Del Mar
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Del Mar

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"Review: Del Mar's 'After the Quake'"

"After the Quake"; Half of Nothing Records
3 stars out of 4

On Del Mar's debut album, nothing is held back. The 18 tracks run from laid-back instrumental surf songs to the full-on brunt of thrashing skate punk. And Bud Gaugh and company do the music justice.

The album follows a loose theme throughout, shining a light on some of the characters encountered roaming around after a big earthquake, including a truck driver who's on his way to the Mustang Ranch in "I-80 Westbound," and a salty, unshowered beach bum in "Beach Bum," a catchy ska song with the perfect saxophone part that's probably the album's best.

While the instrumentals and lone ska song are in the mix, the majority of the album leans toward the skate punk, and Del Mar recalls some of the best of the vintage sounds of bands like The Vandals, Descendents and Black Flag.

Artist Dennis "Lil Daddy" Roth narrates some of the characters woven throughout the album, keeping the earthquake theme from getting lost.

"After the Quake" feels a bit long, clocking in at over an hour, and to a Reno listener, the abundance of Reno and Nevada references seem slightly over the top (although that may not apply to a listener from Nebraska).

Best of all, though, is that this DIY album had no record-label backing, but it doesn't sound that way. The music is tight and the production sounds quite detailed. The album won't see a physical release until June. A few songs currently are streaming at www.myspace.com/budgaugh - Reno Journal Gazette


"After Sublime, drummer is deep into new project, Del Mar"

"I quit my dumb job," reads a post from Bud Gaugh on his Web site.

It's a reference to his dropping out of the music business -- well, the Big Music business, anyway. Gaugh has been the drummer for reggae-rock band Sublime, for the Long Beach Dub Allstars and also for Eyes Adrift about six years ago with members of Nirvana and the Meat Puppets.
Now at age 41, Gaugh, who lives on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe, is taking a more do-it-yourself approach with his newest band, Del Mar. He's done with big record labels and the cacophony of Southern California. He settled about 10 years ago into an unassuming home at Tahoe, save for the trademark blazing sun logo of Sublime that's in an upstairs window looking onto the street. He shares his home with his budding family, including wife Nicole and infant daughter Chloe.

On Saturday, Del Mar marks the release of its first album, "After the Quake," with a preview party at Vixens on Victorian Square in Sparks. It's the same place Del Mar played back in February, which also featured a quasi-Sublime reunion with a guest singer-guitarist. Sparks is a long way from the fast-paced, Hollywood lifestyle that nurtured and eventually destroyed Sublime, but Gaugh said that this area is the perfect place for him.

"I went to middle school in South Lake," Gaugh said in a recent interview at his house. "At 13, I decided I was going to live up here. I was a big skier, and I used to hike at Fallen Leaf Lake and fish."

It wasn't long after the demise of Sublime in 1996, following the fatal overdose of singer-guitarist Brad Nowell, that Gaugh packed it out of California and bought a house in Nevada.

"I defected," he said of his exit. "I do own some property down there. I'm a slumlord," he said with a laugh.

But Gaugh still lives in some of Sublime's shadows. After all, the band has sold more than 13 million albums. Gold and platinum record awards hang in Gaugh's rehearsal space loft, while an MTV moon man statue that the band won for a video gets kicked around the floor.

"I threw it through a window once," Gaugh said. "I've also used it as a doorstop."

But he seems at peace with the way things have settled, and is down-to-earth and genuine in the interview. He spends his time now with his family, while staying busy with some real-estate dealings, studying to be a gunsmith and building custom cars and bikes. He's got several 1960s-era Chevrolets that he stores near Gardnerville. And, of course, there's the time he spends with Del Mar.

The band's new album is something of an ode to the places Gaugh has lived. There are many Reno references in the songs, which range from classic skate punk to instrumental surf songs, and there are references to life on the California beaches.

Del Mar features Gaugh on drums, Nicole Gaugh on guitar and vocals, and Reno players Mike Martinez on bass and Matt Bode on lead guitar and vocals.

Gaugh said his Reno bandmates came through mutual friends, but didn't elaborate.

"As far as finding them, I saw their faces on a 'wanted' poster," he said with a laugh.

Del Mar is different from the other bands Gaugh played in after Sublime, he said. It's a loose business model, and record executives are not involved.

"(The post-Sublime bands) weren't quite the same as Sublime," Gaugh said. "We all started out as friends. Eric (Wilson of Sublime) and I had known each other since I was 11. I figured, what were these other bands that I played in missing? It was the camaraderie and the friendship, the shared passion of the art, the brotherhood. If you can sit there and beat each other up and buy each other a beer or Coke afterward, that's something you'll never get in a made-for-business relationship. We did (Del Mar) as a just-for-fun kind of thing, and that's the way we're gonna keep it."

That fun includes guest vocals from a favorite artist of Gaugh's: Dennis "Lil Daddy" Roth, who narrates some of the album's background banter that is woven into a theme of the characters roaming around after a big earthquake. Roth, the son of counter-culture cartoonist and car builder Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, also did the cover art for the album.

This summer, Del Mar plans to hit the road for a series of shows in small towns and free skatepark shows. They'll dub it the "Punk Rock Against Meth" tour, armed with their music and anti-meth messages, along with information on how to get help with meth addiction. The band currently is looking for sponsors for the tour.

"Every one of us has either close friends or family struggling with meth addiction, and some of us had close calls with it ourselves," Nicole Gaugh said.

And it was drugs, heroin specifically, that destroyed Sublime. Bud Gaugh, who said he is clean and sober now, found the band's singer and guitarist Brad Nowell dead in 1996, just as Sublime's major-label smash was about to be released. He wrote on his Web site that Nowell's addiction came to the point where the band knew he would kill himself.

"We were sharing a room that night," Gaugh said of Nowell's final hours. "That day I was just sad. The anger didn't come out for awhile later. He was one of my best friends, and we stuck through thick and thin. (Sublime) was a dream of ours, and a lot of musicians don't get one-tenth as close as we did. We had realized our dream and were on this magic carpet ride, and some jerk yanks the carpet out from underneath our feet, and we come falling down to the ground from 10,000 feet and land on our chin. From the top of the world to below the gutter in one fell swoop. It was a lot of emotions, you know?"

Gaugh and Wilson never tried to carry on without Nowell, but the band's legacy continued to grow after Nowell's death. There were posthumous record releases (which all were the work of MCA Records, Gaugh said), and plenty of Sublime tribute bands out there that have carried on the Sublime sound. Gaugh has problems with only one of them, which he said is claiming to feature original members of Sublime.

"I appreciate it if they treat it respectfully," Gaugh said. "If they say it's a tribute band, I don't have any qualms about it. It keeps the love flowing, and it gives the kids something to listen to."

And although Del Mar's last show in Sparks featured a reunion of Gaugh and Wilson playing Sublime songs with a singer by the name of Rome, Gaugh said he's struggled with carrying on Sublime.

"I've always felt that a band is who the original members were, and if you replace one, you should probably change the name," Gaugh said. "I struggle back and forth, because it was a selfish maneuver on Brad's part, but it's a disease and it's just too bad that that was what he chose to do. I've come to terms with his death."

And he loves how the reunion gig went down.

"Eric came up with this kid, Rome, and said 'he's a really good guitar player, and he's got a great voice.' Del Mar was doing a show, so we said 'why don't we go up and play a few songs?' We did, and it sounded great "» I've always respected Eric's musical abilities and input, so I gave it a shot. It was fun jamming with Eric again. I really enjoyed playing the songs that we didn't get to play live, and I think the people dug it, too. - Reno Journal Gazette


Discography

New CD June 2009 - After The Quake features BEACH BUM, I'M THE GREATEST, and RENO

Photos

Bio

Former drummer for Sublime, Bud Gaugh has made a point to keep fans on their toes. From the early Long Beach days of The Juice Brothers through the bittersweet success of Sublime, and subsequent bands Long Beach Dub All Stars and later, Eyes Adrift with Krist Novoselic (Nirvana) and Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets), Gaugh has seen his share of major label success, fan adulation, and even devastating disappointments. After “retiring” from all these bands, Gaugh intended to kick back a little and enjoy life. That is, until he started playing with a loose contingent of musicians from the Reno area that eventually formed into his latest band, Del Mar.

Combining high energy, tongue-in-cheek skate punk with classic surf instrumentals, Del Mar’s first release After The Quake is a vivid potpourri of slap-happy musical styles. A common thread runs through the disc depicting life after the “big one” and some of the bizarre people that inhabit the wild west. These themes are held together by a colorful cast of characters including roadside Reno prostitutes, unwashed beach bums, meth heads, and even a giant jellyfish. This all adds up to an intense and rather peculiar listening experience of in-your-face music deliberately played with utter abandon by the four members of the band. As Gaugh likes to say, “Del Mar is an uncorked 572 big-block driven by a schizophrenic, machete-wielding, blunt smoking, green puss-dripping monster shooting cop cars with a barrett .50 cal. BMG!”

The members of Del Mar regard themselves as family which is quite literally true. In addition to Bud Gaugh on drums, his wife Nicole Hutcheson plays rhythm guitar and sings. The band is rounded out by Mike Martinez, a Reno native, on bass; and Matt Bode on lead guitar and vocals. It is Bode’s manic over-the-top vocals and intense high-octane guitar that give much of After The Quake its signature sound and power. Commenting on Del Mar’s music, Bode remarks “The surf stuff is great and the punk stuff is better. I want to have an arsenal of punk music for the young fans and surf music for the older fans”
In addition to the four band members, Dennis “Lil Daddy” Roth makes a few guest appearances narrating the opening track Westbound ’80-Intro and again on “I Got A Woody” and his signature tune, Roth’s Revenge. Son of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, the acclaimed counter-culture cartoonist and car builder best known for popularizing “Kustom Kulture” with his outrageous car designs and caricatures, “Lil’ Daddy” continues this tradition depicting imaginative, outsized characters behind the wheel of classic roadsters as the imaging for Del Mar. It is the perfect visual compliment to Del Mar’s extreme surf-punk ethos and wacky lyrics.

After a few too many bad experiences with major record labels, Gaugh and the band decided to shun the majors and enter the new world of “Do It Yourself” recording and distribution, handling all aspects of the release through indie startup Half Of Nothing Records in Sacramento. Like many bands today, Del Mar is more interested in forming a deeper band-to-fan relationship instead of handing everything over to a major record label only to be told what to write, what to sing, how to sing it, and how to market it (comically depicted in “Rats On A Sinking Ship” from After The Quake.). Half Of Nothing Records shares these concerns with Del Mar as echoed by label chief Zach “Zippy”Goodin “No suits or ties here,” says Goodin. “Bands like Del Mar started Half Of Nothing Records to play what they want, own the masters, and have control of the creative process. Goodin looks forward to Del Mar hitting the road to “blow up some amps, break some strings, and have a little fun in the sun.”

This DIY ethic will affect the marketing approach with After The Quake being a self-release on Half Of Nothing Records as well as CD Baby and later through independent distribution targeting indie record stores, mail order, and colleges. The direct-to-fan experience also includes a series of video vignettes recorded in Tahoe and Reno that showcase the band’s varied interests including snow and skate boarding, tattoos, gun collecting, hot rods and car restoration, punk rock, surf music, music videos, live performances, and the bizarre trippy artwork of Lil’ Daddy Roth (who also created the band’s cover art and visual imaging). The vignettes will take the place of a standard record company EPK and will be featured on the band’s website DelMarReno.com as well as through various lifestyle internet channels devoted to these interests. The band will also feature this and other content on their MySpace and Facebook pages and through a direct-to-fan Twitter relationship.

“I’m happy that were not doing the label thing,” says guitarist Nicole Hutcheson, commenting on the DIY approach. “We are doing Del Mar to be one of the biggest bands in the world without being industry backed – we want to do it ourselves. This is also Bud’s chance to be totally free artistica