Fire Whiskey
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Fire Whiskey


Band Folk Punk


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Streetlight records"

Fire Whiskey is one of those bands whose name suits their style: they’re a little rough to get down, but the effect is blissfully bleary. The Santa Cruz group is a string of low-fi guitars and scratchy vocals, similar to The Shitkickers or the Eyesores (with whom they’ll be playing). The term “cowpunk” comes to mind— Fire Whiskey hides their country influence underneath a coarse punk exterior. - metroactive

"Fire Whiskey @ G st. pub"

I’m guessing the dudes in Fire Whiskey started smoking two packs a day around the same time they learned, and then immediately forgot, long division. But hey, you find something you like, stick with it, right? These dudes also just happen to like booze, friends and punk-infused country music, not to mention yelling lyrics till they’re red in the face and puking behind the monitors. So come on, make friends with them. Chain-smoke outside with them, as you debate which version of “87 Southbound” is better. And for God’s sake, buy these lads a drink, because this show will cost you nothing. 228 G Street in Davis; - Sacramento News and Review

"Fire Whiskey"

I first saw Fire Whiskey win over an audience at the Blue Lagoon when they opened up for punk veterans Chuck Ragan and Mike Park (not an easy task), and recently as the first band to perform at the new Parish Publick House down the street from my humble abode on the westside of Santa Cruz. (Can I get a “Hail Buddha!” for having live music in the ’hood?) I was impressed both times. They are fast, hard-driving, fierce rock. Playing a folk punk fusion, the band has found a happy medium arranging aggressive, guttural vocals with a fiery marriage of heavy electric and acoustic guitars. Though new—they’ve been around less than two years—the four-piece procures a Johnny Cash-gone-mental sound that works. “It goes back to growing up listening to The Beatles,” says electric guitar-wielding founder Johnny Oliveria, of the band’s varied hard rock. “They pioneered every genre of rock you can imagine, and we felt, hell, if we want to play rock, folk, punk or love songs, we’ll do it.” Oliveria shares songwriting duties with singer and acoustic-electric guitarist Gavi Gallardo, while drummer Sean James and bassist Nate Kotila complete the crew, which plays at Coaster’s Lounge this week alongside Philly export Mischief Brew. “Chuck Ragan’s current acoustic music and Rumbleseat have been huge influences for us,” Oliveria states, with some older, folkier staples also providing inspiration: “We’ve listened to a lot of Neil Young, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. There’s a certain power when you see someone playing with just a guitar and you feel so moved by just one person.” Though traces of those more subdued standards are evident, Fire Whiskey’s music is thunderous, and the band’s upcoming Hold Fast is set for release on Unfun Records this September. “When we first started transitioning into playing electric it was a smoother style,” recalls Oliveria, “and then we just kind of got a little louder and harder. We dropped the soft love songs and started playing more straight up rock ’n’ roll.”
- GT weekley written by Linda Koffman

"The ride there is never as long as the ride home Another shot of Fire Whiskey please"

Huddled in an old blue van that smelled of forgotten fast food, stale pot smoke and strong, good-hearted men, Fire Whiskey sold their soul to the devil. Spilling their secrets and beers to the Osprey on their way out.

Fire Whiskey is like an old ghost town over run by punk rockers, decked out in mutton chops and tattoos, with bad attitudes and tendencies to party. Basically, they are punk rock cowboys terrorizing the west coast with their unique Johnny Cash-meets-the- Ramones sound and promising future.

Their sound is all their own, mixing classic country themes and style with a hard rock soul. The band feels their sound is ever changing and developing. “At first, they were simple folk songs and they just got heavier and heavier,” said electric guitarist, Oliveria. As far as those dark, scratchy vocals are concerned, bassist Kotila laughed and said, “Our singing is more awesome than correct.”

Oliveria and Kotila are both classically trained in the world of music, including classic church choirs and tired piano lessons. Kotila said, “I have been playing the piano for like eleven years. I started playing bass because my brother’s metal band needed a bass player. I played lots of Slayer and Metallica to teach myself” Oliveria was involved in jazz choir, which he says he is “really glad for now.”

Gallardo and James took a more renegade approach to music and are both self-taught. “My Dad put a harmonica in my hands when I was just a little kid.” said Gallardo. “I have been messing around with music for most of my life, but without the drive and inspiration from these guys I wouldn’t be shit today.”

The four musical misfits from Santa Cruz were brought together by fate and the rage to rock, started first as an acoustic duo known as, Two If By Sea, consisting of Gavilan Gallardo and Johnny Oliveria. “Two If By Sea was pretty much just two acoustic guitars and screaming folk,” said Oliveria.

Their guitars found rhythm with drummer Sean James, as well as a new name, Fire Whiskey. The band learned that another musical ensemble had a similar name. “We were given the ultimatum of paying for the album with the Two If By Sea name, or changing our name before we left. So we changed our name and here we are today…” said drummer James.

Soon the three were, “blessed with the kind graces of Nate’s presence,” said Gallardo of bassist, Nate Kotila.

During muster of name changes and classic rock n roll drama, Kotila’s cell phone rang and he surprisingly said, “Hey our show is sold out!”

In the small venue that is Santa Cruz’s Crepe Place, Fire Whiskey filled the air with excitement and promise of a good time, as anxious fans stood elbow to elbow.

Gallardo took to the mic like a tiger stalking his prey; shy at first, easing in to it—almost teasing—then pounces in, opens up and a raspy, charismatic chaotic sound emerges that envelopes your ears and flings you to your feet.

Johnny Oliveria looks exactly as he sounds; a tall skinny kid, with a big smile and even bigger voice. His ability to scream and not make people’s ears bleed, is a gift handed down from the punk rock gods.

Sean James sits as a drummer should, steady and strong with a stern smile and easy eyes. James keeps the pace for the band, binding their righteous guitar riffs and raucous vocals together into musical deliciousness.

Bass player Nate Kotila, brings honest charisma to the group with his ingratiating smile. His approachable demeanor reflects through his bass as it sings sweetly to Fire Whiskey’s exponentially increasing audience.

This ever-growing presence of fellow fans came after the release of “Hold Fast,” on Unfun Records, in 2008. The album, includes thirteen tracks, ranging from head banging punk to power rock ballads.

For James, the best part of making “Hold Fast” was dealing with producer/engineer Joe Clemens, “He was a harsh critic. We dealt with a lot of witty old man banter. It was great.”

Still fans are thirsty for more Fire Whiskey. A thirst that the boys intend to quench with their work-in-progress album titled, “Santa Cruz.”

“We are drawing a lot of different inspirations for the album," said James, "We all listen to so many different kinds of music that when we are all together it just works. It is all about having a good time.”

The best part of the entire Fire Whiskey experience Gallardo says, “Is getting to share the same stage with bands we grew up listening to. Fuck sporadically; we listened to their music religiously. It is in our soul. For us it is about good times with good friends, because you ain’t shit without your friends.”

To check out Fire Whiskey and to purchase your copy of “Hold Fast,” and other Fire Whiskey gear, visit them at www. myspace. com/firewhiskeyboys.
- By Elizabeth Westwood Osprey Free Lance Entertainment Writer

"in the queue"

Local folk punkers dispense whiskey soaked growls and heavy rock guitars with infectious abandon - good times

"fire whiskey"

In the grand tradition of country-tinged folk-punk outfits such as Defiance, Ohio and This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, Santa Cruz's Fire Whiskey lashes anthemic melodies to brittle acoustic twang. Staunchly political and rip-roaring drunk, the band excels at floorboard-shaking anthems that are made to be sung along to after approximately six shots of whiskey. It's a trick that's been done many times before, but there's always a place for a band that can make righteous outrage this fun. - Gt weekley

"Fire Whiskey - Hold Fast"

Fire Whiskey is a hell bound hybrid of up-tempo country ballads backed by angry punk rock vocals. Implementing country guitars with the post-hardcore sound of groups like Hot Water Music, these 4 men aim to revive nostalgic mid-90s music. Fire Whiskey is the hypothetical collaboration of Johnny Cash and GG Allin after smoking out in a truck stop trailer park. Recorded at The Compound by Joe Clements (Fury 66) in 2008, Hold Fast is for anyone who enjoys folk, punk, country, and shameless rock and roll. Fire Whiskey's blends these genres across thirteen tracks stem from the three holy W's of life: whiskey, weed and women.

- Unfun records

"Finding Your Way With Fire Whiskey"

If you're like me and can never stay in one place for too long, you know how difficult it is trying to find music that captures the freedom of the open road. I'll usually grab the Rolling Stones, a couple Rancid cds, and now Fire Whiskey. This "band of drunken angels playing renegade anthems" has the most potential for success I've heard in years and have quickly made their way to my "all-time top favorite bands," list. By blending drums (Sean James) and bass (Nate Kotila) with an electric guitar (Johnny Oliveria) and a constant, acoustic guitar (Gavi Gallardo) leading the way, all on top of drunken, screaming ballads; Fire Whiskey creates a musical dichotomy that few bands have accomplished, let alone understood. Their music is like Johnny Cash and Billy Bragg giving some punk an old school ass beating and then taking him out for a beer. It's cliche to say that a band gives their all at shows, but after seeing these guys close to a dozen times, I have yet to walk away wondering "what happened." Hell, I think these guys would bleed onstage for the fans if that's what it took; that's how much they care. And caring for their fans is another thing Fire Whiskey does better than anyone else. I've known these guys to pay for fans to get into their shows, and you might even catch them in the parking lot afterwards, playing an extra set for anyone who wants to hear. Seeing them live means walking into a room of old friends, whether you know anyone or not. From the moment they step up to the mic, the audience becomes one giant community; all singing, dancing and shaking their beers high in the air. It no longer becomes a rock show, but a lesson in comraderi, which is something these boys know well. Last year saw the release of their first LP, Hold Fast, and the first words of the entire album are "Just one more shot" which I think highlights Fire Whiskey's ethic quite nicely; just one more. Just one more shot, one more show, one more love, one more toke, one more song and one more friend. These guys are the real thing, through and through. Not to mention class acts; the following interview was actually the second one I did with them after my tape with the first one broke. So if you ever are lucky enough to see them play, make sure to buy them just one more round. I know I owe it to them.

Mat: So when will the new album be dropping?

Gavi: July or August. It will be dropping like it's hot!

Mat: How is this different from your first album, "Hold Fast?"

Gavi: This album has a lot do with friendship. It seems like these days people are afraid to go outside and view the world because there's so much shit and so many egos out there it's hard to find your group of friends and just be happy being you. It's also more upbeat; there's more of a message to this one than the last.

Johnny: The first one was "Oh, let's skateboard and sing about girls," and the new one is more, "Alright guys, let's go out there and have a good time."

Gavi: It's party music

Sean: For party people.

Nate: Plus it'll be on vinyl and mp3 only. No CDs.

Mat: Best way to get ready for a show?

Gavi: Can we say that on tape? (Laughs)

Nate: Drink a lot.

Sean: I like to drink a lot of beer, and keep Nate away from the martinis. And you know, warm up a little.

Mat: Favorite places to play?

Sean: San Diego was fun. There were a couple of cool venues.

Gavi: I like playing small spaces.

Sean: Small like the Crepe Place in Santa Cruz. That's a nice venue because it's intimate and fun, nothing's blown out of proportion. Plus, low ceilings and a tighter room means better sound.

Gavi: If you come to our shows, you should expect to be on level with us.

Johnny: Yeah, we don't like playing on stages.

Gavi: We'll usually hop down from a stage and set up on the floor to be part of the crowd.

Nate: We pretty much want people screaming and spitting in our faces just as much as we scream and spit in yours. (chuckles) Better yet, come and give us a hug while we play. It's all good.

Mat: Where are you guys going on your summer tour?

Sean: In July we are going down to L.A. and San Diego , then coming back up with a show or two in L.A. before coming home.

Gavi: And we're going up north to Arcaida.

Sean: Yeah, we're still working on all of that. In September we'll be playing around Sacramento and Tahoe.

Gavi: And someday, the world!

Sean: Right now we're shopping for labels and that is a slow process. I'm working with someone, who is kind of our manager, out of L.A. and right now we're just waiting for the new album to be done. That way, we can start setting meetings and talking with labels we feel we'd be good on.

Johnny: We want one that will support us on and off tour.

Sean: The new album is still in our same style, but you can definitely tell it's growing. And, we already have a handful of songs that are almost done.

Gavi: Number 3! Album number three is coming soon!

Sean: You'll probably see us recording number three this December.

Mat: How did you get started?

Sean: Gavi and Johnny met at a party--

Gavi: Naw, we met from buying weed and skating together. It started as two acoustic guitars with screaming. That was Two If By Sea.

Sean: One night I called Johnny and told him I wanted to play some acoustic punk. And then one night he hit me up at this bar, "Fuck yeah, let's do it."

Gavi: Me and Johnny had recorded this first, tiny ass little 3 or 4 song EP on a laptop in a bathroom. So Johnny had it and he gave it to Sean who loved it. He was on it right away.

Sean: We kept going as Two If By Sea and just evolved from there.

Gavi: We even recorded an album, "Swimmin' With Older Women." But we didn't have a bass player and we knew we needed one.

Sean: So we called Nate. Now Nate, Johnny and I all knew each other because we had been in this band, Mad At Me, which. . .

Nate: Never left my garage.

Gavi: So now it's just Mad At Me, plus Gavi (laughs). But once we got together as a four piece, it really clicked. Our personalities just work well, we all get along. And we can handle each other. We're never too one-sided about things and always lenient to other's thoughts on what they wanted. Then, out of nowhere, we get kicked out of this practice space we had and were without one for six months. So we did all these acoustic practices in the garage and played electric shows. It actually ended up working out pretty well.

Sean: Yeah, now that we finally have a practice space. Nate's parents--thank them very much, they're one of our biggest fans. They let us practice in the garage for a couple of months; which definitely helped in writing this last album and even a bunch of the new songs Now we've finally got a practice space that's become a home base.

Mat: Was practicing acoustically and playing electrically beneficial?

Sean: We really work on dynamics that way. It really tightens the feel of certain songs.

Nate: It helps with the singing because we spend so much time singing without amplification so when we have it, we just go at the top of our lungs.

Sean: I can't really do too much so I play on my knee. If I play anything else it gets way too loud. But you do what you have to. We try to pull out all the stops. There are some nights when Gavi can barely sing, or another one of us might be tired. We might not be feeing it, but you've got to put it out there.

Gavi: Even if you're bad at something, but you have a lot of energy and it looks like you're having fun, everyone thinks, "Hey, at least it looks like they're rocking."

Mat: So what influences your music?

Nate: I like anything that doesn't sound terrible.

Sean: It's everything, man. I'm not really into hip-hop, but these guys seem to put it on all the damn time!

Gavi: If you listen to our shit, you can tell that half the time I'm rapping. I might be screaming, but I'm rapping.

Johnny: Punk, folk, blues, hardcore.

Sean: We all come from different backgrounds, but a majority of it is punk and rock 'n roll.

Gavi: There's definitely some metal riffs in there too.

Sean: Yeah, it all just gets mixed in. Nate listens to tons of pop music.

Nate: I listen to any music. Often I'll say I hate a certain genre of music, like I kind of hate reggae and jazz, but I still kinda like some reggae and jazz.

Sean: Oh, he likes them.

Nate: Once in a while I'll throw on some Mike Patton just to center myself until I go back to something normal.

Gavi: I'm a big Dylan fan.

Sean: But the greatest thing is just putting on Johnny Cash, any time of the day.

Mat: What are the trials and tribulations of an up and coming DIY band in Santa Cruz?

Johnny: There's millions and millions of different bands and everyone wants to play.

Sean: It's a lot different than when we were all kids. Back then, you had to pay for press packs and mail them out to the clubs. You'd always hear, "Talk to our manager, talk to our booking agent." Now we get hit up six times a week by other bands asking to play shows. I feel shitty saying it, but we only play in town twice a month. We're not dicks, we just want to give someone a good show and we can't give people the same music day after day.

Gavi: It's good because everyone has their own piece in the puzzle for what they do in a DIY band. We all have an underlying agreement.

Johnny: Yeah, we all have our own skills to bring. We're like a co-op.

Sean: A lot of bands are helping each other out more. We've all linked together to help each other out, which makes it better. If we can't play something I'll pass it along to someone else. It's a community.

Mat: So what does Fire Whiskey do in the free time?

Gavi: You'll find me playing on the street, 24-7.

Sean: We'll always be at friend's parties.

Johnny: Between working full-time, doing the band, having a girlfriend and living life, time gets occupied pretty easily.

Gavi: What's that? What's a girlfriend? Someone tell me what that means.

Nate: You've got to sleep with her for a while without sleeping with other people.

Gavi: Yeah. . .that's gross. (laughs) I just play a lot of bullshit. You'll find me drinking under a bridge.

Mat: Favorite Fire Whiskey moment?

Sean: Oh shit. Ok, so . . .

Nate: What'd I do?

Sean: It was last summer, we were down South with Tater Famine, playing a couple of shows. I think we were in Huntington. So we get down there at 10 o'clock, completely tired. We go to this guy's house and ends up everyone in our band--I think Nate had shrooms later on--

Nate: No, I was asleep the whole time. You guys woke me up when you all got back.

Sean: So everyone in our bands had shrooms except for me, Nate, and Matt from Tater Famine. We then proceed to get three, thirty packs; four, eighteen packs and five, twelve packs.

Johnny: Plus all the acoustic guitars and a mandolin.

Sean: With a couple bottles of whiskey. We went from 10 o'clock until five in the morning, singing at the top of our lungs and playing each other's songs, on a bridge.

Johnny: That was awesome.

Gavi: I think Swamp Fest had some good moments.

Nate: Oh Jesus, that was awesome. From what I remember.

Gavi: That's when I fell into Sean's drums and knocked some of them over. I just kind of looked at him and he pushed me back up so I stumbled back to the mic.

Nate: We played a second set that none of us really remember.

Sean: So we all know it was horrible.

Nate: But everyone told us it was great! .We just like to have fun, you know? Fuck it.

Sean: We try to help out as many people as we can.

Gavi: The free drinks do help.

Nate: When they give you free drinks all night long, and you don't really know how you got there or anything at all. . .

Gavi: And if you play for a band called Fire Whiskey, then people have to buy you drinks.

Mat: So what's the future hold?

Nate: Taking over the world.

Sean: We're just trying to make this a full-time thing. If we can do this everyday and get paid for it, that's the dream.

Gavi: Or maybe we'll open up a sweatshop. We just want to write good tunes that can be put into anything. You know, stuff for movies too. We have a lot of friends that make films. Songs that can relate to anything.

Nate: Yeah, everyone's depressed now. We've got to go make them happy.

Mat: Did you guys want to say anything to the fans?

Nate: We love you.

Sean: Thank you. We couldn't play as many shows as we do without people coming out.

Johnny: Have fun.

Gavi: You ain't shit without your friends. - Your Music Magazine, interview by Mat Weir

"in the queue"

Fire Whiskey

"Folk-Punk Aficionados"

Fire Whiskey
Santa Cruz’s folk-punk aficionados, Fire Whiskey, sets up 2010 with a show in the remodeled Catalyst Atrium and is hitting the stage armed with a new sophomore album, Santa Cruz. Young, brazen and oft-intoxicated (they’ll call out for shots of, yes, whiskey, many a show), the boys might keep it simple when it comes to album titles or drinks, but they’re proficient in churning out a satisfyingly mean (albeit melodic) rock thrashing. Gavi Gallardo unreels raspy Cash vocals at a temperament and volume that should get the band a Halls throat lozenge sponsorship, and the acoustic mayhem will break in the new front room just fine. | Linda Koffman - Good Times


"Hold Fast" (2008)
"Santa Cruz" (2009)



Gather 'round you rowdy scoundrels and let me tell you a story of the ravenous miscreants known as Fire Whiskey. Their tale of drunken chaos began in the foggy ocean streets of Santa Cruz, Ca. Gavi Gallardo, a fresh young lad with a grizzled soul and voice to boot, had packed his traveled van, worn with paint chips and the smell of a thousand tales, with his trusty guitar, a couple of shirts and took the first chance he got to high tale it out of the dust of Arizona to the land of big dreams and broken spirits. A fateful decision as the devil would have it, because there he would meet Johnny Oliveria, his soon to be brother in arms.
Now Johnny was a Santa Cruz local, a lengthy kid with a heart like the ocean and a passion for music just as deep. He was what you'd call a "jack of all trades," playing in and out of several bands around the area's dive bars and watering holes. You know, classy joints. The two began talking about the finer things in life -- women, weed, and whiskey -- and as the gods would have it the conversation began meandering onto music. They soon realized that while they shared the same influences, their peers weren't writing anything our duo wanted to listen to; so they set out into the great unknown as Two If By Sea.
Armed with their guitars and a harmonica, Gavi and Johnny combined folksy story telling with fast paced country ballads, all topped with the grimy crunch of punk igniting the first spark or their frenzied obsession. But many nights were spent in a cloudy haze before the smoke cleared leaving the boys restless and hungry for that raw sound doused in a bucket of gasoline. And like a stampede of wild mustangs running through their brains, the two knew at once they needed the steady handed drumming of Sean James.
Having been the backbone to an array of musical projects, Sean jumped at his old friend Johnny’s proposition to lend his talents to this new endeavor. And if that weren’t enough, he also started booking them on what seemed to be an endless run, getting them gigs wherever he could smooth talk his way into. Still playing as Two If By Sea, these three roughnecks delivered to the beaten masses their own “choke on the truth” cure for the 9 to 5 blues.
Before they knew it a year had passed, working tirelessly to find a unique sound that would reanimate the raped and pillaged American Dream. But try as they might, they knew they were still missing the food for the flame. And like Moses parting the Red Sea, the vision of their Promised Land came in the form of a man they knew as Nate “The Great” Kotila. Handling his bass like the firm delicacy of a woman’s thigh, Nate makes his instrument and the pussy cats purr for more. Changing their name to Fire Whiskey the troupe of renegade banditos on the prowl was complete at last.
So for all you courtesans and charlatans, vagabonds and outlaws, put your cash in your pockets and your switchblades in your boots but hold onto your hats and women, for Fire Whiskey is here to reveal their demons. A musical collaboration filled to brim with saintly sins, angelic heathens and the lonesome dust from a long drive home; this is all they know.