nod to the 1960s TV icon Gidget. Hayley Cain explains, “I felt like Gidget deserved a bit of redemption. She's always falling on her face or wiping out on her surfboard.” She continues, "The EP was recorded with more or less ‘live’ setup, which gave it a gritty urgency.” For Jewel Case, the band wanted to go a tad more polished pop. “We incorporated Glockenspiel, chimes, and mesmerizing backing vocals into the new album. It's punk rock with a bow on top,” says Cain.
Jewel Case is being released on Portland label Lost State Records, which was born in SLO and is still committed to showcasing up and coming bands from the Central Coast. Founder Trey Hanawalt does so mainly on cassette tape, which is by all accounts de rigueur. Olivarria, who works at Boo Boo Records, agrees: “There’s definitely a resurgence in cassette tapes. It’s a really inexpensive way for small bands to get their music out.” In addition to the cassettes, the album will be available on CD, via handmade "8-tracks" and digitally on October 8, in line with worldwide Cassette Store Day. An all-ages show at SLO Brew will follow on Sunday, October 9 with other local acts sharing in the celebration.
Hayley and the Crushers cover the Go-Go's song “This Town” on Jewel Case as a tribute to the kind of pop punk excitement that doesn't fade with age. Its lyrics, too, seem to celebrate the trio's ownership of SLO. “This town is our town,” the demonic Go-Go sings, and in the softest way she adds, “We play for the wallflower, the awkward teenager, the weirdo. We say, 'You don't need to wait for someone to turn on the spotlight.'"
Adds Olivarria, "You've got to bring your own lightbulb to the party."